These Buffalo Quinoa balls are a great vegan option to get that hot sauce fix without any meat. They’re perfect for game day, parties or anytime you want a little kick!
I love anything spicy. I try to hold back from making too many spicy recipes but I can’t help myself sometimes. Some of my favorite recipes include a bit of heat like my Vegan Buffalo Chicken Rice Skillet and my Spicy Sesame Noodles (trust me, they’re good).
Hot sauce has been a staple of mine since my undergraduate days. My roommate Alana was from Buffalo and Buffalonians always had some hot sauce around to throw on just about anything. Alana got me into that habit and now I carry around a small hot sauce in my purse just in case (don’t judge).
My friend Kevin shares my love of Buffalo sauce and I wanted to make a vegan version of the sauce for Kevin who has been partaking in some of my plant-based recipes lately. I really enjoy seeing people add vegan meals to their diet so I wanted to create a special treat for him that would give him a taste of Buffalo wings without any meat so I came up with these Buffalo Quinoa Balls.
Buffalo Quinoa Balls
I’ve seen other bloggers use quinoa in burgers and I thought it might work in sort of a meatball shape as well and I’m happy to say it did! These Buffalo Quinoa Balls are versatile – I’ve had them as an appetizer, on salads, and as part of my main meals. The quinoa adds protein, carbs, fiber, and iron.
I first fry the balls then bake them – the frying seems to help the balls stay together better since I’m not using egg as a binder. I also put the balls in the freezer for about 10 minutes before frying as well which keeps them in better ball form.
Add a Side of Ranch
I was never a big fan of blue cheese but I have always loved me some ranch so the dipping sauce is my take on a healthy ranch dressing using cashews. The cashews add protein as well as magnesium (which many people in the US are deficient in).
Buffalo Quinoa Balls with Ranch Dipping Sauce
These Buffalo Quinoa balls are a great vegan option to get that hot sauce fix without any meat!
- 1.5 C cooked quinoa , cooled
- 15 oz can of cannellini beans , drained and rinsed
- 1 flax egg (1 TB flax meal & 3 TB water - let sit 10 mins before using)
- 4 TB buffalo sauce (see below)
- 1/2 cup gluten free bread crumbs (can use regular if not gluten free)
- 1 TB nutritional yeast
- 1/2 tsp pepper
- 1/2 tsp onion powder
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- pinch of salt
- olive or coconut oil for frying
Add all of the sauce ingredient in a small saucepan and heat until butter is melted and set aside.
Add beans to food processor and mix until smooth (you may need to add a tablespoon of water to get it smooth). If you do not have a food processor, you can mash them with your hands but the texture will be a little less smooth.
In a large bowl, combine the bean mixture, flax egg and 3 TB of sauce. Then add cooled quinoa, bread crumbs, nutritional yeast, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder and salt.
Take quinoa mixture and form into about 1" balls (sometimes mine get a little larger).
Put balls in freezer for 10 mins (optional but makes them stay together better).
Heat oven to 350 degrees.
Heat 2-3 TB of oil (depending on how large you pan is) and fry quinoa balls for about 5 minutes flipping so that all sides get cooked. I usually do this in 2-3 batches.
Place balls on cookie pan and bake for 15 mins.
While balls are baking, make the ranch dipping sauce by adding all the ingredients to a high-speed blender and mix until smooth.
When balls are done baking, you can coat them in the rest of buffalo sauce. Or what I like to do is keep them a bit more crunchy and only put the sauce on each ball right before I eat each one.
Serve with dipping sauce on the side.
*I have made the buffalo ball mixture the night before and they come out the exact same way. I recommend this if you're busy - this way you can just fry and bake them the day you're having them.
*Ranch dipping sauce will be good in the fridge for up to 5 days so I pre-make this as well.
* Nutrition info does not include ranch dipping sauce.
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Mary Ellen Valverde MS, CNS, LDN is a licensed nutritionist and Certified Nutrition Specialist helping clients regain their energy, confidence and health through a plant-based diet. She received her master’s degree in nutrition from the University of Bridgeport and completed her nutrition residency at the functional medicine clinic of Dr. Kara Fitzgerald.