Mains + Skinny Soups

Turkey and Black Quinoa with Peas and Basil

Posted On January 25, 2017 By Kathryn

Just like chicken, turkey can be a little bland. But I like to see it as a blank canvas – something to enhance with the ingredients you add to it. Black quinoa has a wonderful nutty flavour and crunchy texture, and teamed with some fresh herbs, converts these meatballs into something truly special. A bowl of this meatball soup is 213 calories per portion.

Recipe taken from my book Skinny Soups 80 flavour packed recipes of less than 300 calories

Photo credit Laura Edwards

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Serves 4 (213 calories per portion)

65g black quinoa (white or red quinoa will suffice if you can't find black)

250g turkey mince, thigh or breast

3 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

2 sprigs of basil, about 10 leaves, finely chopped

1 sprig of marjoram, leaves picked and finely chopped

1 spring onion, finely chopped

1 tablespoon tomato purée

3⁄4 teaspoon salt

1⁄2 teaspoon black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 litre chicken or vegetable stock

250g frozen peas

25g basil leaves, roughly torn


  1. Place the quinoa in a sieve and rinse under cold water. Transfer to a small saucepan, cover with 140ml water, add a pinch of salt, bring to the boil and cook with the lid on for 10–12 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave undisturbed for 5 minutes so that the grains absorb any water left in the saucepan. Return to the sieve, and run under cold water again to cool it completely. Squeeze out as much moisture as you can.
  2. Mix the cooked quinoa with the turkey, thyme, basil, marjoram, spring onion, tomato purée, salt and pepper, until everything is evenly combined. Shape into 20 meatballs, roughly 20g each or the size of a golf ball. Refrigerate for 10 minutes to solidify. Alternatively, this step can be done in advance, and the meatballs frozen, if desired.
  3. Place a large heavy-based frying pan or casserole dish on a medium heat with 1 tablespoon olive oil. Fry the meatballs on all sides until lightly browned, taking care not to burn them. Add the stock, bring to the boil and simmer for 7 minutes. Add the peas and cook for a further 3 minutes. Season to taste and stir in the basil just before serving.