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Baked Quinoa Falafel with Turmeric Sauce

Author - Alyssa Rimmer

healthy-gluten-free-falafel
Raise your hand if you enjoy fried food. Come on…raise it up there, I know you’re with me here.

Fried food rocks. It’s delicious, it’s greasy, it’s addictive, it’s totally unhealthy and it’s totally awesome.

And I love the fact that it’s coated in gluten and dairy and then dunked in a vat of partially hydrogenated oil. It’s my idea of the perfectly balanced meal.

Can you sense my sarcasm yet…?

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Wait, wait, wait. You know me better than that. While I do like my indulgences, fried food is not one of them. Because fried food is anything but awesome.

Sure, it tastes good and yes, it’s certainly addictive, but who wants to have their food coated in junk and then cooked in more junk, all the while they’re ingesting thousands of extra calories and that junk is going straight to their hips and thighs.

It’s been over four years since I stopped eating gluten and I’ve probably had something fried only a handful of times. And when I do, even if it is “gluten-free”? I feel it immediately. My stomach starts to ache, my energy takes a nose dive and I’m left feeling gross and uncomfortable for the rest of the day.

It’s not pretty. And it's definitely far from awesome.

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But what bothers me the most about this fryer obsession, is that so-called “health” foods are often dredged and fried in the same way. Let’s take falafel for example.

The basis of the recipe is chickpeas and herbs. Sounds healthy, no? But then we go and trash it up with some flour to hold the mixture together and deep fry the heck out of it so it’s got that crispy coating, but is soaked in oil.

Or what about tempura vegetables? Why can’t we just be happy eating a piece of carrot? Why is that we have to instead coat it in flour, fry it and have the nerve to still call it vegetables? It drives me crazy!

And then there’s deep frying your Thanksgiving turkey! Sheesh, I just don’t understand that one. Why wouldn’t you want to just slather that baby in organic extra virgin olive oil, give it a nice rub down with some herbs and spices and roast it until it’s juicy and tender?

To each her own I suppose…

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Thankfully, for those of us who are focused on putting only the best ingredients into our bodies, there is an alternative.

Baking!

I’ve been doing a lot of experimenting over the past few years and am excited to say that there are baked options for pretty much all of your favorite fried food. Adore chicken nuggets? Try these! Or if you love fish sticks, how about these? And if you love falafel, then you’re going to love today’s recipe.

The one thing I’m still trying to master is perfectly crispy sweet potato fries – they end up mushy every time! Just going to have to keep trying with that one 🙂

But we’re not talking about sweet potato fries today. Nope, today we’re talking about falafel!

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I haven’t always been the biggest falafel fan. It’s only been in the last year or so that I’ve really started to enjoy it, but again, whenever I could find one that was gluten-free it was always fried. So now that I have a recipe that is healthy, vegan, gluten-free and no frying needed, I’m going to become falafel obsessed.

I have a big container in my freezer right now…just waiting to be devoured at lunch. So good!

My baked quinoa falafel recipe is a simple mixture of chickpeas, shallots, garlic, quinoa, herbs, spices and a little tahini. They’re then shaped into balls, chilled to help them keep their shape and then baked for about 40 minutes.

The result? A nutritious falafel that won’t make your tummy hurt, but still has that crunchy outside and soft inside. Basically, they’re pure perfection!

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I’ve been enjoying eating these beauties on top of my salads for lunch (and dinner too). I either eat them whole and drizzle them with a tasty turmeric-tahini sauce (recipe below!) OR I’ll crumble them up and they’ll act almost like croutons!

Either way, you can’t go wrong. They’re quick, effortless and totally delicious. Plus, they’re not dunked in oil and won’t go straight to your hips and thighs 🙂

Enjoy!

xo, Alyssa

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Baked Quinoa Falafel with a Creamy Turmeric Sauce

I’ve been enjoying eating these beauties on top of my salads for lunch (and dinner too). I either eat them whole and drizzle them with a tasty turmeric-tahini sauce (recipe below!) OR I’ll crumble them up and they’ll act almost like croutons!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Middle Eastern
Keyword baked falafel, turmeric recipe
Prep Time 1 hour
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 8 falafel
Calories 155 kcal
Author Alyssa

Ingredients

for the falafel:

  • 1 15oz can organic chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 large shallot chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 cup parsley stems removed
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons chickpea flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon tahini
  • Salt & pepper to taste

for the sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon tahini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 2 - 4 teaspoons water depending on the consistency you like
  • 2 teaspoons turmeric powder
  • Pinch of salt & pepper

Instructions

  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the chickpeas, shallots and garlic. Process until roughly chopped and starting to combine.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and process until mixture forms a dough. If dough seems too sticky, pulse in 1 tablespoon of chickpea flour.
  3. Shape dough into 2" disks. Place them on a plate and refrigerate for at least 60 minutes.
  4. Towards the end of chilling, preheat oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking sheet with parchment.
  5. Remove falafel from refrigerator and place on baking sheet. Bake on center rack for 30 - 40 minutes, flipping halfway through until falafel is crispy.
  6. Cool on baking sheet for at least 20 minutes to let falafel crisp up then serve as desired.
  7. If making the sauce, simply whisk together all ingredients in a small bowl until combined. Use less water if you want a thicker sauce, more water if you want one that is on the thin side.
  8. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

These freeze well. Simply wrap them up in foil and freeze. To reheat place them on a baking sheet and bake on low until heated through.

Nutrition Facts
Baked Quinoa Falafel with a Creamy Turmeric Sauce
Amount Per Serving (2 g)
Calories 155 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 12%
Saturated Fat 1g 5%
Sodium 129mg 5%
Potassium 217mg 6%
Total Carbohydrates 16g 5%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Protein 5g 10%
Vitamin A 12.8%
Vitamin C 13.6%
Calcium 3.9%
Iron 10.9%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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  1. I made this tonight. Great recipe. The sauce kinda tasted like mustard. I found myself pressed for time and didn’t have an hour to allow the falafels to cool in the fridge beforehand, but they turned out just fine. Thanks.

  2. A fun idea for the sauce:

    I ran across a similar recipe in an Israeli cookbook the other day. They direct you to heat the olive in a pan on medium heat and bloom the turmeric for 5 minutes. Then you strain it and cool it before adding it to the other ingredients. It adds a very nice flavor!

  3. Spot on there Allison.
    I hate fried foods and have not fried anything ever nor owned a firing pan!
    I cannot abide grease and it is odd in the mouth and cannit taste food, I get rid of it……..
    I have a small griddle (XMAS) and the dry fry method is suiting me very well as I love burgers, I like them with hot vegetables, rices or salads.
    Thank you for some lovely burger recipes and I shall tinker about and love them, I think they will be just fine in those quinoa tortillas and salads to fold about them.
    I often do little ones and put them around a home made soup and dip so it becomes a full meal. Is that a bit odd? I like that though.
    That turmeric sauce us a brilliant idea, I should like more sauces. Not just tomato ones endlessly, I love indian spices, so any ideas in that direction would go down very well here.

  4. Haha, no, I don’t like fried food and have never really eaten it anytime in my life really!
    That turmeric tahini sauce….o my….I know you made that just with me in mind! Two of my all-time favorite things!

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