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meatless monday: quinoa falafel with spicy tahini yogurt

August 23, 2010

This is easily my favorite Meatless Monday dish to date.  It’s also the one I messed up the most.  I thought it would be easy enough to whip up, but in true KC-fashion, I casually glanced over the “allow to sit in the fridge for one hour” bit.  One hour in the fridge is about the same as 20 minutes in the freezer, right?  Well,  for the purposes of this story let’s pretend it is.  Later, in the recipe, you’ll read my lesson on the proper sizing as well.

With the proper amount of planning, this is an easy recipe and incredibly good.  We paired this with some green salad, grilled pita from earlier in the week and of course the tahini yogurt sauce suggested.  Our local kebab place in Switzerland always offers a “scharf” (spicy) option with their falafel, which we always take.  So for an added kick, I threw in a tbsp of sriracha sauce and it offered the perfect amount of spice.  For those adverse to spicy, either cut back or cut out the sriracha all together.  But don’t tell me, because it’ll make me sad.

Quinoa falafel with spicy tahini yogurt
from the lovely Sprouted Kitchen

falafel ingredients

  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup chopped carrot (2 medium-sized carrots was enough here)
  • 1/2 cup sliced green onions (about 3)
  • 3 Tbsp. chopped parsley
  • 15 oz. canned chickpeas
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. cumin
  • 2 tsp. coriander
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • Salt/pepper
  • olive oil for pan

spicy tahini yogurt sauce

  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/4 cup tahini
  • 1 tbsp sriracha (or hot chili sauce of your choice)
  • 1 tbsp. lemon zest
  • Fresh chives to taste
  • Salt/pepper


  1. Cook 1/2 cup quinoa according to directions.  Set aside to cool.
  2. Now, start with your falafel mix as it needs to set in the fridge for one hour (ahem!)
  3. In a blender or food processor, pulse carrots and parsley.
  4. Add green onion, chickpeas, lemon juice, eggs, garlic clove, coriander and cumin.
  5. Season with salt (about 1/2 tsp) and fresh ground pepper.
  6. Pulse until roughly combined, add quinoa, and another few pulses.
  7. Allow to set in fridge for an hour.  It will be fine resting overnight if you really like to plan ahead.  And it will still be fine if you pretend that 20 minutes in the freezer is kind of like 1 hour in the fridge, but don’t tell anyone that because it makes you sound like you lack serious attention to detail.
  8. Now, mix together all your yogurt sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl.  Note:  if you don’t want a lot of sauce, feel free to cut this amount in half.  It makes a lot, but it’s so good, you won’t mind having leftovers.
  9. Heat a non-stick pan over medium high heat with 3 tbsp. of the oil.  Note: I used more oil here because my pan isn’t really non-stick.  If you have a proper non-stick pan, feel free to use less.
  10. Scoop the mixture out in about 2 Tbsp. size portions, roll and flatten into patties.

    this was way too big of a scoop, I used the smaller spoon for the second batch

  11. Sear them in the saucepan for about 5 minutes on each side, with a slight press of the spatula between to thin the patty a bit.   (I originally did the 3 minutes suggested and my falafel completely fell apart.)  From my experience, I recommend 5 on each side.

    top left hand falafel is the product of an early flip and too big a scoop

  12. Add more olive oil as necessary for additional batches.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. August 24, 2010 8:04 am

    I would love to try this recipe (not so sure my husband would be as excited) but sadly have never seen Quinoa here in Mauritius – do you have a recommendation on a replacement product?
    🙂 Mandy

    • August 24, 2010 11:07 pm

      I actually think you could skip the quinoa all together and maybe add a few tbsp of flour to bind the dough a bit. Alternatively, you might try bulgar wheat…not sure if you can find that in your parts though.

  2. August 25, 2010 10:37 pm

    I’ve always wanted to make my own falafel. I love it. Yours looks amazing. I might have to give it a try now.

    • August 25, 2010 10:49 pm

      I hope you do! I couldn’t believe how easy it was–not to mention how tasty it turned out.

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