Reminiscent of little porcupines, these meatballs are studded with quinoa or rice and cooked in a slightly sweet and tangy tomato sauce. This new twist on a retro classic is not only kid-approved, but it's also quick to get on the table!
In a medium bowl, combine ground beef, quinoa, minced garlic, salt, and pepper. Form mixture into 12 meatballs.
In a medium pot set over medium heat, stir together tomato sauce, Worcestershire, brown sugar, garlic powder, and chili powder. Bring to a simmer and carefully place meatballs in one layer, spooning a little sauce over each one to cover the top. Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover pot. Cook for 15 minutes, flip each meatball, and then cook for 15 more minutes or until meatballs are no longer pink in center.
To form 12 meatballs of the same size, I first pat the meat mixture evenly into the bottom of the bowl, and then score the meat vertically through the center and then again horizontally through the center, so that I have four equal sections. I then divide each section into three equal pieces and form each piece into a meatball.
Be sure to thoroughly rinse the quinoa before using it, to get rid of its bitter, naturally-occuring coating.
If using white rice, it's not necessary to use instant, since regular white rice will cook in 20 minutes. If you want to use brown rice, instant may be a good idea, since regular brown rice takes at least 40 minutes to cook and it will still be crunchy in these meatballs after 30 minutes of cooking time.
My family doesn't find this sauce to be overly sweet, but feel free to reduce or eliminate the brown sugar if you prefer.