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Smokey Quinoa "Meatballs" with Creamy Tomato Sauce

These Smokey Quinoa "Meatballs" with Creamy Tomato Sauce are a fun spin on an old favorite. Gluten Free & Vegetarian with a Vegan Option.
Course Main Course
Cuisine Gluten Free, Healthy, Quinoa
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 522kcal
Author Wendy Polisi


  • Sauce
  • 28 ounces diced tomatoes
  • ¼ cup olive oil reduce to 2 tablespoons if you are limiting oil
  • 6 – 10 cloves garlic minced (more or less to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil or ¼ cup fresh chopped basil
  • ¾ teaspoon sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ cup cream cheese – dairy or non-dairy
  • Meatballs
  • 1 egg OR 1 chia egg 1 tablespoon chia seeds plus 3 tablespoons water
  • 1 large onion chopped fine
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup garbanzo beans
  • ½ cup finely chopped sun dried tomatoes rehydrated
  • ½ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¼ cup fresh parsley or 1 Tablespoon dried
  • ¼ cup fresh basil or 1 Tablespoon dried
  • 1 tablespoon fresh oregano or 1 teaspoon dried
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 2 teaspoons gluten free tamari
  • 2 teaspoons liquid smoke
  • 16 ounces quinoa pasta spaghetti


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  • Heat a large saucepan to medium heat. Add tomatoes, olive oil, garlic, basil, sea salt and black pepper. Simmer partially covered for 25 minutes. Add cream cheese and cook until melted, stirring occasionally.
  • Meanwhile, If using chia egg in place of egg, combine chia seeds with 3 tablespoons warm water. Set aside. (Skip this step if you are using an egg.)
  • Spray a large skillet with 1 tablespoon olive oil and heat to medium. Add onion and cook for 12 to 14 minutes, until tender. Add garlic and cook for one minute longer. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
  • Place quinoa, garbanzo beans, sun dried tomatoes, sunflower seeds in your food processor. Pulse until well combined. (Do not over process, you want some of the texture from the sunflower seeds and sundried tomatoes to remain.)
  • Transfer to a bowl and stir in onion mixture, parsley, basil, oregano, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, soy sauce, liquid smoke and (chia) egg.
  • Using a teaspoon measure, shape into small balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Brush with remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn balls and bake for 10 more minutes.
  • Meanwhile, cook pasta according to package directions. Drain, and divide between eight serving bowls. Top with Meatballs and sauce.


Calories: 522kcal | Carbohydrates: 69g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 391mg | Potassium: 650mg | Fiber: 5g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 605IU | Vitamin C: 16.7mg | Calcium: 97mg | Iron: 3.7mg