Beef Quinoa Mini Meatballs with Spiced Pomegranate Sauce & Mashed Cauliflower
These lean beef meatballs get topped with an exotic-tasting tomato sauce that features pomegranate molasses for a subtle tang and depth of flavor. Puréed cauliflower is a lighter, less-starchy stand-in for mashed potatoes. Garnish with additional cilantro springs.
2/3 cup ketchup (NOTE: Look for all-natural options such as Tessemae’s, or check out our homemade ketchup recipe at cleaneating.com)
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1 tbsp yellow mustard
1 tbsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tsp organic evaporated cane juice
Pinch ground cayenne pepper
1 1/2 tsp pomegranate molasses (NOTE: Pomegranate molasses can be purchased or you can make your own with our 3-ingredient recipe at cleaneating.com)
1 lb lean ground beef
3/4 cup cooked and cooled quinoa (from about ¼ cup dried quinoa)
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1 large egg, beaten
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground black pepper, divided
1/4 tsp plus pinch sea salt, divided
1 head cauliflower (about 1 1/2 lb), broken into florets
Prepare sauce: In a medium saucepan on medium-low, heat oil. Add 1/4 cup onion and sauté for 2 minutes. Add 1 tsp garlic and cook for 20 seconds. Remove from heat and whisk in ketchup, lemon juice, mustard, soy sauce, cane juice, cayenne and 1/4 cup water. Return to heat on low, cover and let simmer for 20 minutes. Stir in pomegranate molasses and remove from heat; cover and set aside.
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. To a large bowl, add beef, quinoa, remaining ½ cup onion, cilantro, egg, remaining 3 tsp garlic, cumin, 1/4 tsp pepper and pinch salt. Using your hands, combine mixture until well blended. Gently form into about 24 mini meatballs, about 1 1/2 tbsp each, and place on sheet. Bake, turning once, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball registers 160°F, about 15 minutes. Transfer meatballs to pan with sauce and stir gently to coat; keep warm on low heat.
Meanwhile, cook cauliflower florets in a steamer basket over simmering water until tender when pierced with a fork, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer steamed cauliflower to a food processor and process until puréed. Season with remaining 1/4 tsp each pepper and salt. Serve meatballs and sauce over cauliflower.