Dandelion Green Quinoa Risotto with Raw Hemp Falafel and Maple Paprika Caramelized Sweet Potatoes (Vegan, Gluten Free)
Early morning light. A cup of coffee. Slipping a piece of toast in the toaster. A tiny line of smoke lifts up and up from some crumbs lit up. I follow a line of ants that's found its way into the kitchen. This rental house isn't sealed well. The ants find their way in through the tiniest holes along windows. Every year I can mark the time when seeds start to germinate and sprout up in the ground by the arrival of the ants. After the azaleas have exploded in swirling, buoyant, cotton candy pinks and lavenders and whites, after the dandelions have sent their seeds on the wind, after the first hot day: the ants come together and decide that it's time to find the honey jars and bread crumbs of the world.
My house must seem to be a city of dreams to an ant. Do ants dream of sugar crystals? Of new worlds in the shape of new windows to climb through? Do they map out the yard like a country to conquer? Does the open maple syrup bottle speak a tale of defiant glory and immanent death?
I almost feel bad fighting against their presence. They've worked a lot harder to get in and walk on my soapstone counters than I have for most anything. They're probably reveling at last! at last! My kitchen is their promised land. But a woman can't have ants, you know. It's just not done.
So I spray them down and wipe them away.
I'm sure I'll come back as an ant in my next life.
Just kidding I'll probably come back as the sexy sidekick to a real life Batman.
Or Julia Child, the next generation. A girl can dream.
I don't usually make my meals so multi-faceted. Give me a bowl of greens and beans any day, maybe with some ghee-slathered toast on the side, and I'm a happy woman. But every once in a while my brain lights up with a big idea and something like raw hemp falafel happens. And then all I can think about is emerald colored foods with a better-for-you spin. Thus, quinoa risotto. And of course you need something sweet to round out all of these greens. Sweet potatoes it is!
Early spring dandelion greens are mildly bitter. If you're an olive lover and appreciate grape leaves and tannic red wines I can guarantee dandelion greens will be gracing your table frequently after you try this quinoa risotto.
To serve, put it all together! I like to top the Dandelion Green Quinoa Risotto with more fresh greens, maple paprika sweet potato rounds, avocado slices, chive blossoms, and a sprinkle of hulled sesame seeds -- with the hemp falafel on the side!
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp hemp hearts
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp sunflower seeds, raw or roasted & unsalted
- 1 slice of gluten free bread, crumbled (optional if you want 100% raw, but it does help with the overall texture!)
- 1/4 cup tahini
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- handful parsley
- 1/8 cup fresh lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin, ground in a mortar
- pinch black pepper, ground
- *sesame seeds, to garnish
- Add all of the ingredients to the bowl of a high powered blender: hemp hearts, sunflower seeds, bread (optional), tahini, olive oil, sea salt, parsley, lemon juice, cumin, and black pepper. Pulse to combine, then blend on high power until your mixture melds together. You might need to stop the blender occasionally and scrape down the sides, then continue blending.
- Once the mixture is well mixed and pliable, like a malleable dough, remove from the blender and form into a round ball.
- Pinch of golf ball sized amounts from the large dough ball and shape into rounds. Set the balls onto parchment paper. Top with sesame seeds.
- Eat immediately or store in a glass container in the fridge for later snacking.
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2.5 cups water or unsalted vegetable stock
- 1 tablespoon ghee or coconut oil
- 1 small shallot, minced
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast (optional)
- 1/8 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon maple syrup
- coarse Celtic sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1 cup fresh picked young dandelion greens, washed thoroughly
- 1 cup young spinach leaves
- In a sauce pot cook the quinoa in water (or veggie stock) on medium high heat, partly covered, for 25-30 minutes -- or until the water has mostly cooked completely off. Stir occasionally.
- Once the water has evaporated off, remove from heat and add the ghee, shallot, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, and maple syrup. Stir everything together to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste.
- Just before serving add the dandelion greens and spinach to the hot quinoa. The heat will wilt the greens perfectly. Serve warm.
- about 2 lbs sweet potatoes (I used 2 medium sized sweet potatoes), peeled & sliced into 1/4"-1/2" thick rounds
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Celtic sea salt
- 1 tablespoon smoked paprika
- 2 teaspoons maple syrup
- Preheat the oven to 375F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweet potato rounds with the olive oil and sea salt.
- Spread the sweet potatoes out on the parchment lined baking sheet as best you can so that they're not overlapping.
- Bake for 25 minutes. While the sweet potatoes are baking, combine the maple syrup and smoked paprika in a small ramekin or cup.
- Remove the sweet potatoes from the oven and drizzle the paprika-maple mixture over tip, tossing the hot sweet potatoes with a wooden spoon.
- Bake 8-10 minutes more, until the sweet potatoes begin to caramelize -- some might blacken and crisp up. You might want to hoard those bits to yourself because they're the best bites!
- Remove from the oven and let cool 10 minutes before serving.