For some reason, I seem to have it in my head that foods like meatballs and meatloaf are particularly time and labor-intensive, and so I seldom make them. In reality, they’re pretty much the easiest thing you can do with ground meat, other than just cooking it up and tossing it into a sauce. In fact, the most involved step of making these BBQ chipotle turkey meatballs is cooking the quinoa, which—in case you’re not familiar with quinoa—means bringing to a boil, simmering for a bit, and then you’re done. Suuuper easy.
Using quinoa instead of breadcrumbs is an easy way to keep these meatballs gluten-free, and it also provides an extra element of texture, which is always a plus in my book. Feel free to use whatever BBQ sauce you have on hand, but if at all possible, I highly recommend using a cherry BBQ sauce. Cherries and chipotles go together incredibly well – if you don’t believe me, just give cherry chipotle salsa a try…you’ll thank me later!
- 1 cup cooked quinoa, chilled (approximately 1/3 cup uncooked)
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
- 1 pound ground turkey (I used 93% lean)
- 2-3 tablespoons finely chopped chipotles in adobo (use more for spicier meatballs)
- 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce (+ extra for dipping, if desired)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon salt
- cooking spray
- Cook the quinoa according to the directions on the package. Once cooked, spread out the quinoa on a large plate and chill in the refrigerator until cool.
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
- Heat the vegetable oil in a skillet for 1-2 minutes over medium heat. Sauté the onion for several minutes, until softened.
- In a mixing bowl, stir together the ground turkey, quinoa, onion, and the remaining ingredients (except the cooking spray). Line a baking sheet with foil and coat with cooking spray. Using your hands or a miniature cookie scoop, shape the mixture into balls (between 1 and 1.5 inches in diameter) and place them on the baking sheet.
- Bake the meatballs for 16-18 minutes or until lightly browned.
- If keeping gluten-free is important to you, be sure to choose a gluten-free BBQ sauce.