This has been a very technique-driven year in my kitchen. Lately I enjoy choosing recipes that introduce a new (to me) way of preparing something, or which give me a new flavor to try. Bonus points if the recipe is healthy.
While meatballs may not be the kind of thing that most people think of when they imagine a new flavor or a new technique, when I came across a recipe for minty meatballs on Epicurious I was excited. The recipe was for baked meatballs with quinoa. The addition of mint was a curiosity. I gave them a shot, but with a twist; I poached them in my tomato sauce instead of baking them. I fell so much in love that I only prepared them that way (with a side of minty greek yogurt) for a few months.
On a day when I was feeling meatbally but was out of tomato sauce (and didn’t have time to make a new batch), it occurred to me that I could try following the recipe as written. What I found was something that was incredibly easy, a good way to prep food for multiple meals at once, and was also conducive to a quick cooking session in the morning. The recipe is simple: mix and refrigerate the ingredients, form into balls, bake in oven.
You can make your ingredient mixture before heading to bed, and then form your meatballs in the morning so they’re fresh(er) for your lunch. They take 18-20 minutes total to cook, so they’re very easy to toss in the oven and forget about (except to turn over once) as you get ready to leave the house.
Given how easy (and delicious) these are to make, I suspect I’ll be doing a lot of variations on the theme, especially in the lead-up to summer. The quinoa in the meatball gives it a really hearty quality, but the freshness of the mint lightens things up a bit. They’re not very heavy, but surprisingly filling. I enjoyed mine with some sweet potato fries and a spinach salad today. Already thinking about the next combo.
Recipe (via Epicurious) (I halved the recipe to get 12 large meatballs. 4meatballs was a nice serving size with my lunch.)
• 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef (85 percent lean)
• 1 cup cooked quinoa
• 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped, plus more for garnish
• 1/2 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
• 1 egg, lightly beaten
• 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
• 1/2 cup 1 percent milk
• 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
• 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
• 1/4 teaspoon allspice
• Parchment paper
In a bowl, mix together all ingredients until combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour, up to 24 hours. Heat oven to 425°F. Form meat mixture into 24 oval balls (about 3 tablespoons each). Arrange on 2 cookie sheets lined with parchment paper. Bake 8 minutes; turn and bake 10 minutes more. Garnish with parsley if desired; serve.