Quinoa Harissa Meatless Meatballs

Harissa is a North African condiment, made with hot chiles, garlic, olive oil, and an array of warm, aromatic spices. It infuses these meatless meatballs with a wonderful, intense flavor. The turmeric broth is fragrant, warm, and comforting, with earthy, slightly gingery flavors. In this recipe, it’s the vital wheat gluten that gives a meaty consistency, and helps the meatballs keep their shape.

Prep time: 1 hour (includes refrigeration time)

Cook time: 1 hour 30 minutes

Makes 6 servings



Cooking spray

2⁄3 cup cooked quinoa

1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1⁄3 cup vital wheat gluten

1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped

3 tablespoons harissa

2 tablespoons all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

1 teaspoon aniseeds

1 teaspoon ground coriander

1 teaspoon paprika

½ teaspoon salt


3 medium-size Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 8 pieces each

14 ounces frozen artichoke hearts, thawed, or use jarred or canned, well drained

1¼ teaspoons salt

1 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1⁄ 3 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

½ cup chopped fresh parsley (optional)


Prepare the meatballs: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Generously coat a 12-well mini muffin tin with cooking spray. Place the cooked quinoa in a large bowl and set aside. Combine the walnuts, gluten, cilantro, garlic, harissa, flour, olive oil, aniseeds, coriander, paprika, and salt in a food processor and pulse until well combined. Add the mixture to the cooked quinoa and mix well, using your hands, to form a dough (note that it will be sticky; if it’s too hard to handle, flour your hands lightly). Working with approximately 1½ tablespoons of dough at a time, form twelve balls and place them in the prepared muffin tin (we like using a small ice-cream scoop, so they’re all equal in size). Bake for 45 minutes, or until the meatballs are firm.

Prepare the broth: Bring 4 cups of water to a boil in a large, deep skillet with a lid over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes, artichokes, salt, turmeric, and pepper. Cover and cook for 20 minutes, until the potatoes and artichokes are tender. Lower the heat to low and add the lemon juice, parsley, and meatballs. Cover and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve warm with Lebanese White Rice with Vermicelli.


The meatball mixture can be prepared one to two days ahead, and kept covered in the refrigerator until it’s ready to be used. It also makes a great veggie burger; just make larger patties!

Excerpted from Tahini & Turmeric: 101 Middle Eastern Classics—Made Irresistibly Vegan by Vicky Cohen and Ruth Fox. Copyright ©2018. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc.

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Quinoa Harissa Meatless Meatballs

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