In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights. (wikipedia) Great for food storage!
So simply put, it's healthy! :) (and if you've ever had quinoa before as a breakfast cereal -similar to couscous or cream of wheat - and don't like the flavor of it by itself, you can't taste it in the meatballs at all...just an FYI).
You will Need:
Nonstick cooking spray
1 pound (95-percent) lean ground beef
3/4 cup cooked quinoa (*see below)
1/4 cup finely chopped onions (I used dry onions from food storage and those worked very well)
1/4 cup grated carrots
1/4 cup grated zucchini
2 tablespoons ketchup
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1. Preheat oven to 500*F. Line a large baking sheet with foil then grease with cooking spray; set aside.
2. In a large bowl, mix together beef, quinoa, onions, carrots, zucchini, ketchup, garlic, soy sauce, pepper, salt, oregano, thyme and egg until well combined. Shape beef mixture into 16 balls and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Roast until cooked through and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
(*Note: To cook quinoa, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot. Pour in 1/2 cup quinoa, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside off of the heat for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.)
Serve with your favorite pasta and marinara sauce or on a hoagie with cheese for a dynamite meatball sub sandwich.
(oh and here's my family update. Collin (our 6 month old son for those of you who don't know) woke up every hour last night starting from 12am-3am. Then he screamed his head off from 3-5am. Teething? Gas? I don't know. But after I finally got him to sleep around 5:30 this morning, he slept until almost 10! I think he was pretty exhausted. I felt bad for him but he's all smiles today thank goodness!)