Saturday, October 30, 2010

"let it all hang out"

the food: Baked Quinoa Falafel & Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
the song: "Get on the Good Foot" James Brown

Lo and behold, October is almost over and every recipe I've posted has been about sugar. It's what happens when cooler weather settles in. I warned you. But all this sugar is making me feel a little icky. Or at least that's what I'm going to tell myself so I don't bake today.


Let's talk about vegetables.

And quinoa.

Are you still with me? Good. Because this recipe is exciting and delicious. It is also healthy. So after you finish stuffing your face this Halloween weekend, don't waste time counting calories in Octoberfests and Krackle bars. Just enjoy yourself. And Monday, dust yourself off, wipe the chocolate from your lip, and put this on your menu to start your November on the good foot. You have 3 1/2 weeks until Thanksgiving. Treat yourself well during that time.

Can you spot the lemon seed? Don't worry, I did!

Quinoa falafel is a guaranteed to help you regain your composure, no matter how many candy corn you've eaten. The garbanzo beans compliment the nutty flavor of the grain which ups the nutritional value of the whole thing. I adapted the original recipe (from the stunningly beautiful Sprouted Kitchen) so that the falafel is baked. If it is cold where you are it provides a great excuse to heat up the oven and fill your kitchen with good smells. As an added bonus, I'm also including a recipe for yogurt sauce to accompany the falafel.

Let me warn you, the texture of this is a little different. It isn't the fluffy, fried goodness you get at Kebabalicious. These are a patty, almost like a little quinoa vegetable cookie. If you made it a little bigger, I think it would make a great veggie burger. I like the taste of them, but don't go in expecting any falafel you've had before. They taste healthy. But don't let that dissuade you, because healthy done well actually tastes good.

In our house, falafel night is pretty exciting for several reasons. One, obviously, is the falafel itself. Two, double obviously, is the yogurt sauce. Three, we add hummus, greens (usually raw or lightly sauted spinach), chopped tomatoes, warmed pita, and Sriracha on the side. Such a pretty plate, really. 

So what are your plans this weekend? The husband and I are headed to New Braunfels tonight to eat junk food at Wurstfest (no apologies- Halloween weekend is for food). Tomorrow, I'm going to dress up like a zombie. And next week when I've washed the makeup off and real life has kicked back in, I'll probably make this falafel.

Baked Quinoa Falalel
adapted from Sprouted Kitchen

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup chopped carrot
1/2 cup sliced onion
3 tbsp. chopped cilantro
15 oz. garbanzo beans (1 can)
2 eggs
2 tbsp. lemon juice
1 tsp. cumin
2-4 cloves garlic

Cook quinoa according to package directions (2 parts water or vegetable broth, 1 part quinoa). Set aside to cool.

In a blender or food processor, pulse carrots and cilantro. Add onion, garbanzo beans, lemon juice, eggs, garlic clove and cumin. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. Pulse until roughly combined, add quinoa, and pulse a few more times. Allow to set in fridge for an hour or overnight.

When you are ready, scoop the mixture out with a large spoon. Form into small balls and slightly flatten. Place onto an oiled baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes on each side, until outside is browned and crispy.

Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
adapted from Epicurious 

1 container plain Greek style yogurt
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
squeeze lemon
2 cloves garlic, minced
dash cayenne to taste   

Combine all ingredients. Taste for seasoning, adding salt if necessary. Allow to chill, covered, for at least 30 minutes. 

P.S. Let me take a moment to wish my beautiful Mama a happy Halloween birthday. Mom, I love you and hope your day is filled with delicious cake and happy times!

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