As you may well know, I have been a vegetarian since (approximately) March 2014. It feels like a lot longer, but I guess just about 3 years now!
It was initially a household decision, my husband and I both wanted to make the change to vegetarians. We started with a slow transition, participating in Meatless Mondays and then moving to multiple meatless days a week, then full blown vegetarian status.
We discovered pretty early on that my husband was too picky of an eater and didn’t like a wide enough variety of foods to make it. Man cannot sustain on cheese alone, after all. And if you know him, what would he eat if there was no buffalo chicken sandwiches/tenders/wings/etc. ?! But, he is a magnificent part-time vegetarian!
I have always enjoyed cooking and trying new recipes, and that became even more important when I cut out meat. I had to introduce a lot more variety so that I wouldn’t get bored, I could get everything I needed from my food, and also eat healthy. Sure, pizza and mozzarella sticks and French fries are vegetarian…. but I’m not blessed with the type of metabolism that allows for those sorts of things on the regular!
I have never really been interested in fake meat products, like veggie hotdogs and sausages and things like that. Coincidentally, I also have a soy allergy so a huge portion of those things are a definite no for me anyway. BUT I did get tired of just eating plain veggies or beans on stuff, and wanted a way to transform some of my food staples. Thanks to Pinterest, I discovered meatless meatballs. I pinned about a million recipes but I never actually tried them. Hence, this one got prime time real estate at number two on my resolution list.
In order to get my husband on board, I went with a buffalo sauce variety – Buffalo Cauliflower Quinoa Balls.
Apparently this is the only photo I took of them, in the greasy pan looking not as good as they actually were, but such is life.
In all honesty, these were a little time consuming (as I find most good cauliflower recipes) and pretty messy to make… HOWEVER… totally worth it. They were AWESOME. I made a ton of them, and they were just as good leftover. They were also picky-eater-part-time-vegetarian-husband approved!
Lessons learned here:
- Probably not a bad idea to prep your cauliflower ahead of time if you’re a planner. Go ahead and get it washed and cut up into small florets ahead of time, then that saves you some time and mess in the moment
- These little dudes were crumbly (read: fragile while rotating in the pan) – Next time I will probably change the recipes a bit. I added half of the buffalo sauce to the batter and reserved the other half to drizzle on top of the balls when they were in the skillet. I think I’ll add all of the sauce, and just drizzle some Texas Pete’s on top. Or double the sauce. We shall see.
- Pretty sure buffalo everything is good
- Take better pictures of my deliciousness in the future
Buffalo Cauliflower Quinoa Balls
1 cup uncooked white quinoa
2 cups water
1 large head cauliflower
4 cloves garlic
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/2 cup your favorite hot sauce (we’re a Texas Pete’s household)
1/4 cup Earth Balance buttery spread (or whatever butter or butter substitute you choose to use!)
2 tsp garlic powder
- Preheat the oven to 375°
- Wash and chop your cauliflower into florets.
- Bring the water and quinoa to a boil over the stovetop, then turn down to a simmer until the quinoa is cooked, about 10-ish minutes, until water is gone. Remove from heat and set aside.
- While the quinoa is cooking, bring another pot of water to a boil to cook the cauliflower until tender, about 10 minutes – Drain the water.
- Go ahead and whip up the sauce while the quinoa and cauliflower are cooking. Just melt the butter, then stir in the hot sauce, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Set aside.
- Put the garlic and the cauliflower in the food processor until finely chunked. (Do this in halves if you have a small food processor like me!)
- Put the pulsed cauliflower in a large mixing bowl and add the cooked quinoa, breadcrumbs, and sauce. Stir to mix, if you feel you need it (and I suspect you will), add the flour 1 tablespoon at a time to get the right consistency. You want the balls to hold together without crumbling then place in the refrigerator for about 15-20 minutes.
- Form the mixture into balls – I used a cookie scoop, but your hands will do just fine. Roughly golf ball size is the goal.
- Heat your large skillet to medium-high heat and add some olive oil. Cook the balls in the olive oil, turning to brown them on all sides (careful, they may be a little fragile!)
- Drizzle with buffalo sauce.
- Place on a cookie sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.