Baked Turkey, Quinoa and Spinach Meatballs

Fabulousness, you guys!  I can’t believe how tasty these are! I was at a gourmet  deli the other day and they had these baked turkey, quinoa and spinach meatballs.  I have to confess, I’d never even heard of them so I bought a few and was thrilled with the taste but was also determined to make them free of eggs and bread crumbs and this is the result.

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Once I got home and googled it, I was so surprised to see these all over the internet but we’re making ours even healthier and yummier!

Baked Turkey, Quinoa and Spinach Meatballs | Simply Fresh Dinners

I used the gluten-free, red and white quinoa that I used in this dish and it was perfect.  It also gives the meatball it’s distinctive look.  The trick here is to saute the veggies first, let them cool off and then add it to the mixture.  The moisture will do the job of holding the meatballs together with no breadcrumbs or egg.  You have to be a little more aggressive in rolling your meatballs (don’t overdo it, turkey doesn’t like to be manhandled!) and then let them sit overnight to form perfect round balls.

I used onion, celery and garlic in my saute mixture but I had intended to add carrots as well but somehow they didn’t make it from my grocery cart to my fridge.  Not sure where they disappeared to but I’ve looked everywhere!

Now if you’re in a rush, go ahead, use some panko or an egg but if you can find time to make these ahead and freeze them, you’re golden.

I made the tomato sauce a little spicier than usual because it was what I was craving but if you like yours a little more tame, you can ease back on the amount of heat.

You can put your dish on pasta, rice, freekah, or just have it by itself.  I used some tiny organic, vegan penne – delicious.  You could even completely forget the sauce and top it wish some Sriracha – scrumptious!  Top with a little parmesan and fresh parsley and everyone will be fighting to get to the table first.

Baked Turkey, Quinoa & Spinach Meatballs | Simply Fresh Dinners

I’m completely obsessed with meatballs and have been working on an Indian meatball recipe all summer long.  It is still in the experimental stages but I’m not giving up until I have the flavor just right.  Can’t wait to share it.  Cheers!


Baked Turkey, Quinoa and Spinach Meatballs
Author: Robyn
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4-6 persons
  • Turkey, Quinoa and Spinach Meatballs
  • 1 pound of ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 medium red onion, diced
  • 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup carrots, diced
  • 1/3 cup celery, diced
  • 1/2 spinach, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • A pinch of red chili flakes
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce or worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • Tomato Sauce
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes (or puree 8 – 10 tomatoes)
  • 1 14 ounce can of tomato sauce (fire-roasted would be fun!)
  • 1 teaspoon finely minced canned chipotle adobe and sauce
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano, chopped
  • small handful of fresh basil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese
  • fresh parsley for garnish
  1. Heat olive oil on medium-high heat in medium sized saucepan. Saute garlic, onion, carrots and celery till soft. Remove from heat and let cool.
  2. Combine turkey, quinoa, spinach, parsley, chili flakes, worcestershire sauce, salt and pepper in large bowl. Add cooled sauteed veggies and mix well. You can make the meatballs any size you desire. I tend to go with the large, golf sized balls.
  3. Place on parchment paper on baking tray and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Remove and let come to room temperature while you make the sauce the next day.
  5. Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes in an oven proof dish or cast iron pan. Remove, turn meatballs and add cooked sauce. Return to oven and bake for an additional 10 minutes.
  6. Remove and garnish with parmesan cheese and fresh parsley.
  1. Heat olive oil in extra large saucepan on medium high heat. Add onion and garlic, saute for 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, chipotle adobe and sauce, oregano, basil, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer and cook for 20 minutes.



  • Reply
    October 24, 2015 at 11:21 am

    Yummy annd healthy. These look fabulous. I am just starting to get into Quinoa. I do love using turkey in some of my recipes. The spinach is a great addition. I also like to saute my veggies before adding them to a recipe. Thanks for sharing a new creative recipe Robyn. Lots of love from W.w. xo
    Linda recently posted…Harlequin Halloween TablescapeMy Profile

    • Reply
      November 1, 2015 at 1:00 pm

      Thanks so much, Linda. I’m including quinoa in so many more dishes these days and I found quinoa pasta! It was delicious and that’s the way I’m going from now on. Thanks for visiting, sweet friend. xoxo
      Robyn recently posted…Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free Meatball RecipesMy Profile

  • Reply
    Anita Rivera
    October 25, 2015 at 5:11 am

    SUPER! I am sorry for being late to dinner my friend! What a perfect fall fest for feeling the season in the taste buds. AND your photos show the love and goodness of this dish. Well, off to work (it’s Sunday, but I have some assignments to do) and I wish you a super fall day.

    • Reply
      November 1, 2015 at 1:02 pm

      Thanks, Anita. I’m meatball obsessed these days, lol. Let me know when you start shooting food! Can’t wait to see your beautiful creations 🙂
      Robyn recently posted…Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free Meatball RecipesMy Profile

  • Reply
    mila furman
    October 26, 2015 at 9:47 am

    Robyn! These are so awesome!!! I am already thinking of a way to make these vegan 🙂 Absolute perfection love!
    mila furman recently posted…Vitamix Ground Chicken Cutlets… котлеткиMy Profile

    • Reply
      November 1, 2015 at 1:03 pm

      I think it’s possible to make anything vegan these days, Mila. Good for you for sticking to your new lifestyle. I’m not ready to give up fish, meat or dairy so I guess that leaves me out, hahaha!
      Robyn recently posted…Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free Meatball RecipesMy Profile

  • Reply
    October 29, 2015 at 4:48 pm

    Robyn, these look fantastic! I’ve never thought of adding spinach or quinoa to my meatballs, but these look so good I’ll have to try it. And you’re photos are making me hungry just looking at them. Have a great weekend!
    Marie recently posted…How to Make Popcorn on the Stove Top {Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper}My Profile

    • Reply
      October 31, 2015 at 7:29 am

      These were so yummy, Marie, and I’m so glad they worked out as gluten-free. And you won’t feel full when you eat them! Thanks so much for visiting 🙂 Have a great weekend!

  • Reply
    October 31, 2015 at 10:31 am

    Hi Robyn,
    Yum! These turkey meatballs look so tasty. I love all the healthy ingredients with all the veggies & spices you have added and the quinoa that is so healthy. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays. Pinned & tweeted.
    Marla recently posted…Real Food Fridays #112 – Healthy Living for a Healthy LifeMy Profile

  • Reply
    November 4, 2015 at 2:19 pm

    Hi Robyn,
    Just a note to let you know that I chosen your post as one of my features for this weeks Real Food Fridays blog hop that goes live every Thursday @ 7pm EST. Thank you for sharing your information and being part of Real Food Fridays mission to make this world a little bit healthier every week.
    Marla recently posted…“5 Skin Care Tips for Healthy and Glowing Skin!My Profile

  • Reply
    Real Food Fridays #113 – Living Healthy
    November 5, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    […] Robyn From Simply Fresh Dinners — Baked Turkey, Quinoa, and Spinach Meatballs […]

  • Reply
    December 16, 2015 at 3:43 pm

    I made these today in the form of mini meat loaves. Absolutely delicious! I made a double recipe using beef and turkey combined. I used Frank’s hot sauce as I don’t keep Worcestershire sauce in my pantry. The loaves needed a sauce so I combined organic ketchup with homemade yogurt and a touch of chili paste. I didn’t have celery on hand so I doubled the carrots. It was perfect. Thank you. I’m delighted to know that I can use quinoa in place of bread crumbs, and it’s great. I’m not fond of quinoa as a stand alone dish, but it’s wonderful in the ground meat.

    • Reply
      March 24, 2016 at 2:15 pm

      Hi Judy,

      I’m pretty sure I sent you an email when I saw this back in December but just in case I missed you I wanted to say thank you for taking the time to write and share your re-worked recipe. I love this and would love your permission to make it myself and post it on here. It sounds delicious and I can’t wait to try it. I’m with you on the breadcrumbs – so much better to skip them when you can!
      Robyn recently posted…Healthy Weeknight Meal Plan (#12)My Profile

  • Reply
    Guilt-Free, Gluten-Free Meatball Recipes - simply fresh dinners
    December 28, 2015 at 10:06 am

    […] Baked Turkey, Quinoa and Spinach Meatballs (GF) | Simply Fresh Dinners […]

  • Reply
    October 9, 2016 at 5:44 pm

    What happens if you don’t refrigerate them overnight?

  • Reply
    October 9, 2016 at 6:32 pm

    Hi Sandy,
    You can bake them without refrigerating overnight but I’m guessing they won’t hold their shape as well. I haven’t tried it so can’t say for sure. If time is an issue, you can add some egg white or a little panko.
    You’ve given me the thought to experiment though. I’ll try it without refrigerating and without adding anything and let you know. Thanks ! 🙂
    Robyn recently posted…Pasta with Sprouts, Cranberries & Leftover TurkeyMy Profile

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