Baked Turkey-Quinoa Meatballs with Cucumber Raita

I gave a luncheon on Saturday for six in which I did NOT cater to my gluten-eating, okay-with-lactose friends in any way.

Rather, I served a meal that I felt everyone would like, but it was designed—from soup to nuts—for the two of us who had gluten and dairy sensitivities.

Minority rules! Way to go!

Challenge #1: The original recipe—Incredibly Healthy and Tasty Quinoa and Turkey Balls at the FeedRight for People blog—called for chopped olives. Big problem. The spouse is opposed to olives of any shape, colour, or taste. (Where did I find this man? you may well ask.) On the other hand, I love olives and knew they would add terrific flavour to the dish.

So…how could I use olives but keep them under the radar, so to speak? The answer: Process the heck out of them, turning what was large, round, and black into very small bits of blackness. It worked! The spouse never noticed.

Challenge #2: The original recipe suggested a spicy barbecue sauce for dipping, which I’m sure would be delicious. But the more I looked at the recipe, the more I thought a cucumber raita would work well. Of course, I’d never made a raita; I’d only eaten some at Indian restaurants.

Google research revealed many, very similar recipes. Yep, I could do this. And, the raita was a wonderful accompaniment to the meat—a completely different taste that served to highlight the flavours in the meatballs.

Challenge #3: What else to serve? I made Creamy Tomato-Quinoa Soup, Focaccia Mini-Loaves, Kabocha Squash Fries, fresh asparagus (on sale, who woulda thunk it!) and Cinnamon Spice Cake with lactose-free, sugar-free ice cream. (Okay, I did have some regular ice-cream for the wheat, lactose types, but only because we always keep ice cream on hand for the grandchildren.)

Makes approximately 25-30 large meatballs  + 1.25 cup of raita

Ingredients: Meatballs

  • 2 lbs. minced turkey
  • 2 cups cooked quinoa
  • ¼ cup peanut butter
  • 1 small onion
  • ½ cup pitted olives (Mine were the black variety, but I’m sure any type will do.)
  • 1-2 tbsp. hot sauce or curry paste (I used a Tikka Masala sauce.)
  • 1 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp. ground coriander
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Ingredients: Cucumber Raita

  • 1 cup goat or sheep yogurt
  • 1 cucumber, peeled and de-seeded
  • ¼-½ cup fresh mint (In other words, what you’ve got handy.)
  • ½ tsp. ground cumin
  • Salt, to taste (I used ¼ tsp.)

Directions: Meatballs

  1. Process onion and olives in a food processor until pieces are as small as possible.
  2. Put into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients. Mix well by hand.
  3. Make meatballs, rolling them to an even size. (I have a weighing machine and made each meatball 2 oz.)
  4. Spray a baking sheet(s) (if not already coated) and then cover with parchment paper. (The spraying will protect your pan from the liquid given off by the baking meatballs.)
  5. Place meatballs on the baking sheet. (You can crowd them because they will shrink in the cooking.)
  6. Cook in a 375° oven for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and turn meatballs over. (I also drained off the liquid at this time.)
  8. Put back into the oven for an additional 15-20 minutes. Cooking time depends on the size of your meatballs.

Directions: Cucumber Raita

  1. Grate the peeled and de-seeded cucumber. Take the grated cucumber in your hands and press it tight until you get rid of most of the liquid.
  2. Chop mint finely.
  3. In a small bowl, mix together yogurt, cucumber, mint, cumin, and salt.
  4. If you can, refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving.

For Weight Watchers:

  • Meatballs: The total point value is 47.5 points (includes meat, quinoa, and peanut butter.) This number is based on the weight of the cooked meatballs, most of which “clocked” in at about 1.3 oz. The result is that my 29 meatballs came to approximately 1.5 points per meatball.
  • Raita: Roughly .75 point per ¼ cup. The point value will depend on your yogurt (mine is goat made by Liberté) and the size of your cucumber.

8 thoughts on “Baked Turkey-Quinoa Meatballs with Cucumber Raita

  1. This sounds utterly yummy, although the roomie won’t eat anything with any heat in it, and the ex – who I would normally make this for – won’t touch the raita if cucumber is in it. I may still make it for him and just give him some plain yogurt for dipping sauce.

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