Baked Quinoa Falafel Bites

Quinoa falafel balls

After successfully baking falafel instead of frying them, it was time to take things further with a twist. This time I used quinoa in place of the chickpeas. The rather unorthodox mixture of nutty quinoa and tahini was nearly authentic in taste in texture, sans chickpeas. Go figure, but it worked perfectly. The lemon tahini sauce I served them with was the bomb. If desired, you can serve them in pita pockets with the sauce.

Thankfully, I rarely dine alone, but on this occasion, I almost wished I did because I wanted to keep them all to myself. Well, that is a bit of an exaggeration, as I always enjoy serving food to my husband and best friend Basil. However, they are really easy to make so surely these are now a frequent addition to the table. I am one of those grazers that likes to snack on various things throughout the day, rather than to eat large meals and these are simply ideal. Certainly, this is a new healthy favorite.

Note: To make the meal vegan friendly, serve with a tomato-based sauce or chutney, or hummus instead of the lemon tahini sauce which contains yogurt.

Baked Quinoa Falafel BitesBaked Quinoa Falafel Bites
Recipe by
Cuisine: Middle Eastern
Published on February 17, 2014

Crispy golden-brown savory quinoa falafel bites — baked not fried — served with a simple tangy lemon, tahini and yogurt sauce

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (3 cups cooked)
  • 1 cup fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 4 tablespoons tahini
  • 2 green chilies, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • juice from 1 small lemon (2 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt, or to taste
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 1/4 cups plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • juice from 1 large lemon (3 tablespoons)
  • sea salt and fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • Rinse the quinoa well in a strainer until the water is no longer cloudy. Transfer to a medium saucepan and pour in 2 cups of water. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer until the water is absorbed — about 20 minutes. Transfer to a medium bowl and let the quinoa cool.

  • Stir in the rest of the ingredients until well combined.

  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat an oven to 450°. Shape the quinoa mixture into small balls and transfer to the baking sheet. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until the falafel balls are golden brown and crispy.

  • To make the sauce, whisk together the yogurt, tahini, lemon juice and salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Cover and chill until ready to serve.

Makes 16 falafels

quinoa falafel

Other little bites you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Coleslaw Bites with Jalapeño Dip
Olive Cheese Balls
Smoked Gouda Gougères
Stuffed Mushrooms with Sun-Dried Tomatoes, Goat Cheese and Olives

On the top of the reading stack: Naturally Sweet & Gluten-Free by Ricki Heller

Audio Accompaniment: Paul Kalkbrenner - Guten


Lily (A Rhubarb Rhapsody) said...

Is there anything quinoa can't do?! It's one of those precious ingredients that I know my son will always eat. These would be a wonderful after school snack to tide him over 'til dinner. Thanks for the recipe!

Pattie from Vermont said...

This sounds wonderful! I love quinoa.I love falafel, for that matter!
When you say green chilies, do you mean hot chilies, perhaps jalapenos? Thanks.

Joanne said...

This is such a nice twist on the classic! I love finding new uses for my never ending stash of quinoa.

Lisa Turner said...

Pattie, I used hot green chilies, but you could use jalapenos too.

I hope you try it Joanne. It's a new favorite.

Anonymous said...

This is excellent! I love falafel and quinoa, and I have more quinoa right now. Definitely going to try these as soon as I can.

Renus Kitchen said...

recently I have started incorporating quinoa in my diet. this recipe is awesome. Will give it try.

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

They look marvellous Lisa and even better because they are baked. So healthy too. I'll have to try these on Graham and Cooper x

Bill said...

Do you have any trouble with them falling apart?

Lisa Turner said...

No, they held together perfectly. That is why I shared :)

Anonymous said...

Made this tonight- amazing! I had a little of the mixture that wouldn't fit on my cookie sheet and I was eating it right from the bowl. Thanks for the recipe!

Barbara said...

Making these this weekend. Yum.