Quinoa is a staple in my house - I often eat it pre-workout to give me a boost of carbohydrates and protein, and it's a great gluten free alternative to couscous.
Although it looks like it, quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is not a grain, it's a seed, and therefore it's a good source of protein if you're vegetarian or vegan.
One of my favourite brands of quinoa is Quinola - and they do these amazingly handy Express bags, which you simply microwave and eat, it's so quick and easy.
I wanted to come up with a recipe which could make a handy, gluten free lunch, and wondered if I could make some form of falafel with it.
This is traditionally made with chickpeas but I thought if I used sweet potato as a base I could add the quinoa and some yummy spices to make it into a tasty treat. Commence experimentation.
These were one of those dream recipes which turned out perfectly first time - I found a recipe on the Quinola website and thought this would be a good starting point, and I developed this with the ingredients I had to make these beauties!
I used the Quinola Whole Grain Express quinoa to make these, but they do an amazing range including Indian and Mexican-inspired packs, which I've used as a side to meals, and they are delicious - you can see their full range here.
I wanted some form of dip to have with these and decided on an avocado-based one. It's really creamy with a big of tang.
The falafel is vegetarian and vegan and if you wanted to make the sauce the same, you could substitute the Greek yoghurt for a dairy free alternative such as coconut yoghurt.
These can be eaten hot out of the oven or stored in the fridge and used in lunchboxes for a few days - try them in a hot pitta bread with the dip slathered on, or in a salad with pomegranate and feta for a tasty treat. I really hope you enjoy them!
Quinoa and sweet potato falafel recipe
Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, vegetarian and vegan
For the falafel:
1 cup Quniola wholegrain express
1 small red onion
1 garlic clove
250g sweet potato
¼ cup chickpea flour
1 tbsp tahini
1 tsp each turmeric, cumin and dried coriander
For the dip:
2 tbsp Fage 0% Total Greek yoghurt (use coconut yoghurt for dairy free/vegan)
2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
- Preheat the oven to 150'C.
- Peel the sweet potato and chop into small cubes. Steam for 20 minutes until it is cooked through and soft enough to mash.
- Peel the red onion and dice very finely. Peel the garlic and crush.
- Mash the sweet potato and add to a mixing bowl with the quinoa, onion, garlic, spices, chickpea flour and tahini paste.
- Mix thoroughly. Once combined, shape into 10, even-sized balls. You can keep them in balls or I flattened mine ever so slightly to create mini patties.
- Place on a baking sheet and cook in the oven for around 20 minutes, until they have gone a golden colour.
- Meanwhile, make the dip by placing the avocado flesh, Greek yoghurt, juice of one lemon, salt and sweet chilli sauce in a food processor and blending.
- Serve and enjoy!
I'd love to know if you have any gluten free falafel recipes which are a little bit different! Please share them by commenting below or on my Facebook or Twitter pages. Thank you to Quinola for sending me some samples for my kitchen experimentation.
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