The Recipe Redux is a group of like-minded food bloggers whose mission is to inspire the food lover in every healthy eater and inspire the healthy eater in every food lover. Each month members post recipes to their blogs following a theme set by the group moderators. This month’s theme is healthy sheet pan meals. Click the Recipe Redux link at the bottom of this page to see links to all the posts for this month’s challenge
Sheet pan meals are all the rage these days, and for good reasons. A well-balanced family meal consisting of a protein, vegetable, and starch, usually involves using not only multiple pots and pans for cooking, but more than one appliance. The idea that you can cook your entire dinner on one pan, using only the oven, is so appealing. Not only is clean-up easier, but there are no issues with timing because all the food is prepped and cooked simultaneously. This makes sheet pan meals ideal for busy families. However, the obvious challenge with sheet pan meals is that you must choose foods that have similar cooking times. This makes your choice of protein, veggie, and starch tricky and it can take a little bit of experimenting to get the right combination of foods for a successful sheet pan meal. My Basil Cheddar Quinoa Meatballs Sheet Pan Meal with Peppers and Potatoes contains foods that work really well together for a sheet pan meal. The meatballs take about 20 minutes to fully cook and the baby potatoes about the same. If the potatoes are on the larger side, they might take a few minutes longer, but that’s ok because the meatballs and peppers are a bit forgiving with their cooking times – meaning that if they cook a few minutes longer than needed, they will still taste great.
The photos above illustrate the progression of this sheet pan meal. You prepare the meatball mixture first and set it aside. Then slice the peppers and toss them with olive oil, salt, and pepper. Push them to one side of the pan and prep the potatoes. Finally, roll the meatballs and place them on top of the potatoes. Have you ever tried baking meatballs? Perfectly rounded meatballs usually end up rolling around on the baking sheet so when I make meatballs in the oven I usually flatten them a bit so they stay put. No need to do that with this Basil Cheddar Quinoa Meatballs Sheet Pan Meal. The baby potatoes act as a sort of rack for the meatballs, keeping them in place so they roast evenly. Notice how, in the final picutre above, the meatballs are golden brown and haven’t budged. Be gentle when forming the meatballs. Press and mold them just enough to hold together and they will have a nice, tender texture.
This Basil Cheddar Quinoa Meatballs Sheet Pan Meal has so much flavor! As the meatballs roast they release some of their juices, essentially basting and seasoning the potatoes with hints of cheddar, onions, garlic, and basil. Yum! The bell peppers add beautiful color and their sweetness is a fantastic complement to the intense savory flavors in this dish.
The most time-consuming part of this recipe is preparing the meatballs but you can do this ahead of time. I like to make up a double batch of meatballs and freeze them so that I have enough for two sheet pan meals. Then, I let the frozen meatballs defrost in the fridge during the day and at dinner time, the only real work is slicing the peppers and potatoes. So easy, and virtually no clean-up! The roasted peppers are the vegetable component in this meal but they’re also like a condiment for the meatballs. For an additional flavor boost, serve this Basil Cheddar Quinoa Meatballs Sheet Pan Meal with Roasted Garlic Ketchup.
- ½ pound ground beef
- 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled (cook according to package directions)
- 1 cup (4 ounces) finely grated cheddar cheese
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 egg
- ½ cup (1/4 ounce) loosely packed basil leaves, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- 3 bell peppers of varying colors, seeded, ribs removed, and cut into ½ inch strips
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ⅛ teaspoon pepper
- 24 baby potatoes no larger than 1½ ounces each, halved
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- Thoroughly combine the meatball ingredients and set aside.
- Place the pepper strips on a half sheet pan (12 x 17), toss with the olive oil, salt, and pepper, and push them to one end of the pan, leaving a little more than half of the pan empty.
- For the potatoes, brush the empty part of the pan with 2 teaspoons of olive oil and sprinkle with half the salt and pepper. Place the potatoes on the pan, cut side down, in even rows. Brush the tops with the remaining teaspoon of olive oil, and sprinkle with remaining salt and pepper.
- Shape the beef mixture into 12 meatballs using a 1½ ounce ice cream scoop and place them, evenly spaced, on top of the potatoes. (Use the potatoes as a rack by nestling the meatballs in the open spaces created by the potatoes.)
- Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 20-30 minutes until the potatoes are tender and can be easily pierced with a toothpick (see notes).
- Serve with Roasted Garlic Ketchup.
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