Posts tagged nut free
Quinoa ‘meat’ balls

Remember these ‘meat’balls?

And these burgers?

Well, it was really just a matter of time before I combined the two to get a gluten free, high protein hit with a nice spicy smoky kick!  I typically eat a lot of nuts, seeds and beans to maintain a good protein intake, but what I love about these balls is that they focus more on pulses and grains, plus the fact they are perfect for a snack on the go, to toss on top of a salad, to wrap up in a tortilla or to slather in sauce….

I’ve now made these countless times and I pretty much keep to the same proportions and flavours each time, although I nearly always double or triple the batch so I have plenty to freeze.  The ones  in the photos were rolled in polenta prior to baking to give a little crispy coating for my wrap but I often just leave them plain and then they look more like the original

‘meat’ balls.  The only significant difference between these balls and the originals that used rice,  are that these balls tend to be slightly dryer, I think it was the rice that gave them more of a chew so feel free the substitute rice for the quinoa to get a GF version closer to the original if you prefer.

Right, I’m off…I’m on a huge baking mission today since yesterday was sabotaged by my broken down car which had to get to the garage at short notice, therefore my plans for the day had to be totally re-written. Oh well, I guess that’s life… you just have to roll with it sometimes.

On my list to do:  this month’s Daring Bakers Challenge, soupdips and these meat balls to stock up my freezer. Some more smoosh barsand also some chia pudding experiments planned…watch this space!

 P.S The tortilla sauce in the photo is a lentil and peanut dip (soon to come) good!

 P.S The tortilla sauce in the photo is a lentil and peanut dip (soon to come) good!

Recipe: Quinoa ‘meat’ balls


  • ½ cooked lentils
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup mixed wholegrain high protein flours  (gram, buckwheat, oatmeal)
  • 2 tbs ground flax
  • 2 tbs soy sauce
  • 2 tbs oilve oil
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ black pepper
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Pinch nutmeg
  • ½ chilli powder
  • ½ parika/cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp molasses
  • 2 tsp mustard


Mix everything together in a large bowl. Mixture should be sticky but manageable. From apricot sized balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.(

optional- rolls in polenta for a cripy coating prior to baking).

Bake at 180C for 25- 30 minutes turning over half way through. These freeze well.

(Adapted from my regular 'meat' ball recipe)

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Quinoa and chickpea burgers

I have a few basic principles that I try to keep in mind when I cook:

...Healthy without compromising on taste

...Indulgent without compromising health

...Simple meals that come together quickly

...Snacks and meals that can be made in bulk and frozen

...Recipes that are really versatile

So, with that in mind these Quinoa and Chickpea Burgers make their marks on the tick list. They provide a high protein hit, perfect for a vegan diet, are really simple to throw together, are suitable for freezing and could be dressed up in a variety of ways. Perfect for super speedy lunches or suppers, when I get in late from the gym.

I now make the process even simpler for myself as I cook and freeze batches of chickpeas and quinoa in bulk so I have always have them to hand, it’s also a much cheaper way than buying canned chickpeas or packets of pre-cooked quinoa (which I used to do for speed!)  I prepare a lot of my regularly used ingredients in bulk…I will elaborate on this is a separate post another time.

I sourced the original recipe here and actually made very few changes, other than adding a little leek and a few tweaks to spices.

These burgers held together really well and had a really lovely ‘substantial’ texture due to the quinoa grains. I served them with a simple tomato and basil salsa on a bed of stir fried courgette ribbons and spinach. They’d be equally at home in a bun, or made into small ‘meatballs’ with some spicier flavours….just made a mental note to try this!  I also had a leftover burger which I had cold the next day on its own as a snack, I think that may have been even better than the freshly cooked hot version!

These versatility of these quinoa burgers follow in the same vein as these sweet potato cakes and also these meat balls.

Recipe: Quinoa and chickpea burgers

Makes 4 medium patties (you could easily double this recipe)


  • 1 ½ cup cooked quinoa
  • ½ cup cooked mashed chickpeas
  • 1 small onion or half a leek- finely chopped
  • 1 rounded tbs ground chia or flax seed
  • 1 tbs soy sauce
  • 1 tbs fresh basil- chopped (or 1tsp dried)
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • 4 tbs potato starch/tapioca flour (other starches should also work)
  • 1 tbs mild oil for frying


Dry fry the dried spices for approx. 2 minutes until the aromas are released.

Mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

Chill the mixture for approx. 30-60mins to allow to firm up and marinade

Uisng your hands, form patties approx. 1.5-2cm thick and fry for approx. 5 minutes on each side. To omit most of the oil, you could coat the outside in a very light covering of oil and bake them for approx. 15 minutes until golden (note: I haven’t yet tested this method)

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