Thursday, January 20, 2011

Quinoa Salad, Falafel & Aero Garden

Although I have been cooking lots of great things lately, this week has just been so busy! Classes for work, doctors appointments and a leaky roof are just some of the things that have been occupying my time. Extra effort was put into making sure we had a healthy dinner every night however and I've got some great new recipes to share.

First of all - check out the Aero Garden on day 14:
It's a kitchen jungle! I still have not sampled anything but I've got my eye on that basil...

Now onto the recipes. Last week we had a little family get together and I brought a salad to share. Surprise, surprise - it was from my Quinoa 365 book! It's good for vegetarians, celiacs and those with lactose intolerance (all of whom were at this particular family get together):
Quinoa Chickpea Salad
2cups vegetable stock
1cup quinoa
1 can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1cup diced red bell pepper (about 1 pepper)
1/3cup dried cranberries
1/3cup chopped walnuts
3tbsp chopped fresh parsley

Bring the stock and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for 4 more minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow the quinoa to cool.

Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and mix in the chickpeas, red pepper, cranberries, walnuts and parsley. Chill before serving. Stays fresh in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

The next recipe I wanted to share came from a book a co-worker brought to my attention called "The Gluten Free Bible":
While I have enjoyed the odd falafel pita in the past, I had never attempted to make them. This particular recipe also included a recipe for a tomato sauce to be served on top but I chose to just make the falafel:
Falafel Nuggets
2 cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1/2cup rice flour
1/2cup chopped parsley
1 egg
Juice of 1 lemon (or squirt of lemon juice)
1/4cup minced onion
2tbsp minced garlic
2tsp ground cumin
1/2tsp salt
1/2tsp ground red pepper or red pepper flakes
1/2cup canola oil (*I did not use this as I used the "variation" method to reduce fat content. I will write both methods however)

Preheat oven to 400F. Coat baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray (or parchment paper).

Combine chickpeas, rice flour, parsley, egg, lemon juice, minced onion, garlic, cumin, salt and red pepper in food processor or blender; process until well blended. Shape mixture into 1 inch balls.

(This is not the method I used) Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Fry falafel in batches until browned. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheet; bake 8-10 minutes. 

*Variation Cooking Method - Falafel can also be baked completely to reduce the fat content. Spray the falafel lightly with nonstick cooking spray and bake 15-20 minutes, turning once. 

Once I had made these, I wasn't too sure what to do with them. Apparently they're good in salads or even as a sandwich filler. I enjoyed just eating them as is for a quick snack. 
For one meal this week, I threw them in the wok for some protein with my veggies. Expecting them to just crumble, I was happily surprised when they held their shape and acted like a little meatball! There is such great flavor in these little things and they are a wonderful source of protein for those of us who don't get enough of it from meat. 

MY REVIEW: Two good recipes I know I will make again. 

JASON'S REVIEW: Jason is currently removing the iceberg featured in the major motion picture "Titanic" from our roof. Perhaps you've seen it? It's safe to say he liked both meals as they were both happily consumed. 


  1. Huh. I didn't know falafel was gluten-free.

  2. Quinoa Chickpea Salad absolutely sounds super delicious! :)I'm definitely gonna try cooking it for my family and friends one of these days. Thank you for sharing the recipe. By the way, I'm also gonna try making the falafel nuggets. Thanks again! :)