I had some coriander to use and decided to make falafel. Then I noticed a few tablespoons of cooked quinoa in the refrigerator and I remembered having falafels with quinoa in at a restaurant once.
Gluten free falafel can be dry due to omission of breadcrumbs but the quinoa keeps these moist albeit slightly crumbly. I have used gram flour in the past to bind falafel but used some pecan nuts, ground down to a flour and they added a wonderfully warm nutty flavour to these falafel.
I kept the spices the same as my other falafel recipes and the difference in flavour is only very subtle. I really enjoyed the little pops of texture that the quinoa gives them – somehow they seemed lighter than falafel made just with chickpeas. I fried these because I was using the oven, but they could also be baked for a healthier recipe.
I made a rustic salsa with cucumber, red onions, coriander, lime and garlic and served the falafel with some hummus and minted yoghurt.
Pecan, Quinoa and Chia Seed Falafel (Gluten, dairy and sugar free)
- 1 tin Chickpeas, drained
- 3 tbs cold Quinoa, cooked
- 70g pecan nuts, toasted and blended to a course flour
- 1 medium Onion, chopped
- 2 eggs
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 1 tbs Chia seeds
- 1 tbsp Ground Cumin
- 0.5 tbsp Ground Coriander
- 1/4 tsp Chilli Powder
- 0.5 tbs Paprika
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1 handful fresh curly Parsley
- 1 handful fresh Coriander
- Juice of one lemon
- Oil for Frying
For the salsa:
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 200g tomatoes, finely chopped
- 0.3 cucumber, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 1 tsp baking soda
- handful fresh Coriander, chopped
- Juice of one lime
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Drizzle of olive oil
To make the salsa:
- Mix together all of the ingredients and leave in the fridge for at least 1 hour for the flavours to blend
To make the falafel:
- In a blender, (or in a bowl with a handheld blender) pulse the onion, garlic, parsley, fresh coriander and chickpeas and pulse until a rough paste is formed.
- Pulse in the pecan flour, spices and the egg.
- In a mixing bowl, stir in the quinoa, chia seeds, and season to taste. You should have a soft ‘dough’.
- Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour
- Remove from the refrigerator. Dissolve the baking soda in 1 tbsp of water and mix it into the falafel mixture after it has been refrigerated.(This is optional but lightens the falafel texture)
- If baking, preheat oven to 180C/350F
- With wet hands, or a little oil on your palms (if baking), roll the falafel dough between palms into balls and place on an oiled baking sheet (makes approximately 25 small falafel)
- Bake for 30 minutes, rolling halfway through so that golden on each side, until cooked through.
- If frying, fill a large pan halfway with oil over a medium heat
- Fry the falafel until golden brown (2-3 minutes on each side), and drain on kitchen paper
- Serve immediately with the salsa, some minted yoghurt, hummus, and a squeeze of lemon juice (or store in the refrigerator or freeze.)