Quinoa Falafels

Traditional Middle Eastern falafels are so delicious and oh so high in calories and fat! The deep-frying is the reason. My version is sautéed with just a small amount of oil and when served with diced veggies and tzatziki, is an incredibly tasty and healthy meal.

1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Cover and simmer on the lowest heat for 15 minutes, just until cooked. Drain any excess liquid. Cool for 10 minutes.
2. Place the carrot, onions, peppers, salt and pepper, eggs, Parmesan and feta cheeses, tahini, breadcrumbs, lemon juice, garlic and basil, along with the cooled quinoa, in the bowl of a food processor. Process on and off just until combined. Do not purée. Form into approximately 18 balls.
3. In a large skillet sprayed with vegetable spray, add 2 tsp vegetable oil. Let the pan get very hot so the
falafels do not stick. Add the falafels and sauté on medium heat for 3 minutes per side until browned and hot throughout.
4. Cut the pitas in half and put 3 falafels in each half pocket. Add the tzatziki, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and cilantro.

½ cup quinoa
1 cup water or low-sodium stock
1⁄3 cup shredded carrot
1⁄3 cup sliced green onions
1⁄3 cup diced red bell pepper
pinch of salt and pepper
2 eggs
3 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese (¾ oz/23 g)
1⁄3 cup crumbled reduced-fat feta cheese (1½ oz/45 g)
2 Tbsp tahini (sesame seed paste)
1⁄3 cup unseasoned dry breadcrumbs
2 tsp lemon juice
1 tsp crushed garlic
1 tsp dried basil
2 tsp vegetable oil
3 large pitas (whole wheat), sliced in half
½ cup homemade or store-bought tzatziki
½ cup tomatoes
½ cup cucumbers
¼ cup onions
¼ cup chopped cilantro or parsley

Makes 6 servings

Preparation time: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 21 minutes

Make ahead: Prepare falafels up to a day in advance and sauté just before serving.

Nutritional Information per Serving
Calories 256
Carbohydrates 36.4 g
Fibre 5.3 g
Protein 11 g
Total fat 6.9 g
Saturated fat 2 g
Cholesterol 51 mg
Sodium 430 mg