Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce: (#ad) This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian "meatball" recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!
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Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce

This post has been compensated as part of my partnership with Path of Life and may contain affiliate links. As always, all opinions are 100% my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep me creative in my tiny kitchen!

This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian “meatball” recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!

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Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce: (#ad) This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian "meatball" recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!

I was first introduced to Path of Life this past summer. I got to sample several of their frozen quinoa & vegetable side dish products and was seriously impressed!

I don’t know that I would have believed that these dishes came out of a frozen package moments beforehand if I hadn’t watched them cook up in a microwave right in front of me.

Path of Life offers a wide variety of natural and organic side dish options that will compliment any type of meal you’re preparing. They’re perfect for when you’re short on time but still want a healthy, clean addition to your plate.

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce: (#ad) This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian "meatball" recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!

The Organic Quinoa & Kale has been a lifesaver for me at mealtimes over the past few busy weeks. Between birthdays, holiday parties, work deadlines, sick family members, and just general life stuff, I haven’t been as on top of my meal planning game as usual.

But with just 3 minutes of microwave time, I’m rewarded with fluffy, perfectly cooked quinoa and kale that can go alongside pretty much any meal.

This particular variety is simply seasoned with garlic, extra-virgin olive oil, salt, and pepper. They also have several other quinoa blends with flavor profiles that span the globe – everything from Asian to Southwestern to Mediterranean.

The other thing I love about this particular blend of quinoa and kale is that it’s a perfect canvas to incorporate into more involved recipes, for days when I have a bit more time on my hands.

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce: (#ad) This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian "meatball" recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!

It’s no secret that I’m a big fan of appetizers. And cheese.

And appetizers that involve cheese (like like these Garlicky Goat Cheese + Herb Stuffed Peppadews, these Cheesy Bacon + Apple Croissants, or these Brie Waffle Bites).

One of my favorite cheeses to work with is goat cheese. It adds a creamy, tangy flavor that goes well with so many different dishes. I often lean toward Italian flavors when I work with goat cheese, but this time around I took a bit of inspiration from Spain.

According to Wikipedia, romesco is a nut and red pepper-based sauce that originated from Tarragona, Catalonia, in Northeastern Spain.

It is often served alongside fish, but I thought it would work really well as an accompaniment to some vegetarian “meatballs”.

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce: (#ad) This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian "meatball" recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!

My romesco sauce recipe is super simple, and can be put together in just a few minutes using a handful of ingredients and a food processor.

One of my favorite tips for mincing fresh garlic is to turn on your food processor, then drop a peeled clove (or however many cloves you need) of garlic down the feed chute while the motor is running. It does a fantastic job of mincing the garlic without you needing to use a knife to chop it by hand.

It works really well for recipes like this, where you’re using your food processor anyway, and you don’t want to end up with giant chunks of garlic throughout your sauce.

You can make the sauce ahead of time if you like, and stash it in the refrigerator. I recommend letting it come back to room temperature before serving.

Now rinse out your food processor and use it to mince another clove of garlic. Then add the drained white beans and egg, and purée until smooth. Add it to the bowl of perfectly cooked, fluffy quinoa and kale and get ready to stuff!

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce: (#ad) This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian "meatball" recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!

A few quick tips here to help streamline your quinoa ball-making process:

  • Take the goat cheese out of the refrigerator to let it soften up a bit before you start cooking.
  • Pop the quinoa into the microwave while you toast the almonds.
  • Place the cooked quinoa in a large bowl to cool off a bit while you make the romesco sauce – you don’t want the quinoa to be piping hot when you add the egg to the mix.
  • Use a metal disher to make your goat cheese-stuffed quinoa balls all the same size. I used a #30 scoop, which is just over 2 tablespoons. Here’s a handy reference guide for disher/ice cream scoop sizes.
  • Line your baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper to help prevent sticking and make removing your quinoa balls super simple.
  • Drizzle the finished quinoa balls with extra-virgin olive oil right before serving to help keep them from drying out. The flavor of the oil really enhances the other flavors going on in this dish!

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce: (#ad) This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian "meatball" recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!

These quinoa balls turned out so well! They held up nicely to dunking in the easy romesco sauce. And since they’re baked, not fried, they’re a healthier choice than many of the other meatless meatball recipes I’ve tried.

We really enjoyed these as an appetizer, but they’d also be a great option for a Meatless Monday dinner. If you’re trying to keep them vegan, a flax egg would be a fine substitute for the large egg, and you could use a dairy-free cheese inside, or leave the cheese out completely. They’d still be delicious!

I also think these vegetarian “meatballs” would be great served up with marinara sauce in a vegetarian meatball parmesan. YUM.

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce: (#ad) This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian "meatball" recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!

What are your favorite appetizers? I’d love to hear about them in the comments section below!

Looking for more appetizer recipes? We have a whole section of appetizers we love! Check out some of our favorites:

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Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce: (#ad) This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian "meatball" recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce

  • Author: Big Flavors from a Tiny Kitchen - Ashley Covelli
  • Yield: about 15 quinoa balls and 1 2/3 cups romesco sauce
  • Category: Appetizer, Vegetarian
  • Method: Baking

Description

This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian “meatball” recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!


Ingredients

  • For Romesco Sauce:
  • 1/3 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 12-ounce jar roasted red peppers, drained
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sherry vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons flat leaf parsley
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • For Quinoa Balls:
  • 1 (10-ounce) package Path of Life Organic Quinoa & Kale
  • 1 clove garlic, peeled
  • 1 (15.5-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup unseasoned panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • 3 ounces goat cheese, softened
  • 1-2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Instructions

  1. For Romesco Sauce: Place almonds in a dry skillet over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until toasted. Set aside to cool.
  2. With the food processor motor running, drop garlic clove into the feed chute to mince. Stop the food processor, then add the toasted almonds, drained peppers, sherry vinegar, parsley, smoked paprika, salt, and pepper and process until smooth. Scrape down the sides of the food processor bowl, then stream in olive oil slowly, with the motor running until the oil is fully incorporated and the sauce is smooth.
  3. For Quinoa Balls: Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat or parchment paper.
  4. Cook quinoa & kale according to package instructions. Pour cooked quinoa into a large bowl and set aside to cool.
  5. With the food processor motor running, drop garlic clove into the feed chute to mince. Add drained cannellini beans and egg and purée until smooth. Add the bean purée to the bowl of quinoa along with bread crumbs, salt, and pepper and stir to combine.
  6. Slice goat cheese into 4 rounds, and cut each round into 4 pieces to get 16 square-ish chunks.
  7. Scoop quinoa mixture, about 2 heaping tablespoons at a time (I like using a #30 disher), and nestle a piece of goat cheese in the center, tucking and pressing the quinoa around the cheese to fully conceal it. Place on prepared baking sheet and repeat with remaining mixture.
  8. Bake quinoa balls for 20-30 minutes, or until lightly golden and firm.
  9. Transfer quinoa balls to a serving platter and drizzle with oil. Serve warm with romesco sauce alongside.

 

Goat Cheese-Stuffed Quinoa & Kale Balls with Romesco Sauce: (#ad) This hearty goat cheese-stuffed vegetarian "meatball" recipe with quick romesco sauce makes an elegant party appetizer or main course for Meatless Monday!

Note: This post includes affiliate links for items that I genuinely enjoy. Big Flavors will receive a tiny commission from purchases made through affiliate links on this site at no added cost to you. This allows us to cover site-related expenses and helps to keep us cooking up a storm!

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