Quinoa & Chicken Meatballs in a Tomato Sauce

Gluten-free quinoa is a great addition to these chicken meatballs, as it acts as a binding ingredient helping to hold the meatballs together (in place of the usual breadcrumbs that most recipes use for this purpose) producing lovely light and tender meatballs.


  • 45 min
  • Serves 4
  • Easy



1/2 cup Quinoa, plus extra to serve

400g chicken mince

1 small onion, grated

2 garlic cloves, crushed

1/4 tsp dried chilli flakes

1/4 cup chopped parsley, plus more for garnish

1 medium courgette, grated

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1/3 cup Pinenuts, toasted, to garnish

Tomato sauce

2 tbsp olive oil

1 small onion, finely diced

500ml tomato puree



Place quinoa in a fine sieve and rinse under cold running water for 1 minute. Cook rinsed quinoa in a pot of boiling water for 12-15 minutes until tender to the bite. Drain well and set aside to cool.


Preheat oven to 200°C. In a large bowl, place chicken, quinoa, onion, garlic, chilli and parsley. Squeeze excess moisture from grated courgette; add courgette to the bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix well to combine.


With damp hands (to stop the mixture sticking), take one tablespoon of mixture and roll into a ball. Repeat until you have 24. Place meatballs on a baking tray lined with baking paper, leaving space between them. Bake for 20 minutes until lightly browned and firm.


At the same time, heat oil in a saucepan. Add onion and cook over a medium heat for 5 minutes. Add tomato puree and simmer for 10 minutes. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt and pepper.


Once meatballs are cooked, transfer them to the tomato sauce and gently stir to coat. Scatter with parsley and pine nuts and serve with extra cooked quinoa or pasta, and vegetables or a green salad, as preferred.

Tip: Make sure you use a fine sieve to rinse the quinoa otherwise the tiny grains of quinoa will fall through the coarse holes in the sieve and be lost down the sink.

Created by Julie Le Clerc