1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 celery stalks, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 large carrot, quartered lengthwise and thinly sliced crosswise
1 tsp hot red pepper flakes
1 (28 oz) can tomatoes, chopped, with juices
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 tbsp canola oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 lb lean ground beef
1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
3 tbsp fresh parsley leaves, very finely chopped
1/2 tbsp salt
3/4 tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 lb linguine
1 large handful fresh basil leaves
To make the sauce, heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, celery, carrot and red pepper flakes, and cook until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, garlic and vinegar and simmer for 20 minutes longer. Season with salt and pepper to taste and set aside to keep warm.
To make the meatballs, preheat the oven to 425 ° F. Heat the canola oil in a small skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, partially covered, until very soft, about 10 minutes. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the beef, quinoa, Parmesan, egg, parsley, salt, pepper and cooled onions. Stir until a smooth, homogenous mixture has formed. Roll the meat mixture into 2-inch balls and set them on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet in neat rows. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, until nicely browned but still soft to the touch.
In a large pot of boiling water, cook the linguine al dente. Serve the pasta with some meatballs and sauce. Top with a sprinkling of torn basil leaves.
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