Quinoa Patties

When you hear about something all the time on the news, the internet, or from friends, you start to wonder if it can really live up to the hype.

Like The Jersey Shore. We have the most basic of cable at our house so I've never seen the show, but I hear about it all the time. Does that really live up to the hype around it? Judging from the "Situation Workout" I tried this morning courtesy of Hulu Plus, I'd say no. But I could be wrong. Is it just fascinating to watch? 

Or how about the deep fried Kool-Aid that is apparently the new popular food at State Fairs? Is that as good as people say it is? Or is it just different enough that people want to try it out of curiosity? If I remember right, the deep friend Snickers bars that I tried out of curiosity just tasted like a melted Snickers bar. Is deep fried Kool-Aid better?

There are all kinds of things that are bound to disappoint you when you set your expectations high based on a whole lot of hype. 

Quinoa is not one of those things. You probably have heard of it by now, and know what a great source of protein it is and how healthy it is for you. You probably have heard how much people love it and how it has such a fluffy texture and mild, nutty taste. And if you've eaten it by now, you know that is all true. Quinoa really does live up to its hype. 

I love it in salads, and I've got some of my favorites that I need to post, but I thought today I'd share a slightly different use of quinoa that I really like: quinoa patties. They're soft, flavorful, moist cakes of quinoa with delicious spices and a nice, fluffy texture. They're perfect for when you have some leftover quinoa in the fridge that you don't know what to do with. (Or maybe you happened to overcook your quinoa a little bit and it is stickier than you'd like for a salad. Perfect for that, too.) These patties are a great way to try quinoa and enjoy its versatile flavor. I think they're perfect on some greens with a little bit of sour cream, (or plain Greek yogurt if you prefer) and some tomatoes. I've eaten them both hot and cold and I prefer to have them hot, but its nice to have to cold option if your microwave at work gets a glitch and starts running anytime the door is opened and you are afraid of microwaving your hand and looking like Dumbledore in the 6th Harry Potter movie if you put anything in it. Hypothetically speaking.

Whatever the reason or the occasion, give quinoa patties a try and see what all the hype about. 

Quinoa Patties

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature*
4 large eggs, beaten
3/4 tsp kosher salt
1 small yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup crumbled queso fresco
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 1/2 cup whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
Water, if needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or clarified butter


Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the onion, queso fresco, cumin, coriander and red pepper flakes. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a mixture you can easily form into twelve 1-inch patties. I err on the very moist side because it makes for a not-overly-dry patty, but you can add more bread crumbs, a bit at a time, to firm up the mixture, if need be. Conversely, a bit more beaten egg or water can be used to moisten the mixture. (I like to keep the patties on the moist side and form them one by one in my hand using the ring for a mason jar to keep them round until placing them in the skillet.)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, add 6 patties, if they'll fit with some room between each, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until the patties are browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second sides for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Alternatively, the quinoa mixture keeps nicely in the refrigerator for a few days; you can cook patties to order, if you prefer.

Recipe source: Adapted from Heidi Swanson's Super Natural Every Day cookbook

*For instructions on how to cook quinoa on the stovetop, go here. For pressure cooker instructions, go here. I like using the pressure cooker because it is so fast, but both ways work equally well. 

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