It’s Meat Free Monday and today we are making something unique! I made something bold and different today. It’s out of the traditional, it’s unique but it’s absolutely delicious. Let me introduce you to Cauliflower ad Quinoa Meatballs. I am having a break with the traditional meatballs and decided to try something new. I know meatballs without meat is not a meatballs, but from time to time something new is good. It is just like a Cauliflower Fried Rice should not be called as such because it doesn’t have rice. But just for the sake of discussion, I’ll refer to it as meatballs just like how other people call it. Let’s just think that the meat part we are referring is the meat substitute which is the cauliflower. Ok, now that we have that settled let’s take a closer look why you should try to make this recipe.
Every week, I research and look for unique recipes that I can make during the weekends. Unique for me means something that’s out of the traditional (like a meat dish without a meat), something interesting but something that is appetizing and delicious. For a while now, I’ve been giving cauliflower and quinoa some special treatment, and other stuff too like tofu and paneer. I’ve seen quite a lot of interesting recipes using these two I thought I’d give it a try. I love meatballs, I used to buy bag of meatballs from IKEA and I used it in so many ways. I used it for pasta, as mix in for stir fry veggies or I just have it on its own. They are my go to when I’m in a hurry and too busy to prepare something. This is why I like this recipe, It’s quite interesting and unique and budget friendly too. A perfect way to use my quinoa at home, and serve something different for my friends.
Bake it or deep fry it, the choice is yours
I baked the meatballs instead of frying it, but feel free to fry it if that is your preference. My preference is always to bake it whenever possible because I don’t like using too much oil in my food. If you decide to fry it, make sure that the meatballs are completely submerged in the oil so that it gets an even cooking, and make sure that the oil is completely heated before putting the meatballs, last but not the least, do not over crowd the pan. One good advantage of frying over baking is that the meatballs will have a crunchy shell while the inside is soft and moist. I tried it when I did the taste test for 1 piece and it’s really good. But then again, it’s all about preference so I leave the choice to you.
Test fry one piece before cooking the entire batch
This is not going to require a lot of time, so I suggest that you at least fry 1 piece before cooking the entire batch. Test frying it will give you the chance to taste and adjust the seasoning to your preference. Like what I always remind myself, better be safe than sorry.
This meatballs can be made ahead of time and kept frozen. Bake or fry the meatballs and have it completely cooled. Store in ziplock bag and put into a covered container for extra layer of protection. This can be kept frozen for at least 1 month, that’s the most that I had tried. When ready to use, thaw in the refrigerator overnight and bake at 350F for 15 minutes.
- 1 1/4 cup cauliflower rice (You can use pre-packaged rice cauliflower)
- 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, cold (about 1/3 cup uncooked)
- 2 tbsp cup fresh chopped cilantro or parsley
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tbsp olive oil (and more for spraying the meatballs)
- 1/2 – 3/4 tsp salt (adjust as needed)
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- 3/4 tsp chili flakes (adjust as needed)
- 1/8 tsp black pepper
- 2 tbsp fresh jalapeno – chopped
- half small white onion – chopped
- 2 cloves garlic – minced
- 3 tbsp cilantro – chopped
- Cook quinoa as per package instruction. Set aside to cool.
- Cut cauliflower into small pieces and transfer in a food processor along with the cooked quinoa. Process for 5 minutes until fine in texture and it starts to come together when you clump it in your hand. Transfer into a bowl and let cool. It is very important that the cauliflower is chopped into very small pieces so that it holds well together. Bigger chunks of cauliflower could make the meatballs loose and loose means it could break apart.
- In a heated pan, add olive oil, garlic, onion and jalapeno. Saute for 2 minutes or until fragrant and onion is translucent.
- Add in the cauliflower mixture, then add chopped cilantro, salt, peppers, panko breadcrumbs and egg. Mix until fully combined.
- Cover and set aside in the fridge for 1 hour or overnight. The mixture can be kept in the refrigerator for 1-2 days.
- Divide into 12 pieces and shape each piece into a golf ball size. I use small ice cream scooper to do this. You can portion it according to your preference.
- Pre-heat the oven to 400F.
- Spray each “meat” balls with olive oil and arrange in a baking sheet.
- Bake for 30 – 40 minutes or until the outside turns brown.
Makes 12 pieces
If you are wondering how I made the Beets and Carrots Rice in the photo, I just mixed the Beets and Carrot Salad with rice, as simple as that!
There you go! Another meatless recipe for you to try.
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