Recently, I've discovered the joys of quinoa. Now, I know a lot of you lovely readers are healthy eaters and know all about the benefits of this grain. Here's a refresher for those (like me) who are new to it.
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a seed that is native to South America. It contains all 9 essential amino acids and it is gluten-free and cholesterol-free. Of all the wholegrains, quinoa has the most protein, yet it cooks relatively quickly, in 10 to 15 minutes (1 part quinoa to 2 parts water). Some say to rinse the quinoa before using but I don't do this and it seems fine.
I found my quinoa in the healthfood aisle at the supermarket, and it's called 'Organic Royal Quinoa' and is a 'product of Bolivia'. Regardless of the health benefits, and that it's quick to cook, is the taste - I wouldn't eat something that tastes average - quinoa has a great chewy-soft texture and lovely nutty flavour. You just need to add some olive oil, salt or lemon juice to make it even better.
These fritters (aka falafels) combine the virtuosity of quinoa, carrot and chickpeas with the tastiness of spices, lemon and garlic. It's served with a tahini sauce to moisten up the fritters a bit. They are a winner even with avowed meat eaters.
Quinoa and Chickpea Fritters
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 large carrot, chopped
3 spring onions, sliced
2 tblsp parsley, chopped
2 tblsp lemon juice
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tblsp sesame seeds, lightly toasted
2 cloves garlic
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tblsp olive oil
Tzatziki and Tahini sauce
1 cup tzatziki (or plain yoghurt)
1/4 cup tahini
1 tblsp lemon juice
1. Bring 1 cup of water to the boil in a small saucepan. Add the quinoa, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. In a food processor, blend the carrots and parsley. Add the spring onion, chickpeas, eggs, lemon juice, cumin, sesame seeds and garlic. Season with salt and pepper. Blend until combined. Add the quinoa and pulse until just combined. Place mixture in the refrigerator to chill for an hour, or overnight.
3. Heat olive oil in a non-stick frypan over medium heat. Form the quinoa mixture into small patties, flattening slightly. Cook for 3 minutes on each side, until golden.
4. For the tahini sauce: Whisk the sauce ingredients together and season with salt and pepper.
5. Serve the fritters warm or at room temperature with a dollop of the sauce.
Recipe adapted from sproutedkitchen.com
Ingredients, before and after cooking the quinoa. See how fluffy it becomes.
Form the chilled mixture into fritter shapes, then cook in olive oil until golden
Serve the quinoa and chickpea fritters with tzatziki and tahini sauce.
I hesitate to suggest it, but this is so healthy that it might be okay to pig out on chocolate for dessert...