These Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa are tied together with a creamy mint-almond pesto. An easy, healthy dinner that comes together quickly!
I had a really tough time with this month’s Mystery Dish. I’m not sure why–pretty much ALL the ingredients on the list are things I love. I was just uninspired I guess. But I don’t think my recipe reflects that… this meal was pretty darn delicious. Andi from Weary Chef was our host and she asked us to use three ingredients from this list: pistachios, wine, mint, gluten-free flour, red pepper flakes, fish, agave nectar, applesauce, blueberries, parmesan cheese, milk, and corn.
A couple weekends ago, we were going to grill turkey burgers [Ben makes a to die for turkey burger with Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper] but we were rained out and I had some ground turkey thawed in the fridge. We could have grilled indoors, but instead I decided to make some Mystery Dish magic with these Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa. And you guys… they are so good! I love a good turkey meatball anyway, but add some fresh mint to your typical garlic and onion mixture and they’re definitely amped up a notch. To fulfill the ingredient requirement, I used gluten free flour to help hold the meatballs together and red pepper flakes instead of normal black pepper. In hindsight, I wish I would have used more flour because the meatballs didn’t hold together super well. Though that was three ingredients, I decided to make the flavors even more apparent by making a mint pesto to serve over the meatballs and to toss with the quinoa I decided to serve on the side. If quinoa isn’t your thing, try rice, pasta, or some other grain/starch. Though my pesto wasn’t a true pesto it was still pretty addictive and a great sauce that was nutty, minty, and creamy all at once.
The mint in this dish balances perfectly with the crushed red pepper. I was somewhat generous with the red pepper flakes, but it was definitely an approachable level of spiciness so if you aren’t a spicy person you’ll be okay here. I was supposed to tell you that that description was Ben’s idea, and I was threatened with a lawsuit if I didn’t. 🙂 Ha ha, a lawsuit from my husband. Moving on… I loved how minty this dish is… enough flavor to make things interesting but not so much you think you’re eating toothpaste. I love having a great repertoire of healthy, easy dinners and I know this dish will go into my usual rotation. Hope you give it a try!
And, as a special treat since we’ve been Mystery Dishin’ it up for a YEAR now [whoa], we have a special giveaway for our lovely readers… copies of cookbooks from MasterChef Season 3 Winner Christine Ha and Season 4 Winner Luca Manfe! I wish I could win! Go HERE to enter.
one year ago: Roasted Peach Muffins with Cinnamon Streusel
two years ago: Brown Rice, Feta, and Tomato Salad
three years ago: Healthy “Fried” Rice –> I make this ALL the time with different veggies, meat, and/or tofu. A must try!
four years ago: Cornmeal Pizza Dough in the Breadmaker
Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 green onion, diced
- 3 sprigs fresh mint, finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons tapioca flour [or other flour, gluten free or otherwise + more if you need it]
- 1 egg
- 1 pound ground turkey
- crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/2 teaspoon or to taste
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups water [or stock if preferred]
- 1 cup prepared pesto [above]
- 1 cup loosely packed fresh mint
- 1/3-1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2-4 tablespoons half and half
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 2 tablespoons parmesan
- crushed red pepper flakes, about 1/4 teaspoon or to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Heat a large skillet with 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat.
In a large bowl, combine all ingredients for the meatballs–garlic, green onion, mint, flour, egg, turkey, and crushed red pepper flakes, to taste. Mix well with your hands, then shape into 16 meatballs. Place half the meatballs in the preheated skillet and cook on each side for about 2 minutes per side until browned all over. Remove meatballs from skillet and place in a large oven safe dish, misted with cooking spray if not nonstick. Repeat with remaining meatballs then bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through.
While meatballs are cooking, prepare quinoa according to package directions. Bring rinsed quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan, then cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for about 15 minutes until all water is absorbed.
Prepare pesto by combining mint, 1/3 cup olive oil, 2 tablespoons half and half, and almonds in a food processor. Pulse until combined, adding more oil and/or half and half if desired. Stir in parmesan and red pepper flakes to taste. Pesto yields about 1 cup.
When quinoa is ready, pour about 3/4 cup pesto in the quinoa and stir to combine. Serve meatballs with quinoa and reserved mint pesto, along with sides like green beans or crusty bread.
Be sure to check out what my Mystery Dish pals whipped up this month:
- Tuna Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa by The Weary Chef
- Blueberry Scones by Yummy Healthy Easy
- Parmesan Crusted Tilapia by Culinary Couture
- Minty Berry Fruit Roll Ups by I Want Crazy
- Baked Blueberry Donuts by Chez CateyLou
- Hearty Minestrone Soup by Joyful Healthy Eats
- Blueberry Lemon Pannacotta with Pistachio Tuilles by Flavor the Moments
- Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa by The Pajama Chef
- Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake by I Dig Pinterest
- Pistachio Drop Scones with Blueberry Compote by The Well Floured Kitchen
- Grilled Corn & Blueberry Flatbread with Whipped Goat Cheese, Pistachios, and Basil Vinaigrette by Baking a Moment
- Pistachio Crusted Tilapia and Peach Salad by Blahnik Baker
Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.
23 thoughts on “Mystery Dish: Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa + Cookbook Giveaway”
What a fun Club! Love watching Master Chef!
thanks kirstin! me too!
What a great idea using tapioca flour in the meatballs! These look delicious, and I love the sound of that pesto!
thank you, marcie! glad to have you join us this month!
Mint takes these meatballs over the top in flavor – and your recipe gives me an excuse to tame my unruly mint patch. Yummy!!
i have so much mint to use up too! thanks!
What a perfect dinner! This sounds delicious! I was actually feeling kind of uninspired this month too, I don’t know why! Looks like we both overcame it though!
I am a serious meatball lover. I am keen for new meatball recipes. I like the mint idea because it’s different, but I also have it growing in my garden. Handy works for me.
thanks carol! i always like to be creative 🙂
Master Chef is my favorite cooking show!
I looove meatballs – Swedish, Italian, plain, however. I like this twist with mint pesto!
thank you, christina!
What an awesome way to use mint! I would have never thought to put it in meatballs like this – I love it!
thanks ashley! i was going to make it as a spread for turkey burgers but changed my mind part way through 🙂
Oh interesting! I’ll have to try these!
thank you, amber!
Looks healthy and yummy. However not a big fan of Quinoa maybe it’s the way it’s cooked. I don’t know.
thanks jazmine! quinoa definitely needs some flavor to make it taste good, i think. this pesto makes it addictive! 🙂
Though I don’t eat meat, using mint in meatballs (veggie or not) is an interesting concept! I never would have thought to combine them!
Chloe | Wanderlust in the Midwest
thank you, chloe!
Oooh loving the turkey and mint together, wouldn’t normally think of that!
thank you, annie! i always try to think outside the box…and i love mint 🙂