Main Dishes, Quinoa, Recipes, Sides, Turkey

Mystery Dish: Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa + Cookbook Giveaway

These Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa are tied together with a creamy mint-almond pesto. An easy, healthy dinner that comes together quickly!

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa | thepajamachef #mysterydish

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.

Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa | thepajamachef #mysterydish

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.

Enjoy!

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

  • Servings: 4
  • Print

Ingredients:

for meatballs

  • 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

for quinoa

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 2 cups water [or stock if preferred]
  • 1 cup prepared pesto [above]

for pesto

  • 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

Directions:

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:

Mystery Dish | thepajamachef.com

  1. Tuna Tacos with Avocado Corn Salsa by The Weary Chef
  2. Blueberry Scones by Yummy Healthy Easy
  3. Parmesan Crusted Tilapia by Culinary Couture
  4. Minty Berry Fruit Roll Ups by I Want Crazy
  5. Baked Blueberry Donuts by Chez CateyLou
  6. Hearty Minestrone Soup by Joyful Healthy Eats
  7. Blueberry Lemon Pannacotta with Pistachio Tuilles by Flavor the Moments
  8. Minty Turkey Meatballs with Quinoa by The Pajama Chef
  9. Blueberry Crumb Coffee Cake by I Dig Pinterest
  10. Pistachio Drop Scones with Blueberry Compote by The Well Floured Kitchen
  11. Grilled Corn & Blueberry Flatbread with Whipped Goat Cheese, Pistachios, and Basil Vinaigrette by Baking a Moment
  12. Pistachio Crusted Tilapia and Peach Salad by Blahnik Baker

Linked up with: Weekend Potluck.

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Desserts, Other, Recipes

SRC: Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk

Welcome to another edition of SRC! [Insert shameless plug for my photo canvas giveaway, now through 3/15/14]. Hope you’re all adjusting to that time change. Boo to losing an hour! I grew up without daylight savings time [most of the state of Indiana abstained until I was in college] so this is a semi-new thing for me. Falling back is great…but springing forward? Not so much. But enough about the time… a fun new dessert is calling your name!

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk | thepajamachef.com

My Secret Recipe Club blog this month was Inquiring Chef, written by Jess, an American currently living in Thailand with her husband. She’s pregnant with twin girls! How fun! Jess has a huge repertoire of recipes on her blog–from Thai dishes like Shrimp Bites with Peanut Lime Dipping Sauce, Red Curry Salmon with Coconut Brown Rice, or Pad See Ew, to more traditional dishes like Pimento Cheese, Bagels, and Potato Pancakes. I wanted to make everything!! In the end, I realized I had to go with a Thai dish. How could I not? Instead of a noodle creation, I landed on this unique dessert–Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk. I have seriously never heard of anything like this before…and let me tell you–it is fabulous!

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk | thepajamachef.com

Jess describes this dish so well that I am going to borrow her description: “Each bite is all at once crunchy, creamy, chewy, cold… almost impossible to describe.” Basically, what you have here is are apples soaked in juice, coated with tapioca flour, and then boiled to create a gelatinous coating. These sweet nuggets are served in a bowl with creamy, luscious coconut milk and crushed ice to create a fun taste and texture experience. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but whatever you have in your mind… this is even better! It’s sweet, but not overly so. If apples aren’t your thing, don’t be dismayed: Jess decided to use apples after the traditional “rubies” ingredient [water chestnuts] weren’t to her liking. And it’s genius! Be sure to check out Jess’ post for tips on preparing this dish [hint: use large pots and bowls, and have everything prepped ahead of time]. Thanks, Jess, for a great dish!

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk | thepajamachef.com

one year ago: Quick Chocolate Pudding
two years ago: Quinoa Pancakes
three years ago: Lemon Blueberry Bread

Apple Rubies in Coconut Milk  [from Inquiring Chef]
click to print

Ingredients:

  • 2 crisp apples, cored, peeled, and cut into small pieces [Fiji, McIntosh, Pink Lady, Gala as well as any other crisp type would work well]
  • 2 cups red juice [I used grape; Jess used pomegranate]
  • 1 cup tapioca flour
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • crushed ice, for topping

Directions:

Place apples and juice in a small bowl to soak, making sure apples are completely covered. Soak for 20 minutes.

While apples soak, bring a large pot of water to boil. Set a medium bowl of ice water next to stove to use as an ice bath.

In another bowl, stir together tapioca flour and sugar. After apples are drained, pour apples into tapioca mixture, tossing evenly to coat. Shake off extra tapioca mixture and gently drop coated apples into boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes, until coating is transparent. Remove from water and place in ice bath.

Drain apples and divide between 4 small bowls. Top each bowl with 1/2 cup coconut milk and a serving of crushed ice. Serve immediately.

Time: 40 minutes.

Yield: 4 servings.

Notes: This dish is traditionally made with water chestnuts so those could be used in place of the apples if you wish.

Check out all the other SRC recipes for this month below!

Linked up with Weekend Potluck.