Appetizer, Entrée, Snack, Gluten Free

QUINOA FALAFELS WITH TAHINI SAUCE

It's summer. There was a whirlwind of engagement excitement, a trip to Scotland and now it's July. What the heck. The traffic down the coast is congested, there are ripe nectarines at the market and I can smell that glorious charcoal bbq scent when I take an evening stroll. I like it very much. The season of eating dinner outside, beach days after church and the best fruit, I welcome you.

As much as I love a good meal, I'm more often a grazer. I peek through my fridge a number of times during the day, hoping maybe something new or more exciting will look back at me. There are always string cheeses and carrot sticks; often some flavor of hummus and various dipping agents, but those have been on my snack menu for a good twenty years or so, I need some new goods. The first thing I do when I go to my parents house is take note of what is in their fridge, as you never know when hunger will strike and I may NEED something from there. I am not much of a baker for this very reason, grazing on baked goods is not the greatest habit. If you bake and have self control, cheers to you. I'm better off with these leftover quinoa falafels in the fridge.

QUINOA FALAFELS WITH TAHINI SAUCE / Serves 4

I made my own version, but was influenced by the lovely Nicole at Cooking after Five. I used smoked salt, because I had some on hand and it worked great, but any type of salt is fine. The falafels themselves are very low in fat, so the sauce, or any sauce of choice is necessary. You can use fresh cooked garbanzo beans, or canned if you are short on time.

1/2 Cup Quinoa

1 Cup Chopped Carrot

1/2 Cup Sliced Green Onions (about 3)

3 Tbsp. Chopped Parsley

15 oz. Garbanzo Beans

2 Eggs

2 Tbsp. Fresh Lemon Juice

1 tsp. Cumin

2 tsp. Coriander

2 Tbsp. Toasted Sesame Seeds

2 Cloves Garlic

Salt/Pepper

2 Tbsp. Olive Oil

1 Cup Plain Yogurt

1/4 Cup Tahini

1 Tbsp. Lemon Zest

Fresh Chives to taste

Salt/Pepper

1 English Cucumber, cut in matchsticks

1. In a small saucepan, bring 1 cup water to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 12ish minutes. Set aside to cool for now.

2. In a bowl, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon zest, a pinch of salt and pepper and chives if you have them. Cover and put in the fridge.

3. In a blender or food processor, pulse carrots and parsley. Add green onion, garbanzos,sesame seeds, lemon juice, eggs, garlic clove, coriander and cumin. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Pulse until roughly combined, add quinoa, and another few pulses. I prefer it chunky. Taste for seasonings. Allow to set in fridge for an hour. It will be fine resting overnight if you really like to plan ahead.

4. Heat a nonstick pan* over medium high heat with 1 Tbsp. of the oil. Scoop the mixture out in about 2 Tbsp. size portions, roll and flatten into patties. Sear them in the saucepan for about 3 minutes on each side, with a slight press of the spatula between to thin the patty a bit. Use the remaining oil when the pan becomes dry about the third batch.

5. I ate mine at room temperature over some matchstick cucumbers, with a drizzle of the yogurt tahini sauce on top. You could put them in mini pitas and they could be a neat veg appetizer. I love mini things.

* Nonstick will allow you to use less oil to keep them from sticking. You need some oil to create a crust, but you are not 'frying' them.