Cheesy Sausage and Quinoa Balls

posted by Andrea | 02/14/2019

Our kids LOVE my meatloaf and homemade meatballs — I suppose it’s because the meat is so soft and easy for them to chew (versus steak or pork chops). They also love breakfast sausage…

So a while back, I decided to make “breakfast meatballs” as I called them — using sausage, oatmeal, egg, seasonings, etc. Basically my normal meatloaf recipe, just with sausage instead of beef, and oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs. 

The results were OK, but not amazing. 

Awhile later, in an attempt to use up some leftover cooked quinoa we had in the fridge, I combined ground sausage and the cooked quinoa… and added a little cheese (because who doesn’t love cheese!) 

The results were FANTASTIC! 

I skipped the egg entirely as ground sausage is much “stickier” than ground beef, and I didn’t need any seasonings (not even salt) as ground sausage already has seasonings mixed in.

These Cheesy Sausage and Quinoa Balls have been a welcome addition to our hot breakfast rotation, a quick snack (yes, we eat them cold from the fridge) and even quite yummy with zoodles, spaghetti squash, or regular pasta noodles! 

And just wait until you see how quick and easy they are to make! 

Recipe for Cheesy Sausage and Quinoa Balls

Makes 35-40 1″ balls

{print recipe}

INGREDIENTS: 

  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 1 c. COOKED quinoa**
  • 1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 T. cornstarch
  • pinch of black pepper (you won’t need salt)

**NOTE: you can sub 1 c. cooked rice, 1 c. cooked oatmeal, or 1/2 c. bread crumbs if you don’t have any quinoa on hand. However, the quinoa really does give great flavor and texture!

DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 375ΒΊF. 

In a medium bowl, mix all ingredients until combined. 

Scoop out heaping teaspoons of meat mixture, form into balls, and place on large baking sheet.

Cook sausage balls in preheated oven for 18-20 minutes, or until cooked through (longer if you make them larger).

Eat and enjoy, or refrigerate for later!

You can easily make these sausage balls in advance and store them (cooked or uncooked) in fridge or freezer. Just make sure to “flash-freeze” uncooked balls on a cookie sheet before you dump them in a bag together, otherwise they’ll freeze together and you most likely won’t be able to separate them! 

Since I use cooked quinoa in my recipe, I can have these sausage balls ready for the oven in 10 minutes (seriously, I’ve timed myself)! If you need to cook the quinoa first, just follow the directions on the package and let it cool for a bit before adding the sausage, cheese, corn starch and pepper. 

Thanks to all my research on grains, I’ve learned how amazing quinoa actually is, and we try to eat it very regularly!

I cook large batches of quinoa in my rice cooker, let it cool, and freeze it in zip-top bags or food storage containers. It goes well with so many different types of food, and I frequently add it into various casseroles, soups, stews, egg dishes, and even salads! 

Quick Quinoa Facts!

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a gluten-free seed that acts like a grain (I sometimes grind it into flour for baking!)

It’s a complete protein, providing ALL nine essential amino acids our bodies need (including Lysine, which is absent from almost all other grains).

Quinoa is loaded with healthy fats, iron, calcium, and vitamins. It’s also super quick and easy to make, readily available in almost all grocery stores, and really tasty! 

So there you have it — healthy, nutritious, tasty, and extremely simple! 

What do you think, breakfast… dinner… or both!?

Visit my virtual recipe box for more simple, delicious, family friendly recipes!

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18 comments

  1. Charity

    03/15/2019

    We loved these! I’ve just had to make my second batch this week as my toddlers have gobbled them all up in 4 days!!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    oh good — glad to hear this!

    [Reply]

  2. Debbie

    02/22/2019

    This looks yummy! I’ll have to try it, and it probably would be good with spaghetti sauce too served over spaghetti squash or zoodles

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yes, I can attest to the fact that it IS good with pasta sauce and zoodles!

    [Reply]

  3. Rebekah

    02/15/2019

    I’m dairy-free, so I was wondering if you might have an idea of what I could sub for the cheese. I’ll probably do some according to your recipe for my family, but I definitely need it without the cheese. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I’d just leave it out — but if you’re dairy free, I’m guessing you have experience subbing different things for cheese, so just choose something else you regularly sub.

    [Reply]

  4. Avia

    02/14/2019

    I’m printing this recipe out and trying in out soon! Did you use a “flavored” sausage like Jimmy Dean or just plain ground sausage?
    We love quinoa in our house and I freeze it just like you. And my kids love it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    In my experience, any type/brand of ground “sausage” already has all the seasonings mixed in as the seasonings are what make it “sausage”. Otherwise, it would just be ground pork. I guess I really don’t know what “plain ground sausage” would be, so in that sense, yes, my sausage was flavored with sausage seasonings.
    Does that answer your question?

    [Reply]

  5. Christine Meurer

    02/14/2019

    I cannot get my kids to like quinoa. Definitely gonna try these balls… do you have any other things you mix it with?

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    nope, just exactly as the recipe states — sausage, quinoa, cheese, pepper (and a little cornstarch) easy!

    [Reply]

    Diana Reply:

    I’ve done quinoa, egg (to bind it together), mozzarella cheese, Italian seasoning – bake in a muffin tin and dip in marinara. My kids love them!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    yum — I’ll have to try this too. I could even do it in a mini muffin tin so they are “bite size”!

    [Reply]

  6. Jen T

    02/14/2019

    OMG, thank you for this! My college daughter is GF and we are huge fans of quinoa (thank goodness for the Instapot…so easy to cook it in there)!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    you’re welcome πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  7. Annette Silveira

    02/14/2019

    I cook a big batch of quinoa every few days freeze it in one cup portions and eat it almost every day for breakfast with a little butter and salt. I love it.

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    I often eat it for breakfast too! I love it in so many different contexts and with so many different flavors!
    I also freeze it in 1-cup portions! πŸ™‚

    [Reply]

  8. Ann

    02/14/2019

    Sounds Good! I may need to try these!
    Thanks for sharing!
    You’re STILL my favorite blogger!

    [Reply]

    Andrea Reply:

    Thanks so much Ann.
    Also, did you happen to get my emails last week? I’m wondering if you mind if use your APPLE analogy for clutter control in an upcoming blog post!?!?

    [Reply]