Turkey-Quinoa Meatballs with Penne and Broccoli

If you are looking for a satisfying and healthier alternative to a traditional spaghetti and meatball dinner…look no further! These meatballs are a healthier alternative innately, simply being made from lean turkey. Rather than breadcrumbs, super-grain quinoa is used to up the health ante – not only providing more protein, whole grains and fiber, but it boasts added vitamins like iron and magnesium! My favorite twist (although your children might disagree with me) however, is to sub half the pasta with steamed broccoli! This allows you to still have a full bowlful, without loading yourself with pasta and the carbs and calories that follow.

This total dish will come in at less than 400 calories and will be on your table in 30 minutes – and it’s a yummy meal that keeps on giving: making one serving will allow you to have it for dinner one night and reheat leftovers for lunch for days to come – the leftovers are just as good as the fresh batch!

penne-with-broccoli-rabe-and-pancetta-R106747-ssTurkey-Quinoa Meatballs with Penne and Broccoli
Serves 4


  • 1 lb 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp kosher salt (to taste)
  • olive oil spray
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 24 oz jars low-sodium marinara sauce
  • 6 cups broccoli florets
  • 1 cup dry whole-wheat penne
  • 4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese


  1. For meatballs: in a bowl, combine the turkey, quinoa, egg, oregano and thyme. Season with salt and set aside. Coat a skillet with olive oil and heat on medium-low. Add onion and garlic; saute until translucent, 2-4 minutes. Let cool; combine onion and garlic with the turkey mixture. Form into 10-12 2″ balls.
  2. In a large pot, combine the sauce and meatballs; cover and heat to medium-low and cook for about 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, steam broccoli and cook penne according to package directions. In a serving dish, combine steamed broccoli, cooked penne and meatballs. Add sauce, as desired. Sprinkle with parmesan.



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