Thai Quinoa Meatballs — Two Ways

DSC_0649When we cook dinner at our house, we typically make enough so that we have extra for lunch the next day. When we pack up the leftovers, we portion them into containers ready to grab on our way out the door to work the next morning. It’s such an easy way to take care of lunch and simplify the morning hustle. 

But just to break any monotony, we occasionally try to repurpose those leftovers to put a slightly different spin on them. For this recipe, we first ate meatball salad and then packed them up as a soup lunch for the following day.

While this recipe may be one of our more labor-intensive ones to date, we think you’ll find it well worth the effort — especially since you’re making two meals in one.

Difficulty: Medium (due to the number of steps and ingredients)DSC_0658
Time Intensity: High
Equipment needed: parchment paper




  • 1 c. red quinoa
  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp fresh lemongrass, finely chopped (about 2 stalks)
  • 1 tbsp fresh ginger, finely chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/3 c. gluten-free tamari
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp saltDSC_0660
  • 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper
  • 2 tbsp cilantro, finely chopped (optional)
  • 1/4 c. red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • 1 green onion, finely sliced
  • 1/2 c. zucchini, finely chopped
  • 1 lb ground pork



  • 1 head of Bibb or Boston lettuce
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 c. daikon radish, cut into matchsticks (or sliced if easier)
  • 1 c. carrot slices or matchsticks
  • 1 c. red bell pepper, choppedDSC_0671



  • 1 can coconut milk, (We prefer ones that do not contain guar gum.)
  • 1/4 c. gluten-free tamari
  • 1.5 tbsp rice vinegar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1.5 tbsp sriracha
  • 1 tsp fresh lemongrass finely chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh ginger, finely chopped



  1. Cook quinoa in broth (instead of water) following package heating instructions. Cool completely once cooked.
  2. Preheat oven to 375º.
  3. While quinoa is cooking, begin the work on the salad by combining the lime juice, honey and salt to make a marinade.
  4. Add the daikon radish to this marinade and set aside.
  5. Heat olive oil over medium-low heat and add lemongrass, ginger and garlic. Sauté until fragrant and just beginning to soften, about 4-5 minutes. Set aside to cool.
  6. Blend egg with tamari, salt, pepper and cilantro (if using) and set aside.
  7. Mix the zucchini, green onion and bell pepper into the quinoa.
  8. Work the quinoa mixture into the ground pork in a medium bowl.
  9. Add the tamari-egg mixture and work completely into ground pork.DSC_0707
  10. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
  11. Roll golf-ball sized meatballs and space about an inch apart on the pan.
  12. Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through but not dried out.
  13. Add soup components to a medium pot and bring just to a simmer.
  14. Add the meatballs and continue heating just below a simmer for another 20 minutes. Then remove half of the meatballs from the soup and set aside for the salad.
  15. Drain daikon radish from marinade.
  16. To assemble salad, line Bibb lettuce leaves with bell radish, bell peppers and carrots. Top with meatballs.
  17. Package remaining soup with meatballs in containers ready to grab for tomorrow’s lunch.

6 Servings, half soup/half salad