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Quinoa and Broad Bean Falafel with Lemon

by Alice Hart from The New Vegetarian

An incredibly light and crisp take on falafel, these tasty little bites make for an excellent summer lunch, especially when paired with the roast Tomato and Pickled Lemon Relish.

From the book


Please make these; they are incredible. They have a delightful crunch from the quinoa – I used black for the picture – and a fresh quality from the herbs. Do buy the split, dried broad beans known as fava, or you’ll spend a good 20 minutes slipping soaked beans from their brown skins. Try health food shops and anywhere selling North African food if you can’t see them in the supermarket.

The fresh, sour and salty relish contains no added sugar, so it won’t keep for very long. It is fantastic with halloumi or baked feta, or anything from the fritter/kofte family. Shades of the Middle East in the spicing lend it well to other foods from that part of the world, though it is approachable enough to lift most savoury dishes.

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For the Roast Tomato and Pickled Lemon Relish:
600g plum tomatoes, deseeded and coarsely chopped
2 preserved lemons, rind only, shredded
1 tbsp sherry vinegar
2 tbsp sundried tomato paste
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, roughly crushed
pinch of chilli flakes
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A handful of coriander leaves, chopped (optional)
For the Quinoa and Broad Bean Falafel:
300g split, dried broad (fava) beans
150g quinoa
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
½ red onion, chopped
1 plump garlic clove, chopped
1 preserved lemon, rind only, chopped
A handful each of parsley, coriander and mint leaves
A pinch of cayenne pepper
A pinch of baking powder
1 litre rapeseed oil
A handful of pea shoots or watercress
200g broad beans, lightly steamed and double podded


For the Roast Tomato and Pickled Lemon Relish:

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Combine all the ingredients except the coriander in a small roasting tin.

Bake, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until the tomatoes are soft, reduced and beginning to brown. Stir halfway through the cooking time to redistribute. Stir with a fork to break the relish down and season to taste with salt and pepper.

Cool to room temperature and leave as is, or blitz until smooth if you prefer. Stir in the coriander, if using. Transfer to a clean jar and let cool. Cover with a lid, chill and use within 1 week.

For the Quinoa and Broad Bean Falafel:

The day or night before, cover the fava beans with plenty of cold water in a bowl and leave to soak in a cool place for 10–24 hours. Drain thoroughly.

Put the quinoa in a saucepan, add 290ml of water and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Partially cover with a lid and simmer for 15 minutes, or until no liquid remains in the pan. Set aside to cool slightly.

Toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan until just fragrant. Crush roughly and add to a food processor with the fava beans, red onion, garlic, preserved lemon rind, herbs and cayenne. Blitz to make a rough, mouldable paste, stopping to scrape down the sides and mix through every now and then and adding the quinoa near the end of blitzing time. Transfer to a bowl, stir in the baking powder, season generously, cover with cling film and chill for 1 hour to make the mixture easier to shape.

Form into walnut-sized balls, scooping out spoonfuls and rolling them firmly between your palms. Wet your hands lightly if they stick at all. Have them all ready on a tray.

Put the oil in a medium saucepan and heat gently until a scrap of the falafel mixture sizzles gently when dropped into the oil.

Deep-fry in batches until golden, keeping a close watch and turning the falafel regularly so that they colour evenly. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a plate lined with kitchen paper, keeping the fried falafel warm in a low oven.

Serve with a little salad of the pea shoots or watercress and broad beans, with spoonfuls of the roast tomato and pickled lemon relish.


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From the book: The New Vegetarian

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