Photo: Randy Mayor; Styling: Cindy Barr
Hands-on Time
30 Mins
Total Time
45 Mins
Serves 24 (serving size: 1 meatball)

Editor's note: Since removing added salt from her diet, Jessica must use a creative variety of spices to boost flavor. If your diet allows, seasoning the recipe with 1/2 teaspoon salt adds just 40mg sodium per meatball.

How to Make It

Step 1

Preheat the oven to 450°. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Step 2

Put the quinoa and 1 cup water into a saucepan and bring to a boil. Once you have strong bubble action, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, 12 to 15 minutes. Check occasionally and stir to make sure no quinoa is burning at the bottom of the pan. Take the saucepan off the heat, transfer the quinoa to a medium mixing bowl, and allow it to cool for 10 minutes.

Step 3

While the quinoa is cooling, add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl. Using your hands or a spoon, mix until all the ingredients are evenly distributed and well combined.

Step 4

Shape the meat mixture into balls that are a little smaller than a golf ball. Place them in even rows on the lined baking sheet. Place the sheet in the oven and cook the meatballs until they're slightly browned and crispy on top, 12 to 15 minutes. If you have a meat thermometer, the safe internal temperature for pork is 165°.

Reprinted from Sodium Girl's Limitless Low-Sodium Cookbook by Jessica Goldman Foung. Used with permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.

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Ratings & Reviews

Dictynna's Review

March 07, 2014
I have made these a few times now, and both my husband and children love them. If you don't take them out of the oven at the right time, they can dry out. I always take the first batch out at just the time indicated and they are plenty moist, but leave a second batch in to crisp up and dry a little more. We dip these in a greek yogurt lime and dill mix that is great. I always put much more garlic in than is called for, and use onion or scallion instead of shallots. I leave out the cinnamon as I just don't like that spice with meat. The first time I made them with pork, but have since made them with chicken instead and they are delicious!


February 01, 2017
These were OK. They were quick and they had a teeny bit of heat to them from the cayenne.  I am seeing now that they are specifically targeted to a low sodium diet, but the amount of seasoning should be increased all around. I wouldn't make them again. We wound up adding salt and dipping them in mustard and a garlic sauce to make them palatable. 


July 12, 2015
Made with ground turkey, served with zucchini pasta and My beef eating husband, did enjoy!

mddmich's Review

October 28, 2014
I followed the recipe closely with two exceptions. I used finely chopped chives from the garden, and I sub"d ground pork with five pre-cooked thawed sausage patties from Sams (finely chopped) I'm telling you, I was very pleased. Nice texture,moist,held together well. Yummy

CarMat's Review

May 07, 2014

Donnamaz's Review

May 06, 2014

Emil24's Review

March 30, 2014
This recipe provided me with the inspiration I needed! I was looking for both quinoa recipes and a vegetarian meatball recipe. This recipe appealed to me because of the quinoa, but I substituted mashed black beans and mashed brown lentils for the ground pork. Also I used 1 Tablespoon of Italian seasoning with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, the specified cayenne pepper and paprika to add more flavor. Because of these variations, I cannot further rate this recipe other than to say it is a good basic recipe.

petrag59's Review

January 31, 2014

CASrunner's Review

January 19, 2014
These were terrible. They were dry and had no flavor. I'd give them zero stars if I could.

AlliStro's Review

December 26, 2013
These were good and despite the word quinoa in the name I got my husband to eat them. I would add more garlic next time. The cayenne really made these stand out.