Whole Foods Market Beef and Quinoa Meatballs & Pantry Challenge Winner

Taking the Whole Foods Market pantry challenge was a great lesson on how eating healthy is not as difficult as one might think. With the $50 worth of healthy pantry staples (see below) Whole Foods Market suggests, you always have on hand the start of a delicious and nutritious meal for the entire family.

Take the Beef and Quinoa Meatball recipe below. Using quinoa instead of breadcrumbs provided more protein and flavor while retaining the texture of a good meatball. And let me tell you, these were a winner for dinner!!

This being the last of my posts for Whole Foods Market, I wanted to leave you with a few of the recipes I played around with using the pantry staples listed below. Along with the  Beef and Quinoa Meatballs, I have also included the recipes for Oatmeal Cookies and Sauteed Greens with Cannelini Beans and Garlic.

Whole Foods Market gave me a $50 gift certificate to the Whole Foods Market in Durham to give away and although I am late announcing the winner due to several factors, I am happy to announce the WINNER IS: ELISA, who said she can’t live without canned tomatoes…I couldn’t agree more. I used Random.org to generate the winner.

Elisa, please email for details: durhamfoodie@yahoo.com

Please enjoy the recipes below. They were all great new additions to our list of family favorites and I hope you enjoy them as much as we did.
Past blog post recipes included:

Beef and Quinoa Meatballs
Courtesy of Whole Foods Market

Serves 6

Sneak whole grains and veggies into crowd-pleasing meatballs with this easy recipe that will stretch your food dollar, too. Serve with your favorite pasta and marinara sauce or on a hoagie with cheese for a dynamite meatball sub sandwich.


Nonstick cooking spray 1 pound (95-percent) lean ground beef 3/4 cup cooked quinoa 1/4 cup finely chopped onions 1/4 cup grated carrots 1/4 cup grated zucchini 2 tablespoons ketchup 1 tablespoon chopped garlic 1 tablespoon soy sauce 1/2 teaspoon pepper 1/2 teaspoon salt 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme 1 egg


Preheat oven to 500°F. Line a large baking sheet with foil then grease with cooking spray; set aside.
In a large bowl, mix together beef, quinoa, onions, carrots, zucchini, ketchup, garlic, soy sauce, pepper, salt, oregano, thyme and egg until well combined. Shape beef mixture into 16 balls and transfer to prepared baking sheet. Roast until cooked through and golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes. Serve hot.
(Note: To cook quinoa, bring 1 cup water to a boil in a small pot. Pour in ½ cup quinoa, cover and simmer until water is absorbed, 10 to 12 minutes. Set aside off of the heat for 10 minutes then fluff with a fork. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.)


Per serving: 150 calories (45 from fat), 5g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 75mg cholesterol, 470mg sodium, 8g total carbohydrate (1g dietary fiber, 2g sugar), 17g protein

$50 Whole Foods Market Pantry Staple List

Courtesy of Whole Foods Market
  • 1 lb black beans
  • 1 lb lentils
  • 1 lb quinoa
  • 2 lbs brown rice
  • 3 (32-oz) boxes vegetable broth
  • 1 (32-oz) box chicken broth
  • 1 lb rolled oats
  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • 1 lb orechiette pasta
  • 1 lb pasta, your favorite kind
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 jar unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened almond milk
  • 1 (5-oz) can tuna
  • 3 (15-oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 package no-oil sundried tomatoes
  • 1 jar pasta sauce

Low-Fat Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips (or Raisins)
(adapted from Food Fit)


1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/4 c plain apple sauce
1 large egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 cups quick cooking oats
1/2 cup chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 375F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add cinnamon if using raisins, instead of chocolate chips.

In a large bowl, cream together the butter and the sugars. Beat in the egg, followed by the applesauce and the vanilla extract. Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and the oats until just combined and no streaks of flour remain. Add chocolate chips or raisins just before the batter comes together.

Drop tablespoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for about 9-12 min at 375F. Cookies will be light brown at the edges, but will not get as dark and golden as regular cookies.

Let cool on sheet for 3 or 4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Sauteed Greens with Cannellini Beans and Garlic

(Bon Appetit)

A great side, but also a nice vegetarian dinner when made with vegetable broth and served over rice.


5      tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

3      garlic cloves, thinly sliced

1/4      teaspoon dried crushed red pepper

1      large bunch greens (such as spinach, mustard greens, kale, or broccoli  rabe; about 1 pound), thick stems removed, spinach left whole, other greens cut into 1-inch strips (about 10 cups packed)

1      cup (or more) vegetable broth or low-salt chicken broth

1      15-ounce can cannellini (white kidney beans), rinsed, drained

1      teaspoon (or more) Sherry wine vinegar


Heat 4 tablespoons oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and dried crushed pepper; stir until garlic is pale golden, about 1 minute. Add greens by large handfuls; stir just until beginning to wilt before adding more, tossing with tongs to coat with oil.

Add 1 cup broth, cover, and simmer until greens are just tender, adding more broth by tablespoonfuls if dry, 1 to 10 minutes, depending on type of greens. Add beans; simmer uncovered until beans are heated through and liquid is almost absorbed, about 2 minutes. Stir in 1 teaspoon vinegar. Season with salt and pepper, and more vinegar if desired; drizzle with remaining 1 tablespoon oil and serve.

Whole Foods also provided a list of fantastic recipes, including the one for the meatballs. Here are their recipes.

Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

Zesty Quinoa with Broccoli and Cashews

Lentil Chili

Brown Rice with Chicken and Broccoli

Oatmeal-Apple Pancakes

Overnight Oatmeal

Tuscan Tuna Salad

Mexican Taco Stew

Orecchiette with Broccoli Rabe, Sundried Tomatoes and White Beans

Almond Brown Rice Pudding

Learn to Cook: Brown Rice

Learn to Cook: Quinoa

Simple Oatmeal


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