Today, we’re taking the beloved falafel and making it more protein-rich by adding some quinoa. These quinoa falafels are a great meatless option that can be served in a variety of ways.
Toss them in a fresh salad, stuff them inside pita pockets with some tahini sauce, or just make them into a sandwich.
A staple in many Middle Eastern cuisines, the falafel has many variations, so you can easily switch up some of the ingredients to match your personal taste or dietary requirements.
Traditional Falafel is made with parsley and chickpeas that have been soaked overnight, but you can use the canned version to save time. But to get the best texture and flavor, you will have to go with dry chickpeas. Soak them overnight with t ½ tsp of baking soda in the soaking water to make the chickpeas soften.
Like with all veggie patties and meatball, you have to be careful with what ingredients you use, as you want them to keep their shape but without being too runny or dry.
To get that stickability and moisture, you can use 1 egg. Not only does it help with the binding process, but you can also reheat them later on much and they will still be moist. Without the egg, you will have to wait for the falafel to warm to room temperature, but do not microwave them as they will be very dry.
Quinoa is a great plant-based protein grain with a low GI and full of antioxidants.
How to Make the Best Quinoa Falafels
For the best texture and taste, make sure to not over-process the mixture. If you mix too much, you won’t have enough texture, but under processing, it might mean that you will end up with large chunks of your ingredients.
If you are using canned chickpeas, opt for the low-salt version to be able to adjust the amount of salt in your recipe.
Falafel can be shaped into meatballs, small patties or even big falafel burger patties. Keep in mind that the bigger you make your patties, the longer their cooking time will be.
How to Cook Your Quinoa Falafels
Falafel is usually deep-fried in an oil bath, but since we are making the healthier option, we recommend that you baked or air-fry your falafel.
You will still get the crisp outer crust and tender middle of the traditional falafel without having all the oil.
Freezing and Storage
Cover your prepared chickpea quinoa falafel paste with plastic wrap or store it into an air-tight container and you can keep it in the fridge for up to three days. The uncooked falafel mixture can be pre-rolled and stored in the freezer for up to three months. You can bake them frozen with 5-10 additional minutes.
Cooked falafel are great leftovers, as they can be stored in an air-tight container for up to 5 days. The cooked falafels can be reheated in the oven or air fryer.
For the Falafel:
- 1 16oz can chickpeas
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
- 1 large shallot chopped
- 3 garlic cloves
- 1 cup parsley without stems
- 3 tablespoons chickpea flour
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon tahini
- pinch of salt & pepper
For the Sauce:
- 1 tablespoon tahini
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 2 – 3 teaspoons water
- 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
- pinch of salt & pepper
- Preheat the oven to 450 F.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a saucepan and sauté the quinoa for 1 minute. Add the stock and bring to a boil, and then cook for 15 minutes at low heat. Turn off heat and let it cool for 5 minutes. Fluff the quinoa and let it cool some more.
- Line your baking trays with unbleached parchment paper and grease with cooking spray.
- Take out the chickpeas from their soaking water and dry them on some paper towels. The same applies to canned chickpeas.
- In a large food processor, blend your chickpeas, garlic, parsley, tahini, challot, chickpea flour, and salt and water. At this point, you can add an egg to bind the mixture more, but this is completely optional. Do not over blend the mixture. You want the paste to have some chickpea chunks left to keep your falafel from being too starchy.
- If your mixture ends up too dry add a teaspoon of water, or chickpea flour if too wet. You should have a thick consistency that sticks together.
- Using a spatula combine the blended chickpea paste with the cooked and fluffed quinoa in a large bowl. Adjust the taste of the spices.
- Use a small scoop dipped in water to scoop some of the quinoa falafel paste, and use your hands to roll into mini balls. Dip the scoop into the water in-between making the falafel balls to prevent sticking.
- Place the rolled balls on the prepared baking sheet, spaced 1-inch apart.
- Spray the quinoa falafels with a little cooking spray or some olive oil and let them bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Flip the falafel when it reaches a golden-brown color and has a crispy outer layer.
- If you are using an air fryer to make your falafel, fry them at 350F/175C for 14 minutes. You don’t have to flip them over whether you are making rolled balls or patties.
For the Tahini Sauce
- While your falafels are baking, you can make tahini sauce.
- Using a food processor, add your tahini, turmeric, water, lemon juice, garlic, and salt. Blend until you get a smooth paste.
- Due to the water and lemon juice, the tahini will thicken into a paste. You can add a bit more water to get it a bit smoother.
- Serve the falafel in pita pockets with some sliced cucumber, tomatoes and drizzle the tahini sauce.
Other dips you can make to serve with these falafels tzatziki, hummus or turmeric sauce.
These quinoa falafels can be made at any time of the year, as you do not need any seasonal ingredients.