Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Quinoa Veggie 'Meatballs' & Ina's Herbed Ricotta Bruschettas

It's recipes like this that make me wonder why I didn't become a vegetarian years ago.

A few weeks ago, Katie from The Small Boston Kitchen posted her recipe for Quinoa Veggie "Meatballs" - and I immediately knew I had to make them in my own kitchen. The only things I changed in Katie's original recipe is that I used chopped slivered almonds instead of pine nuts (at Trader Joe's, the almonds were under $3, while the pine nuts were just over $7). I also cooked the quinoa in veggie stock, added 1 tsp. minced garlic to the recipe, and used frozen spinach, since frozen will last longer in my house without going bad.

The end result: completely and utterly delicious and satisfying. These "meatballs" were wonderfully crispy, chocked full of great texture - and nutrition! - and incredibly flavorful. Meat eaters: I promise you won't miss the meat in this dish. 

On the side of my "meatballs," I had some whole wheat penne (all topped with garlic marinara sauce), and I also made some of Ina Garten's Herbed Ricotta Bruschettas, out of her most recent cookbook, How Easy is That? The only things I changed in Garten's recipe was that I omitted the scallions and garlic, just to save a little extra money. I also cut the original recipe in half, and used dried herbs I already had in my kitchen, versus fresh. 

Herbed Ricotta Bruschettas (revised)
Yields: 2-3 servings
-1 cup ricotta
-1 tbsp. dried dill
-1/2 tbsp. dried chives
-Salt and black pepper, to taste
-4-5 thick slices round sourdough bread
Olive oil

1.) Combine the ricotta, dill, chives, salt and pepper in a medium-sized bowl. Set aside.
2.) Brush the bread with olive oil and "grill" on each size for 1 1/2-2 minutes in a frying pan (until lightly browned on each side). 
3.) Remove bread from the pan and sprinkle with a little more salt and pepper. Spread a generous amount of the ricotta mixture on each slice.
4.) Serve 2 warm slices per person. 

This was one satisfying meal, but it was also surprisingly light. Garten's ricotta mixture was also a fantastic complement to the crusty sourdough bread, and dipped in the marinara sauce? Forget it. Thank god for leftovers. 

What blogger recipes have inspired dinner in your house recently?


  1. I want to make Katie's Quinoa balls too but I haven't had a chance yet. Yours look like they came out great and that ricotta is a great side. I just had "egg meatballs" at City Table and it was a very un-nutritious version of a vegetarian meatball. Tasty, but just egg and breading!

  2. yum! Ive never cooked with quinoa and I want to!

  3. Last night I made Emily's (A Cambridge Story)chickpea burgers with garlic naan and yogurt sauce. SO good and it is also vegetarian, just saying!

  4. LOVE the idea of quinoa spinach "meat"balls. I'm a total quinoa fiend -- actually had some breakfast -- so I will be adding this to the to-make recipe list.

  5. I'm definitely not a vegetarian, but I do love meals like this! Quinoa veggie meatballs are a FABULOUS idea! I'm always up for some quinoa :)


  6. Thanks everyone! And Michelle, those chickpea burgers sound incredible. Looking forward to making those soon!

  7. I saw these on Katie's blog and earmarked them to make, along with Emily's chickpea burgers. Rafe and I are trying to eat more vegetarian meals - this looks like another great option. I love the switch to frozen spinach - its something I always have on-hand.

  8. So glad these came out well for you! I've made them a couple times since then...seems I can't get enough quinoa!

  9. Fresh herbs add aroma to the dish to make it more appetizing.

  10. Quinoa meatball is a satisfying dish to prepare.

  11. Meat balls have been the only thing I’ve really wanted meat wise since I became a vegetarian, these definitely quenched that craving.