quinoa veggie balls with apple cayenne balsamic glaze

I thought after all the ham and turkey we ate celebrating Easter I’d share a QUINOA recipe to ease us through the digestion period. I am so full!

The weekend before Easter, we had two dinner parties. One Friday night and then again on Sunday. Fifteen people in total; six with food limitations. Gone are the days when, as hostess, I can serve what I like and everybody digs in.

Lactose intolerance, gluten-free diets, vegetarians and, of late, the dreaded vegans. I’m kidding. I completely respect all dietary needs and do my best to create a seamless dinner party for each of our guests.

Finding foods that everyone will enjoy is the kicker! I’m convinced that vegetarians and vegans suffer through a lot of really bad meals, when they dine out, because most of the world is still predominately carnivore. At least, my world is.

As Ralph and I get older, our metabolisms have gotten slower. We don’t use up all the energy produced by lovely thick steaks. Sadly, four to five ounces of protein is more than enough for me and still I end up giving the last of it to Ralph. All this to say, I love finding vegetarian alternatives to our animal based meals.

On the Friday evening, two of our guests were vegan. Keeping that top of mind while I planned the menu, I searched the internet for inspiration. I found a recipe for quinoa burgers and re-purposed it into an appetizer. I’d made quite a bit of apple jelly, last fall, so thought it would be fun to finish my little meat-free bites with a snap. One of the jellies had whole cayenne peppers floating in it, so I grabbed it and cut it with a bit of balsamic vinegar. It was lovely.

I promise, what I am about to tell you is NOT an exaggeration…

I served my quinoa veggie balls just before I started the main course. Because that dish required constant attention, I made a quick drop of the quinoa balls in the living-room and then hurried back to the kitchen. Two or three minutes later, Ralph came into the kitchen with a grin on his face and said, “I think, you need to see this.”

I walked into the living-room to find my vegan friends, enthusiastically,  hoarding the platter of quinoa balls by batting away our other guests. I’d originally said, we’d be doing hors d’oeuvres but, had changed my mind, without letting anybody know. The vegans thought that platter was all they were getting and were prepared to defend it! Needless to say, once I explained I’d prepared more vegan dishes, the giggles and teasing kept up all night!

You’ll note that there is an egg in this dish. My friends eat eggs as long as they come from happy hens…

Quinoa Veggie Balls with Apple Cayenne Balsamic Glaze adapted from Saveur.com

⅓ cup olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
1 rib celery, finely chopped
2 cups kale, ribs removed and finely chopped
1 -15 oz. can cannellini beans, rinsed, drained and mashed with ¼ cup of water
2 cups cooked quinoa – I used red quinoa
½ cup Italian flavoured breadcrumbs
2 tablespoons fresh mint leaves, finely chopped
1 egg – from a happy hen!
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

THE STEPS:

  • Heat 2 tbsp. oil in a large skillet over medium high heat.
  • Add garlic, onion, and celery, and cook, stirring, until soft and translucent.
  • Transfer to a bowl and add quinoa, chopped kale, breadcrumbs, mint, egg, and mashed beans.
  • Season with salt and pepper and mix well to combine.
  • Form into 1 ½ “ balls and place on a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Cover with cling wrap and place quinoa balls in the fridge for at least 2 hours.
  • Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in same skillet over medium-high heat.
  • Add balls to the skillet without crowding them, and cook, rolling to each side, until browned on all sides and cooked through, about 4 minutes.

Apple Cayenne Balsamic Glaze

½ cup apple jelly
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper

THE STEPS:

  • Place all of the ingredients in a small saucepan over medium low heat
  • Stirring constantly, heat until jelly has melted and glaze is well combined.
  • Remove from heat
  • Spoon glaze over quinoa veggie balls and serve.

THE LOVE: Use two forks to turn the quinoa veggie balls as they are frying. They are quite fragile and will break if you are too rough.

click here for the printable recipe

one year ago: fudge pudding cake

two years ago: mushroom stuffed pork tenderloin

three years ago: borscht

Thanks for reading.

  • Ralph

    I can’t wait until you make them again , I would love to try one…………….!

    • Michelle

      You are hilarious! xo

  • Judith

    Those Vegans sound like savages!

    • Michelle

      They can be VERY territorial! lol!!!

  • Judith

    And, I’m actually going to make these,

    • Michelle

      BINGO!

  • I love Quinoa!! can´t wait to try it

    • Michelle

      Wonderful – let me know how you like them!

  • Like seagulls to a French fry, these are the days of our lives… (and what better compliment to the chef than people fighting over your food?)

    • Michelle

      And that’s exactly the way I took it! I loved it…

  • I was drawn to this post by its title. I love quinoa and I think these quinoa balls sound really delicious. I’m really gonna try this out!

    • Michelle

      I hope you do – they were super tasty! Thanks for dropping by…

  • Helena Perkins

    The chopped kale is not in your cooking steps nor your picture of ingredients….is it cooked in with the onions?

    • Michelle

      Hi Helena, sorry about that. No matter how hard I try to proof read my work every now and then a mistake slips through. I’ve fixed it so you’re good to go. Have a great weekend!