Another reason that I was completely psyched to post here is the subject matter. Since discovering quinoa I’ve had a blast experimenting with it in the kitchen. It’s one of the most versatile ingredients I’ve come across. If you’re a food blogger, or even just an avid food blog reader, you probably know that a bit of food fixation comes along with the territory, which means, in my case at least, jotting down post ideas all day long. When I agreed to guest post here, all I had to do was consult my trusty draft post list to come up with an avalanche of quinoa ideas. I wanted something really special though. Something that would knock all of your socks off, and this led me to an area of quinoa cuisine that I had yet to experiment with: quinoa falafel.
Ever have an amazing meal at a random restaurant, so amazing that years and years later you can still taste the meal, but perhaps can’t even recall the restaurant? For me that meal was a falafel stuffed eggplant. It had to be about fifteen years ago that I had falafel-stuffed eggplant, and (sadly) I have not a clue where I ate it. Recalling that meal, I decided I had my perfect post to share with you guys!
I’d also like to mention that thus far, my attempts at preparing falafel without the addition of quinoa have turned out…eh…a bit subpar. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the addition of quinoa was exactly what I needed. The texture was absolutely perfect, while the flavor remained powerful and delicious. The eggplant roasts up to delicious, melt-in-your mouth perfection surrounding every bit of falafel. My boyfriend’s comment: “I never want to eat falafel outside of an eggplant again.” I couldn’t ask for a better review than that. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did.
- 1 medium eggplant (about 10 oz.)
- 1/3 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 2/3 cup cooked or canned chickpeas, drained
- 1 small onion, diced
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 tbsp. ground cumin
- 1 tsp. ground coriander
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- juice of 1/2 lemon (about 1 1/2 tbsp.)
- 1 tbsp. olive oil, plus just a little extra for brushing
- tahini sauce (recipe below)
- tomato-cucumber salsa (recipe below)
- Tahini Sauce
- 2 tbsp. tahini
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 1 tsp. olive oil
- about 1/4 cup water
- Tomato-Cucumber Salsa
- 1/4 cup diced cucumber
- 1/2 cup diced tomato
- 1 scallion, sliced
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- juice of 1/2 lemon
- 1/2 tbsp. olive oil
- Rinse quinoa well under cold water. Add to small saucepan, along with broth and bring to a boil. Lower heat and simmer, covered, for 15-18 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and allow to sit for at least five minutes, covered.
- Preheat oven to 450. Cut top off of eggplant and slice in half, lengthwise. Brush cut sides lightly with olive oil and bake, cut side down for about ten minutes. You just want to get your eggplant slightly tender, for the next steps. Leave the oven on when you remove eggplant.
- While your eggplant cools, prepare falafel mixture by adding 2/3 cup of cooked quinoa (you probably ended up with just slightly more than this when you cooked it), along with all remaining ingredients, up to olive oil, to food processor bowl. Pulse until well blended.
- By now, your eggplant should be cool. Using a spoon, scrape out just enough flesh from the inside of each half to create a small well for your falafel. Now fill the wells with falafel mixture, piling excess on top. Brush tops with olive oil and bake in 450 degree oven for 30-35 minutes, or until eggplant is tender and falafel is lightly browned on top. Top with tahini sauce and tomato-cucumber salsa.
- Tahini Sauce
- Whisk all ingredients together, adding additional water as needed to achieve desired consistency.
- Tomato-Cucumber Salsa
- Mix all ingredients in small bowl.
Alissa Saenz is an intellectual property attorney by profession, but her true passions are food and creativity! Alissa has been a vegetarian since the age of thirteen, and on a mission to craft the world’s most delicious plant-based recipes since then.
In addition to creating delicious food, Alissa enjoys pottery, painting, needlework, and pretty much all other forms of crafty creation. She practices yoga on a regular basis and is committed to living well and feeling good.
Alissa lives just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, with her boyfriend and two cats.
You can read more about Alissa and her food creations at her blog, Connoisseurus Veg.
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