Quinoa Spaghetti and Turkey-Pesto Meatballs

It’s fall! Well, sort of because we had two days of hundred-degree weather. Yeah, I love California. Last week, I started keeping a food journal to keep what I was munching on in check and I apparently do a lot of snacking… I’m not overweight or unhealthy by any means. In fact, I’m actually pretty skinny. However, it’s been a goal to get rid of the layer of fat masking the abs that I know I have. I can do it! Mindless eating is an unhealthy habit regardless of your weight or what your health goals are. If it weren’t for my highly active life, I’m sure I’ll have gained a significant amount of weight. Baha.

Anyways, every so often I crave a bowl of spaghetti and meatballs. I don’t know why. There’s something about a simple bowl of tomato sauce over pasta that makes me so very happy and satisfied even if spaghetti isn’t really the best thing for you. However, I’ve made this lower in fat and in bad-carbs, and upped the veggies and lean-protein. And, seriously, quinoa pasta isn’t like whole-wheat pasta. It has pretty much the same consistency as normal white pasta but is so much better for you (and it’s actually whole-grain). Get it for you, get it for your family and you’ll all benefit.

Quinoa Spaghetti and Turkey-Pesto Meatballs
Serves 4
Tomato Sauce:
2 large carrots, diced
1/2 onion diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 28oz can of tomatoes pref. San Marzano
1/4 c. fresh parsley
1 tsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp dried rosemary
~1 lb spaghetti

Meatballs:
1 lb ground turkey (or meat combo)
1/3 c. minced onion
2 tbsp prepared pesto OR 1/4 c. minced parsely
1/4 c. finely grated parmesan
1/3 c. (italian) bread (about 1 – 1.5 slices) soaked in a splash of milk, crumbled, or panko
(1 clove garlic minced)
2 eggwhites or 1 whole egg

Preheat oven to 350F. In a small skillet, saute the 1/3 c. of onions for the meatballs until glossy and slightly translucent. Add garlic, if using, and saute until fragrant. Transfer into a large mixing bowl and mix together rest of the ingredients with your hands. Shape into about golf-ball size balls and transfer to a baking sheet. Bake for 30 – 40 minutes, turning half-way through, if desired.

Meanwhile, in a food processor, take 1/2 – 3/4 of the can, depending on how smooth or chunky you like your sauce, and puree it in a large food processor with parsley (You can add some basil if you like. I didn’t have parsley!) and add dried herbs, slowly. Set aside. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil and add your pasta. Keep an eye on it!

In a large frying pan, saute onions, carrots, and celery in olive oil over medium-high heat, stirring to prevent burning. When onions are soft and translucent, add two cloves of garlic and saute until fragrant, lightly browned and no longer raw. Add your tomato puree and simmer for 10 minutes. Slowly add the rest of the can that was reserved. Place meatballs in sauce and allow them to simmer with the sauce for 4 – 5 minutes to incorporate some flavor. Spoon sauce and meatballs over al dente pasta. YUM YUM!

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6 thoughts on “Quinoa Spaghetti and Turkey-Pesto Meatballs

  1. sui says:

    fat isn’t a bad thing! it makes sure your organs aren’t damaged (otherwise you would die at the slightest impact!) and is a part of being a woman!

    instead of thinking “less fat”, how about… “more strength”? 🙂

    anyway, I still have yet to see quinoa pasta in any stores (where do you get it??) but this sounds delicious! except for the animal parts. haha.

    • Karen says:

      DUDE, you can get it at Henry’s (or equivalents like Sprouts) and probably Trader Joe’s and definitely Whole Foods. ALL AROUND SD.

      Oh yeah! One part of being an exercise freak is the definitive muscle gain that I’ve noticed which, coincidentally, makes your body use stored energy more efficiently. So I’m definitely killing two birds with one stone here. (And gyming with Jesse has made me totally less self-conscious about seeing people at the gym because who actually cares?)

      • sui says:

        I’ve never seen it in Trader Joe’s or Whole Foods! Henry’s might have it but I was there yesterday… (plus I prefer bulk because I reuse containers) I go to TJ’s & WF a lot but I never see it D: !!

  2. Love that photo, I feel full of pasta just looking at it! 🙂

  3. Megan says:

    Just found your blog from FoodPress–and I love it! This recipe sounds so good. There are never enough meatball recipes for my recipe box 🙂

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