Quinoa & Kidney Bean “No-Meat” Balls (Gluten-free, Egg-free, Grain-free)

In my work as a nutrition coach, I often come across kids who don’t like meat. If this is your kid, I can help!

And even if they do, don’t stop here. I promise you’ll want to read on.

There are lots of great, no-meat ways to get protein into kids. Whether they like meat or not, there’s an added benefit to incorporating plant-based proteins: fiber. Not only does fiber help keep kids full, it helps with digestive problems involving…uh, regularity.

Moms of the chronically constipated, I’m here for you.

The quinoa and kidney beans in this recipe are full of both protein and fiber- and are super yummy too! Our OMN! Recipe Testers (aka my kids) gobbled these right up.

Grown ups love ’em too 🙂

Not only are these meatballs allergy-friendly, they also freeze up great (for future meals or tomorrow’s lunch- meatball sandwiches!). I hope you enjoy this recipe- leave a note and let me know what you think!

**BTW, if you’ve got kids with food jags or bad habits, my convenient, nutrition coaching services might be the solution- I serve clients nationwide, all from the comfort of your own home!

Quinoa & Kidney Bean “No-Meat” Balls

Makes approximately 21 balls

  • 15 oz can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 cup quinoa, cooked (to get 1 cup, cook approx. 1/2 cup dry quinoa)
  • 2 tbsp pasta sauce
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (optional, for gluten-free version)

**Note: Bread crumbs aren’t needed to make these work, so skip ’em if you want!

Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

Drain and rinse kidney beans. Pour beans into a medium size mixing bowl and smash with a fork so no whole beans remain (should look sort of like refried beans). Stir in quinoa until fully incorporated. Add pasta sauce, Italian seasoning, and salt and mix until well-combined. If using bread crumbs, do so and combine.

Using a tablespoon, scoop mixture into your hands one spoonful at a time and form well-packed balls. Be careful not to make them too large or too loose or they’ll crumble. Place balls atop parchment lined baking sheet and place into the oven. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until balls are browned on the outside and spring back slightly when touched.

Enjoy over pasta with marinara- or as a meatball sandwich!