Mexican Spiced Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs

Cauliflower and Quinoa Meatballs with Mexican Sauce

There is no meat in these Mexican Spiced Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs, in fact, they are really not named correctly at all.  I thought about calling them Cauliflower Quinoa Balls but…well, no I didn’t think that sounded right at all!  

Vegan Cauliflower Quinoa Meat-free balls in a Mexican spiced sauce

Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs seem to be a ‘thing’ on Pinterest.  I found quite a  number of different recipes which I adapted to suit my tastes and the ingredients in my fridge,  and created my own version of this popular vegan alternative to meatballs. 

I loved how crisp the outside of the Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs were,  and inside they have a lovely texture, not too soft and they break up just enough to soak up the sauce.

Mexican Spiced Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs
Serves 6
Meat free 'meatballs' with a spicy tomato sauce
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  1. 1 small cauliflower
  2. 190 g uncooked quinoa
  3. 500 ml water
  4. 100g wholemeal breadcrumbs
  5. 1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  6. 1/4 tsp salt
  7. 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
For the sauce
  1. 1 tbsp oil
  2. small onions, finely chopped
  3. 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  4. 1 green pepper, thinly sliced
  5. 2 courgettes, spiralized (optional)
  6. 1/2 tsp hot smoked paprika
  7. 1 tbsp Sriracha
  8. 1 400 g can good quality tinned tomatoes
  9. 1 tbsp roughly chopped coriander leaves
To make the meatballs
  1. Soak the quinoa overnight, then rinse until the water is clear
  2. Put the quinoa into a pan with 500 ml of water and cook for about 10-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed.
  3. Cook the cauliflower florets in a little water for 5 minutes until tender.
  4. Place the breadcrumbs, smoked paprika, salt, pepper, cauliflower and quinoa into the ThermoCook or other blender and pulse for 10 seconds until combined, tip into a bowl and set aside in the fridge to cool.
While the meatbals are cooling, make the sauce
  1. Heat the oil to a medium heat in a large frying pan or saute pan add the onion.
  2. Cook gently until the onion softens, add the garlic, spiralized courgette (if using) and green pepper and cook for another couple of minutes, then add the hot smoked paprika, tomatoes and Sriracha.
  3. Cook for a further 10 minutes and check the seasoning adding salt and pepper or more Sriracha to taste.
  4. Finally add the chopped coriander leaves.
  5. Once cool, make the cauliflower & quinoa mixture into golf ball sized balls with your hands.
  6. Replace in the fridge for a few hours to firm up
  7. Heat the oven to 180C
  8. Fill a roasting tin to 1/2 cm with rapeseed or vegetable oil and place in the oven for 10 minutes until smoking hot
  9. Add the 'meat' balls to the hot oil and roast in the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden brown*
  10. Serve the the sauce and top with the crispy meatballs and garnish with coriander leaves.
  1. *At this point you can remove the meatballs and reheat on a dry oven tray. if you wish to serve them later
Farmersgirl Kitchen
MAKE YOUR OWN VARIATIONS:  I included the spiralized courgette (zucchini) in my sauce because I had some in the fridge I needed to use, however I do think it makes the dish look like spaghetti and meatballs and this got me thinking that this would be a great variation.  

You could get really creative with this dish adding different herbs and spices to the Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs. I think the mixture would be great with some cheese added and served with a tomato sauce or eaten like arancini.  

I used my Optimum ThermoCook to blitz the breadcrumbs, cauliflower and quinoa to bring together the ingredients into a meatball mix.  If you are using a less powerful blender I would suggest mixing in two batches.

I’m an Optimum ThermoCook Ambassador so thought I’d tell you a little about what you get when you buy this powerful multi-function cooking machine:


  • 30 Day Money Back Guarantee – Includes Return Postage!
  • 0 Litre detachable stainless steel jar for blending and cooking
  • Butterfly and kneading blade
  • Stainless steel blade assembly
  • Large 70 x 50 mm LCD screen
  • Separate Precise Glass Scale
  • Soft silicon rubber spatula
  • Simple pre-set auto programs and unique DIY program
  • Adjustable timer and temperature gauge
  • Dishwasher proof (non-electrical parts only)
  • Comprehensive recipe book

Here are some of my ThermoCook recipes:

Themocook Mushroom Stroganoff SoupMushroom Stroganoff Soup






Chocolate Coconut Mango Mousse Ice LolliesChocolate Coconut Mango Mousse Ice lollies 







Rhubarb and Orange Fool DessertRhubarb and Orange Fool 








A vegan sandwich spread which is easy to make in a power blender.Chilli & Tofu Sandwich Spread 








Why not check out the Froothie blog ?  You’ll find some great recipes shared by Froothie Ambassadors and see just how versatile and exciting Froothie products can be. 

Mexican Spiced Cauliflower Quinoa Meatballs

Disclosure: Froothie UK sent me the Optimum ThermoCook to use and review at home. I have not been paid for this post and was not required to give the ThermoCook a positive write up.  All opinions are my own.  Affiliate links included in this post.

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whatever the name, we love your balls Janice!! They look divine and definitely a keeper for the viking x


These “meatballs” look seriously tasty Janice and I’m intrigued by the Thermocook!

Jemma Andrew-Adiamah

Cauliflower is such a versatile vegetable and I’m always interested in finding new ways to use it. This looks delicious!


Like Dom, I love your balls too! Great idea and love the sauce too!! Loads of sharing on this beaut!


Ooh your balls look fabulous Janice. Would never have thought of using these ingredients together. The name for vegetarian meatballs is a really tricky one. I remember Sophie Grigson making some on a TV serious about 17 years ago (eek) and she called them no-meat balls.


Wow these really do look like real meaty meatballs! Will definitely have to try your recipe!