This delicious turkey amaranth meatball bake with cauliflower is gluten and dairy free, full of protein and veggie goodness.
This turkey amaranth meatball bake ticks all the nutritional boxes for me: it’s full of protein and vegetables, it’s also low in fat and makes a pretty satisfying meal all on its own. The meatballs consist of low-fat turkey mince and amaranth, which makes the meatballs light and fluffy.
How to cook amaranth
Amaranth is a weird and wonderful ingredient (very very healthy!) which isn’t necessarily exciting to eat on its own (personal view) but works really well in meatballs (meaty or vegetarian alike).
To cook amaranth rinse it over a fine sieve, then combine with cold water (1 portion of amaranth to 2 portions of water), cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 15 minutes. Leave in the pot for another 5 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.
Rinse the cooked amaranth in the sieve again and add into the meatballs mixture (see Instructions)
Amaranth expands as it cooks producing a multitude of translucent, sticky, delicate balls (tiny even after cooking) which are responsible for creating a light texture in the meatballs. If you’ve never used amaranth I strongly recommend you give it a try. It’s an ingredient worth knowing.
Find out more about amaranth in What is Amaranth?
Easy meal prep
The meatballs mixture can be prepared in advance (even the night before), which will save you time when cooking the actual dish. Once you’ve combined the meatballs ingredients, cover it and refrigerate until you are ready to use it. You can also form the actual meatballs before refrigerating them (don’t forget to keep them covered).
Amaranth itself can also be cooked in advance (and kept in the fridge for up to 3 days), but don’t forget to rinse and drain it well (see Instructions below).
How to make turkey amaranth meatballs
Simply combine all the meatballs ingredients (once the amaranth has cooled completely) and form the meatballs.
Fry the meatballs in a little oil for a few minutes just to brown them a little. They will finish cooking in the oven.
The meatball mixture is quite sticky, which makes breadcrumbs or any other binding ingredient not needed. Which is turn also makes this a gluten free recipe (yes, amaranth is naturally gluten free)!
I usually like to add fresh herbs and spices to my dishes, but I’ve used onion and garlic in their powdered form in the meatballs as I wanted them to have a smooth consistency (plus powder works better with dense textured ingredients, such as the turkey mince).
How to make turkey amaranth meatballs bake with vegetables
Once you’ve formed the meatballs roast the cauliflower florets for about 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.
Briefly fry the meatballs and using a slotted spoon place them on top of the cauliflower.
Make a quick tomato sauce (see Instructions), pour over the meatballs, drizzle over a little oil and bake for about 20 minutes (or until the meatballs are cooked through). Enjoy!
What to serve with turkey meatballs casserole
My serving suggestions for this dish include fresh parsley (or chives or coriander), avocado (which I add liberally to a great number of dishes I make, simply because it’s fantastic!) or a bit of grated cheese.
More amaranth recipes
Turkey Amaranth Meatball Bake with Cauliflower
- 1/2 large cauliflower florets only, roughly chopped
- 3 large tomatoes finely chopped
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 2 garlic cloves finely chopped
- 3 tablespoons white wine
- 4 tablespoons olive oil plus more for drizzling
- 1 teaspoon sweet or smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon sugar
For the meatballs
- 400 g lean turkey mince approx. 7% fat
- 1/3 cup raw amaranth this should yield about 1 cup cooked amaranth
- 1/2 teaspoon each garlic and onion powders
- Salt and pepper to taste be generous with both
- Boil the amaranth according to packet instructions (see Notes below). Rinse under cold water over a fine sieve (it will rinse better if you stir the amaranth while the water is running) and drain well.
- Combine all the meatball ingredients (including the amaranth) and stir thoroughly using the back of a large spoon.
- Preheat the oven to 400 F/ 200 C/ gas mark 6.
- Form the meatballs (you will need to sprinkle your hands with water every once in a while as the mixture will be sticky). Set aside.
- Place the chopped cauliflower in a medium/large casserole dish, season, drizzle with a little oil and bake for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven (but do not turn it off) and set aside (leave the cauliflower in the dish).
- In a large frying pan heat up 4 tablespoons of the oil and fry the meatballs over a medium/high heat for 2-3 minutes, stirring often, to brown them. Remove from the heat and using a slotted spoon place the meatballs on top of the roasted cauliflower (leaving the juices in the pan).
- Heat up the same pan again, add the garlic, tomatoes and wine and stir to combine. Add the paprika, tomato paste, sugar, salt and pepper to taste and cook over a medium heat for about 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. You can either puree the sauce or leave it chunky.
- Pour the tomato sauce over the meatballs, drizzle with a little olive oil and bake for about 20 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.