I’ve never fancied myself a “meatball eater.” While I adore my mom’s version that she simmers in a homemade tomato sauce until they are saturated with flavor and as tender as pillows of gnocchi, a big plate of meatballs is probably the last thing that I’d order for a main course at a restaurant.
It seems so… heavy. So overtly meaty. And, to be quite honest, a bit slovenly in appearance.
Meatballs, for the most part, aren’t cute to look at or cute to eat. While the same argument could be made for burgers (essentially one giant meatball patty), somehow a hamburger seems less offensive. For one, it’s not in the shape of a ball. And its meatiness is at least disguised a bit by the presence of a bun and all the requisite fixings.
Despite my aversion to consuming ball-shaped meat, Orangette’s turkey meatballs with pine nuts, golden raisin and lemon-and-cumin yogurt still piqued my interest when I read about them in her book, A Homemade Life, earlier in the year. Not only are they stylish with their chic speckled surfaces, they come with a dainty dipping sauce that is far more lady-like than a heap of marinara. I was immediately transfixed by the recipe – though it wasn’t until recently that I broke out my KitchenAid Stand Mixer to whip up a batch for a feature on TasteSpotting.
The best part about these meatballs (other than the amazing sweet, tart and savory flavor combination), is that they also go perfectly with quinoa – especially the version that follows. Any meatball that can accomplish that feat is a-okay by me.
Quinoa with Red Pepper, Carrots and Shallots
½ cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
2 shallots, minced
1/3 cup carrots, chopped
1/3 cup red pepper, chopped
Rinse quinoa well. Bring a cup of vegetable broth to boil, add the quinoa, reduce heat, and cover. Simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa shells have been released. Fluff with a fork.
Meanwhile, heat large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add a teaspoon of olive oil, and then sauté the shallot on medium heat or until tender and lightly caramelized. Add the carrots, red pepper and pepper to taste, then sauté together another 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low, add the quinoa and stir until combined. Serve immediately.