Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quinoa Meatloaf

I am not a red meat lover, but my husband is, so I occasionally make some juicy dish that he can sink his teeth into, simply to satisfy this deep seeded and somewhat barbaric need.

Last night I pulled organic ground beef from the fridge, (it's not as random as it sounds, I bought it so I could make sure we had red meat at least once during the week), and stared at it for a few moments waiting for it to tell me exactly what it wanted to be made into. Nothing came of it so I decided to let the grill decide.

Sadly, our grill is only 3 years old and has had the starters replaced twice. Two of them have gone out again, requiring the use of a flame thrower to obtain desired flamage, leaving me to risk the safety of the skin on my right arm to make use of this pertinent cooking appliance. After a few moments of fearfully forcing my hand down into the grill, with no success, I decided the grill didn't want to cook, and I would go back and ask the beef again.

This time, the beef had an answer, it was meatloaf. Sigh. Three quarters of the way through an ever increasing exhausting day comes a challenge requiring thought.

Gluten free, mouth worthy meatloaf can be difficult. Most recipes call for bread crumbs (wheat!), or oats (gluten!), and while these two key ingredients can be purchased in 'certified gluten free' form, they are both expensive and don't always provide the desired taste or consistency that their glutinous predecessors do. (And I don't have either of them and I'm not going to the store at this point in the day).

So I stood in the pantry doorway and physically assaulted every remotely grain-like food product available, trying to determine it's meatloaf potential. While crushed Kix cereal would have worked, Quinoa was given a rose....I mean chosen. (Yes, that was a reference to The Bachelorette, I couldn't resist).

How exactly do I make quinoa meatloaf? I digress.

I start by keeping an Internet ready computer in my kitchen, and, as I do on many too-tired-to-be-creative-nights, I go to and type in Quinoa Meatloaf. Poof, there's a recipe for me to tweak....I mean try.

Quinoa Meatloaf (this one calls for turkey, I used beef but either will work. I skipped the hot pepper sauce, and used onion and garlic powder to simplify. Typically I like a ketchupy sauce on top, but thought I'd give this one a shot, and it wasn't revolting!)


  • 1/4 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 (20 ounce) package ground turkey
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon hot pepper sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon water


  1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  2. Preheat an oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Stir in the onion; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for another minute; remove from heat to cool.
  4. Stir the turkey, cooked quinoa, onions, tomato paste, hot sauce, 2 tablespoons Worcestershire, egg, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until well combined. The mixture will be very moist. Shape into a loaf on a foil lined baking sheet. Combine the brown sugar, 2 teaspoons Worcestershire, and 1 teaspoon water in a small bowl. Rub the paste over the top of the meatloaf.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 50 minutes. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F (70 degrees C). Let the meatloaf cool for 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Serve with something organic and green (like peas, spinach, broccoli) and a starch like a baked sweet potato, and ENJOY!


  1. I've been itching to serve quinoa to my family but as a side dish, it probably won't go over too well. Mixing it into meatloaf is a fabulous idea. I will have to try it - thanks for sharing.

  2. Hi Namzola! I'm so glad you are so determined to get quinoa in your family's diet. It is a great tasting superfood that is so easy to work with. I will plan on posting some more quinoa recipes soon to help you out.

  3. Thanks for posting this recipe. I have used rice flour instead of bread crumbs but I bet your quinoa holds it all together better.

  4. Sharon, quinoa makes a GREAT meatloaf 'glue'. I hope you like the result!


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