So this week I've been trying out a few new gluten free recipes and I came across the idea for these delicious bites in Aine Carlins new cookbook which is full of delicious healthy vegan recipes. It's called The New Vegan and I can highly recommend it!
The main ingredients for these wee bites you may have guessed from the title, are the equally awesome superfoods, quinoa and broccoli, both of which I love and are a regular part of my diet in various forms!
Lidl had a great deal on organic quinoa last week which I took advantage of and stocked up so when I came across this recipe idea I just had to try it!
We had them for dinner last night and they got a big thumbs up from everyone, even Kathryn, who doesn't normally like quinoa!
So whats so good about quinoa... well lots of things actually! It really does deserve its superfood title.
Although considered a grain, its technically the seed of a plant related to beet, chard and spinach. Cooked quinoa is fluffy and creamy with a slight bite to it and a delicate nutty flavour.
Quinoa is a great source of protein, containing all essential amino acids, is packed with magnesium, three times as much as the calcium it contains. Its also high in B vitamins, vitamin E and fibre and a great source of minerals including iron and zinc.
Its considered the least allergenic of all the grains and its a fantastic gluten free choice.
So these wee bites are really easy to make, I oven baked mine since I hate frying food and oven baking them is easier and healthier!
So all you need to do is cook the quinoa and steam your broccoli then you can essentially add whatever flavourings you like. I used paprika and nutritional yeast to flavour mine but you could use cumin, chilli, lemon, garlic or coriander. Nutritional yeast is a great source of B vitamins especially important for those on a vegan diet. They are really cheap and add a mild cheesy flavour. The tahini works as a binder to stick everything together but you could easily substitute an egg if you are not vegan.
I also added a tablespoon of milled chia seeds which needed used up and a tablespoon of gram flour, which is my gluten free go to flour. Its so cheap and its a great source of protein and minerals. It's used a lot in Indian cooking and is made from chickpeas, which I could eat every day of the week! Another great gluten free alternative is polenta which is made from corn and its a lovely colour and a great substitute for breadcrumbs in burgers.
I made these quite small and the recipe made 15 small bites which are perfect for lunch on a wrap or for dinner with a big salad and a spicy mayo or salsa. You could also make them into bigger burgers and have them on a roll with all the trimmings!
So here is my recipe...
QUINOA & BROCCOLI BITES
Ingredients - makes 15 small bites
1/2 cup quinoa (about 100g)
small head of broccoli ( about 250g)
I tablespoon milled flaxseeds or chia seeds (optional)
1 tablespoon gram flour or polenta
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1 tsp paprika
1 tablespoon tahini
sea salt & black pepper
- Break the broccoli into small florets and either steam or boil until very soft. You can use the stalk too, just cut it up into small pieces.
- Rinse the quinoa well under cold running water to remove the soapy coating which can taste bitter if not rinsed off.
- Put the rinsed quinoa in a small pan and add a cup of water. Its essentially double the volume of water to grain which should cook it perfectly. Bring to the boil, then turn to a gentle simmer until all the water has been absorbed. Usually 12 to 15 minutes.
- Mash the broccoli and break up any large pieces.
- Combine the mashed broccoli with the quinoa, add tahini, nutritional yeast flakes, paprika, salt and pepper and mix well.
- Add either 2 tablespoons of gram flour or 2 tablespoons of polenta or a mixture of tablespoon of ground flaxseeds and a tablespoon of flour or polenta and mix until well combined.
- If the mixture is a bit dry and not sticking together well then add a bit more tahini.
- Take spoonfuls of the mixture and shape into small patties. You can give the mixture a gentle squeeze to help it hold its shape. You should get 15.
- Lightly grease and dust a baking sheet with polenta or gram flour.
- Put the patties on the baking tray and bake at 180C for around 20 to 30 minutes until nicely browned. Turn them over half way through cooking to brown both sides.
- Serve and enjoy!