I am glad to admit that I am not a purist. There is something a bit more personal and exciting about bending the norms a little. At least in the food we enjoy! Think about it…if you always followed the same cake or casserole recipe, won’t you be bored? That’s when we get creative with tossing in a little bit of this and that or “wing it” along the way.
These falafels are the result of going with the flow and keeping my fingers crossed that they won’t be a crumbly or horrible tasting mess. Inspiration for this recipe, which uses cauliflower, sweet potato and black beans came from watching the recent trends with cauliflower everything, including pizza crust! PIZZA CRUST! If cauliflower could be a pizza crust, it better be a darn good falafel. And it delivered!
Honestly, these falafels are a winner not not because they have a good doze of veggies, but also because they are oven-baked with a light drizzle of oil and not deep fried like the traditional ones. What is not to love about it, right?! These delicious bites held their shape, stored well for few days refrigerated and made a perfect match as a salad topper or filler for a pita. So, go ahead and make a batch! You can drop a thank you note later! 🙂
Blackbean and Veggie Falafels
Note about Prep Time: Prep time is about 20 min, refrigeration for about 30 min and cook (bake) time about 45 min.
1 1/2 cups grated cauliflower
1 1/2 cups grated sweet potato
1/4 cup finely chopped onions
3 cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 heaping teaspoon smoked paprika
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
Salt to taste
1 14.5oz black beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chickpea flour
1 – 2 tablespoons olive oil
- Dry roast coriander and cumin seeds for 5 min over low heat and grind to a powder in a dry grinder or in a mortar and pestle. Set aside.
- In a saute pan, add 1 teaspoon olive oil and saute the vegetables, including onion and garlic. Add the ground spices, salt, paprika and cayenne. Let cool.
- In a medium bowl, mash the drained blackbeans. Add the vegetable mixture and chickpea flour and thoroughly mix in. Cover and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Take the refrigerated falafel mixture out and form into about 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls.
- Arrange on a parchment lined baking tray and drizzle with remaining olive oil.
- Bake for about 25 min. Turn over and continue to bake for another 20 min till firm and golden.
- Serve immediately in a salad or as a wrap. Refrigerate remaining falafels.
Quinoa has come a long way from its humble beginnings! What used to be a trendy food item of the ultra-health conscious folks, has now become a near staple in many a household – thanks to its nutty texture, delectable taste and most importantly its high nutritional value!
I use quinoa in salads, as a replacement for rice for serving with curries, as breakfast cereal and now as quinoa “burger” or patty.
You can season these patties with your favorite combination of spices, herbs and other add-ins. I prefer the spicy notes imparted by southwest flavors of peppers, cilantro, citrus etc. and so decided to make these patties with those flavors! I used minced red peppers and zucchini to the patty mix. Needless to say, these ingredients add specks of bright colors and also boost the nutritional value. Addition of cheese not only gives a nice taste, but also helps in the holding power of the patty. As you may already know, cooked quinoa is rather fluffy, individual grains. Even with mashed black beans, you will still need the cheese in there for the best texture. I did make a few without cheese. They came out great, but I had to be extra careful not to break them while flipping or removing from pan. Lastly, even with cheese, be careful handling the patties. They are a bit fragile but so worth it when it comes to taste.
Lastly, you can use any type of quinoa for these patties (red, regular white, a combination etc). Also, you could substitute cannellini beans (or may be even navy beans) for the black beans in this recipe. Since I used regular canned black beans (not unsalted or reduced sodium), I could get away with just 1/2 teaspoon of salt. If you are unsure of the spice amounts, taste the mixture BEFORE adding eggs so you could adjust the seasoning. I did and boy was the mix delicious even at that stage! Would make a yummy dip baked with some cheese on top. Next time!
The formed patties can be frozen. Just pan “fry” them straight from the freeze under a low temp so the inside gets cooked through without burning the outside.
Pan-Cooked Southwest Quinoa Patties
2 to 2 1/4 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
1/4 cup finely minced red onions
1/2 cup finely chopped red pepper
1/4 cup diced zucchini
1 jalapeno pepper, minced finely (remove seeds if desired)
1 1/2 cups black beans, drained and rinsed well
3 cloves of garlic, grated fine
1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup reduced fat sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 – 3 tablespoons olive oil
1. Mix quinoa and all other ingredients EXCEPT oil thoroughly.
2. Divide the mix into 10 equal portions and flatten on parchment lined baking sheet into patties about 4-5″ in diameter and about 1/2″ thick.
3. Place the patties in single layer on a platter and chill for at least 30 minutes. Alternatively, you can just chill the mix and form the patties immediately prior to cooking them. To do this, just take a ball of mix and flatten on palm of your hand and gently and carefully transfer it to the frying pan.
4. Heat a frying pan over medium heat and add a tablespoon of oil. Swirl to coat and place patties in the pan.
5. Cook for about 6-8 minutes. Carefully turn the patties on the other side and continue to cook for another 5-7 minutes. Extended cooking results in a golden and crispy exterior while ensuring the inside is cooked thoroughly.
6. Hold in a warm oven or toaster oven till ready to serve.
1. If serving the patties assembled as burgers, proceeds as you would with any meat patty.
2. If serving at a later time, freeze uncooked patties after their initial “chilling” period in the refrigerator (for easier handling). Wrap individual patties in clear plastic wrap and store in a zip top bag or other airtight container. Pan “fry” frozen patties under low heat to help thaw the inside and increase heat to finish cooking and ensure proper internal temperature.