Spicy Turkey Quinoa Meatballs


Following my spine surgery, I have a two-month period where I cannot bend, lift, or carry anything greater than five pounds, so I’m not able to cook unless my husband Pete is home to help me. I will still be posting my recipes on a regular basis during this recovery period, but I have asked a handful of my favorite food bloggers and friends to help provide more recipes to you by guest posting during my recovery. These are all people who I really admire and know you will love!

Today I am thrilled to welcome Tessa from Handle the Heat.


Tessa is a culinary school graduate and has some of the coolest food science posts on her site. One of my favorites is this Ultimate Guide to Chocolate Chip Cookies where she shows what happens when you adjust certain ingredients in the dough:


Isn’t that cool? I know for me, I love the flatter chocolate chip cookies, so I tend to do mostly granulated sugar for my chocolate chip cookies. Anyway, I asked Tessa to share a savory recipe for you guys and I LOVE the looks of these Spicy Turkey Quinoa Meatballs. I can’t wait to try them in my own kitchen, as I’ve never tried putting quinoa in my meatballs before. Take it away, Tessa!


Hi everyone! This is Tessa from Handle the Heat. I’m so excited to be guest posting here on Fifteen Spatulas today, a blog I’ve been reading for years. Thank you for having me Joanne! Joanne is one of the most kind, talented, and strong women I know, and I haven’t even met her in person yet! I’m so thrilled she is feeling better, and I’m honored to be helping her to share recipes with you all while she recovers.


Joanne and I both like to feature approachable homemade recipes on our blogs, so hopefully you guys will enjoy the recipe I’m sharing today. These spicy turkey quinoa meatballs are packed with flavor AND nutritious goodness. Not only does the quinoa add a healthy dose of extra protein, it also gives the meatballs a unique texture that is just to die for. The meatballs are so tender and satisfying, they’d be perfect for an appetizer, lunch, or dinner! The flavors are very much Asian-inspired, and the luscious sauce adds another layer of flavor and texture. There’s Sriracha in both the meatballs and the sauce, but just enough to give off some heat without making you break out in a sweat. Feel free to adjust the Sriracha depending on your spice preferences. The best part is the whole recipe takes about 30 minutes to whip up and you can freeze the cooked meatballs and reheat at anytime. I think you’re going to love it!


Thank you Tessa, these meatballs look amazing! You can get the full recipe below, but here are a few more of my favorite posts from Tessa’s blog. And by the way, Tessa is giving away a free e-cookbook when you subscribe to her email newsletter. Enjoy!

Old Fashioned Sour Cream Doughnuts:


Mini Chicken Chimichangas:


Caramelized Onion Goat Cheese Garlic Bread:


You can also check out Tessa’s great Youtube Channel here.

Spicy Turkey Quinoa Meatballs


For the meatballs:

  • 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey (not lean)
  • 2/3 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 green onions, chopped, plus more for garnish
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon Sriracha (add more or less depending on your taste)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 2 teaspoons Sriracha
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


  1. For the meatballs: Preheat the broiler.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients. Do not overmix. Form into 2-inch balls. The uncooked meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 day.
  3. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Place the meatballs on the sheet and broil until cooked through, about 10 minutes. To freeze, allow the meatballs to cool slightly before placing the entire pan in the freezer until frozen, about 1 hour. Remove the meatballs to an airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. Reheat from frozen in the oven until completely heated through.
  4. For the sauce: Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the water, soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil Sriracha, honey, and ginger. Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to a simmer. Dissolve the cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of cold water. Stir into the sauce and continue to simmer until thickened.
  5. Serve the meatballs with the sauce and sprinkle with the sesame seeds and green onions.
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