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Looking for a creative way to use up leftover quinoa, rice, or any other grain?  These meatballs come together quick and are perfect for little hands to hold and navigate. And, the whole family will love them! The recipe is simple:

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup frozen spinach, broken into small pieces or cooked and squeeze dried
  • 1/2 pound ground meat (beef, lamb, chicken, turkey, or sausage)
  • 1 egg

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F or 180C.
  2. Mix together cooked quinoa, frozen spinach crumbles, ground meat, and egg.
  3. Form meatballs into 1 1/2″ balls or into finger sticks for beginner eaters.
  4. Bake on a baking stone or parchment paper-lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes.
  5. Text texture before serving to a beginner eater.

Variations:

  • Don’t have spinach on hand? Try kale, arugula, or collards
  • Have another leftover grain? Great! Rice, bulgur, or farro would work great in this recipe, too!
  • We kept this pretty straight forward, but spices can easily be added to brighten this recipe up!

Baby Bites:

Test for texture!

  • Beginner: Ensure tender texture (see video example). You can serve mashed with a gravy or avocado. Serve 1 finger.
  • Novice: Serve 1-2 fingers, or as baby desires.
  • Advanced: Serve 1-3 meatballs, chopped, or in fingers.

A key reason to introduce meats early on is because meats are packed with heme iron, which is superior to non-heme (vegetarian) sources when it comes to absorption. This recipe pairs the meat with a whole-grain and vegetable; making this a complete meal, especially for a baby! Greens can be a challenge for new eaters, even toddlers! This recipe uses frozen spinach, but fresh or frozen kale, collards, or arugula can work, too. If you are feeling a bit more inspired bake these then simmer them in your favorite tomato sauce and serve over a bed of arugula or pasta. These freeze well. Freeze individually on a baking sheet then place into a freezer-safe container and store up to 3 months. Enjoy!