Turkey, lemon, thyme and quinoa meatballs

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We all like to think we are completely in control of all of our decisions, but you’d be a fool to think that we’re not influenced by the surge of information free-flowing towards us every day. Advertisers and the like have known that for decades, but even everyday occurrences will alter your behaviour – noticing a workmate wearing a certain shade of lipstick might mean your make-up is subconsciously altered or you may find yourself differing your bar order depending on who you’re with.

I’ve always fancied myself as a healthy eater. I love a plate of Tayyabs lamb chops and a pile of rice smothered in their truly otherworldly grilled aubergine dhal more than life itself, but a body type that hangs onto fat like an enthusiastic shopper clutching a cut-price Celine bag in a sample sale means that I’ve always embraced the other end of the food spectrum too. And do you know what, I like lentils, so it’s hardly even a chore. That said, with the recent increased influx of clean eating seeping into my Instagram feed this year, opening the online rabbit hole to beautifully photographed meals with not a complex carb in sight, I’ve felt the need to up my game a bit. There’s nothing like all your internet friends going bananas for courgette noodles and green juice to make you think that white rice, roast chicken, spinach and soy sauce isn’t the saintly dinner you’ve been kidding yourself it is all this time. I’ve bought the Gwyneth book! I’m serious about this shit!

Turkey meatballs seem to be a much loved food of the feel-good set – low fat, easily flavoured, and easy to make yet fancy-enough looking to give you good Instagram boast-fodder, so I had a bash at my own version, since I’m now a self-appointed member of this smug-club. Initiation through meatballs.

The reasonably bland turkey took on the flavours of the lemon and thyme in these meatballs beautifully to create bites that were both fresh and richly herby, while the added quinoa not only made the meat go further (I got two portions out of just a third of a packet of mince) but made them nutty and wholesome. The tomato sauce here was just quick and basic, so I’d say just it however you usually would make it, or use a simple bit of passata or something, but I’ll throw in the details of my version anyway.

I just had them with some steamed greens, since there was grain in the balls, but you could have them with some spiralised courgette, if you really want to up your likes.

Ingredients (serves 2)

150-200g Turkey mince (about a third of a medium packet)
100g cold, cooked quinoa
2tsps of chopped fresh thyme
zest of 1 lemon

1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
1/2 yellow pepper, finely chopped
1 small brown onion, finely chopped
1 large handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 handful of frozen peas

100mls water

Mush all of the meatball ingredients together in a pan and roll into 8 ping pong sized balls.

Heat a splash of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and quickly brown the balls – a couple of minutes a side. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside (they don’t need to be cooked at this stage, just browed).

Add the chopped veg except the peas to the ball-pan with a splash more oil if needed and gently sauté for 5mins on a med heat. Season and add the meatballs into the pan with the water. Simmer on a med heat for 5mins, add the peas, and simmer for 5 or so more until the sauce looks saucy and the meatballs are firm.

Serve with a green vegetable of your choice.


One Response to “Turkey, lemon, thyme and quinoa meatballs”

  1. Lizzie Says:

    You’ve changed, man

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