As the nights get darker and the weather starts to cool off, I'm drawn to making food that's hearty, filling and delicious. I also want something that can be kept in the fridge or freezer, eaten as a snack or as part of a meal. Asking too much? Not with these cauliflower and quinoa bites.
These bites are simple, delicious and perfect on their own, with a salad or even work well as vegetarian 'meatballs' with pasta.
Preparation Time: 15 minutes (ideally plus 30 minutes in the fridge)
Cooking Time: 20 minutes
Serves: makes 12 balls
Ingredients 1/2 head of cauliflower
1 clove garlic
250g sachet of brown rice and quinoa mix (see photo for the one I used. Any would work or you could cook your own if preferred)
1tbsp sweet paprika
1tsp chilli flakes (or to taste)
1cup breadcrumbs plus extra for coating
2tsp vegetable stock powder (or salt to taste)
170g fat free plain yoghurt
12 small cubes of cheddar cheese (approximately 1cm square)
Vegetable oil for shallow frying
Preheat oven to 200 degrees celsius.
Cut cauliflower into small florets, drizzle with oil and place in oven for 15 minutes or until just brown.
NOTE you can boil the cauliflower until just tender if preferred - if so drain well.
Set aside to cool.
Crush or finely dice garlic clove.
Place rice and quinoa mix, breadcrumbs, yoghurt, garlic and spices in a large mixing bowl.
Add cooled cauliflower and using stick blender, blend ingredients together until the mixture resembles lumpy hummus (a food processor would do the same job).
With damp hands, check consistency of mixture. It should easily form a moist ball in your hand without sticking to you. If it's too dry add a small amount of water, if it's too wet add more breadcrumbs until you reach the desired consistency.
Using damp hands, press approximately a tablespoon of mixture into your palm. Make a small indent and push a piece of cheddar into the centre. Push sides together and add another tablespoon of mixture to completely cover the cube of cheese. Form ball and set aside. Repeat with remaining mixture.
This mixture is best if allowed at least half an hour in the fridge but will still work if you don't have the time - just make sure the bites are nice and firm before shallow frying.
Add enough oil to a frying pan to cover the bottom of the pan and come about 3mm up the sides of the bites. Heat the oil over medium to high heat.
Remove from fridge, dip each bite in milk then roll in breadcrumbs. Repeat for all bites.
Shallow fry bites until golden brown - turning regularly. This will need to be done in batches as to not overload the pan.
Remove from oil and place on a plate covered in paper towel to drain.
Serve as an entree, finger food, on pasta as meatballs. The possibilities are endless.