Baked Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs in Coconut Turmeric Sauce

My adaptation of a similar recipe from the May I Have That Recipe? blog. A savory baked vegetarian meatball which is then simmered in a peppery coconut turmeric broth. Perfect for a cold winter night. I serve it over brown or basmati rice.

I’m always looking for new and creative vegetarian recipe ideas. I came across a quinoa meatball recipe that inspired this dish on the May I Have That Recipe Blog.

Stealing someone else’s great idea is part of the fun of creative cooking. Never in a million years would have come up with a cauliflower quinoa meatball, but as soon as I saw it I knew I had to try it. I also checked out the rest of this blog’s recipes. Lots of good stuff!

From there, the adaptation possibilities for the meatballs and the sauces are endless!

quinoa meatballs
Baked Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs in Coconut Turmeric Sauce

Worth the Work

The recipe was a bit of work the first time. But the result were amazingly delicious. It was a big hit with my friends.

The original quinoa meatball recipe involves frying the meatballs on the stove. This was messy and time consuming. It was also frustrating because the meatballs are delicate and fell apart easily while trying to cook them.

I decided to try baking them.

Baked Not Fried

Winner winner quinoa meatball dinner! So much less mess, and perfectly cooked meatballs without the grease!

I also changed the original recipe to make a lot more sauce as I didn’t have nearly enough the first time I made it. I made it a little thicker using some heavy cream, but you could use Greek yogurt instead. Just don’t add that til the end or it will split while the sauce simmers.

If you try this and love it, you might also want to check out my summer version. Click here to see the sister recipe – Baked Cauliflower Quinoa Ricotta Meatballs with Fresh Herbs.

Baked Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs in Coconut Turmeric Sauce

My adaptation of a similar recipe from the May I Have That Recipe? blog. A savory baked vegetarian meatball which is then simmered in a peppery coconut turmeric broth. Perfect for a cold winter night. I serve it over brown or basmati rice.
Prep Time: 50 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Course: Main Course
Keyword: cauliflower, cilantro, coconut milk, quinoa
Servings: 4
Calories: 599kcal


Quinoa Meatballs

  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups riced cauliflower
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 tsp allspice powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour (or other light flour)

Coconut Turmeric Sauce

  • 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, sliced (about 2 cups)
  • 1 tbsp ground turmeric root
  • 2 tsp Aleppo pepper (substitute 1 tsp crushed red pepper)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 inch ginger root, grated (2 heaping tablespoons)
  • salt and pepper
  • 2 cups light coconut milk, preferably from carton
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tbsp lime juice, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
  • 2 cups cooked brown or basmati rice


Prepare the Meatballs

  • In a large mixing bowl, whisk the 3 eggs well. Add the riced cauliflower, cooked quinoa, and all remaining meatball ingredients. Mix well, pack down into the bottom of the bowl and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  • Preheat oven to 350°. Use a large spoon and your hands to form meatballs. I like them to be about 3", bigger than a golfball but smaller than a tennis ball. Be delicate but make sure they are well formed. Place on a non-stick baking sheet. You should have 12-15 meatballs. Bake for 30-35 minutes.

Coconut Turmeric Sauce

  • In a large skillet or Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and saute until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add turmeric and Aleppo pepper and saute about 30 seconds until spices are fragrant. Add garlic and ginger and saute another minute. Season well with salt and pepper.
  • Add the vegetable stock first to deglaze and scrape up any spices. Once combined, add coconut milk and bring to a simmer. Add heavy cream and continue to simmer about 5 minutes. Sauce will thicken slightly. Add 2 tbsp lime juice.
  • Carefully add the meatballs to the sauce. Shimmy the pan around so they get fully coated. Simmer for 5-10 minutes on med-low heat. Season again with salt and pepper to taste.
  • Serve the meatballs and sauce over cooked brown or basmati rice. Sprinkle with chopped cilantro and a splash of lime juice. Each serving has about 1/2 cup rice and 3-4 meatballs.


This is my adaptation of a phenomenal recipe originally created by “May I Have That Recipe’s” blog.
I made it several times and struggled with the meatballs being too fragile which got really frustrating.  But kept trying it because the end result was so unique and delicious. 
I didn’t like the mess and effort it took to cook the meatballs on the stove top so I decided to adapt it to be a baked meatball.  I’ve got some baked meatballs in the freezer now – I’ll update once I try them to see if that worked.
I have also adjusted the sauce recipe to make a larger amount, and to give it a richer flavor and texture.  I use coconut milk from a carton (Pacific Foods or So Delicious).  I just hate the cans.  I find carton product to be much lighter which is why I add heavy cream at the end.  If you use canned full fat coconut milk, you probably won’t need the cream.    
Aleppo pepper is very key to this recipe, so if you don’t have it try to locate some.  Aleppo adds heat, but also an earthy richness almost like adding a paprika or cinnamon.   I think substituting crushed red pepper would work, but I’d also add a touch of cinnamon to the sauce in that case.  
This has become a cult favorite amongst my friends and is now lovingly known as “the meatballs”.


Serving: 3meatballs | Calories: 599kcal | Carbohydrates: 58g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 34g | Saturated Fat: 18g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 164mg | Sodium: 748mg | Potassium: 637mg | Fiber: 12g | Sugar: 6g | Vitamin A: 1187IU | Vitamin C: 47mg | Calcium: 103mg | Iron: 4mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Published by Jenny G

I'm sipping coffee in the morning, reading a cookbook for fun. Always planning my next trip and what I'll eat when I get there. Hoping to inspire others who share my love of cooking and eating, and to celebrate the wonderous diversity of food. I love to explore the world so I'll share my best itineraries and travel tips. Of course, sometimes I'd rather be snuggled up with a glass of wine and a good book so let's discuss those here too. And don't forget to feed the birds!

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