Quinoa Meatball Sandwich – “Meatballs “ smothered in rich marinara and topped with melty Provolone cheese and served on a toasty bun. Sounds like something you would have to shy away from if you were trying to eat healthy, watch your calories or follow a vegetarian diet? Oh no no you don’t!
These “meatballs” are made with healthy and plant-based ingredients like quinoa, red bell pepper and grated carrot. ( But…shh! Don’t tell! Serve up this Meatball Sandwich because even your meat lovers will not miss the meat, and the kids won’t know you’re sneaking in a few veggies) .
Superfood quinoa ( you can read more about the nutrient value of quinoa in this previous post) is the base of these healthy “meatballs”. Red bell pepper, carrots, Parmasean cheese , parsley and spices give these “meatballs” some texture and rich flavor.
You can either bake or pan fry the quinoa meatballs, it’s completely up to you and your tastes. The pan-fried version will be slightly crunchier on the outside (and still nice and soft on the inside).
Layer 3 meatballs on a toasted hot dog bun (or roll of your choice) Top with marinara sauce, melty Provolone cheese and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley..and you’ve got a healthy quinoa meatball sandwich…ready for lunch or dinner.
Quinoa “Meatballs” can be used in so many ways. Add them to your favorite pasta or zucchini noodles (for a lower calorie option) and top with additional marinara or your favorite pasta sauce. Make mini “meatballs” and use in soups, or serve as appetizers with a marinara or honey mustard dipping sauce.
Quinoa "Meatball" Sandwich
- 1 ½ cup cooked quinoa
- ¼ cup flour
- 1 eggs
- ¼ cup diced red bell pepper
- ¼ cup grated carrot
- 1 tsp cumin *
- 1 tsp coriander*
- 1 tsp paprika *
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese divided (omit for vegan option)
- 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley reserving a small amount for garnish
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup prepared marinara sauce
- Olive oil for frying meatballs
- 2 slices Provolone cheese omit or use vegan cheese for vegan option
- 4 hotdog buns or French rolls
- In a medium bowl combine the quinoa, flour,egg, red bell pepper, carrot, cumin, coriander, paprika, Parmesan cheese and parsley (reserve a little parsley for garnish). Form the mixture into 12 balls. (approx. 2 in./diameter). You may find it easier to wet hands before forming meatballs.
- Add olive oil to a large fry pan and heat over medium heat. Add quinoa meatballs, turning occasionally, cook until evenly browned (approx.15 min.). As an alternative you can bake meatballs-see notes below
- Warm marinara sauce in a small sauce pan on the stove or in the microwave.
- Add meatballs to tomato sauce, stirring gently so the meatballs don’t break.
- Top each bun with 3 meatballs and sauce. Tear a 1/2 slice of provolone into 3 pieces and place over each meatball (meatballs should be warm enough to melt the cheese) . Garnish with reserved parsley.
You can substitute dried basil, oregano and thyme for the cumin, coriander, and paprika if you wish.
As an alternative to frying meatballs you can cook in the oven on a non-stick baking sheet at 400F for 20 min.
Meatballs can be made ahead of time and kept in the refrigerator. Cook just prior to serving.