I can guarantee there is almost always a bag of quinoa in our freezer . . . which has been there for about 6 months. Despite how good this pseudocereal is for us, I have had a hard time incorporating it into our regular meal rotation. Rice seems to have earned squatter’s rights on our plates and it hasn’t budged.
On the occasions that I have gone against the (rice) grain, two types of quinoa preparations have proven successful – salads and croquettes. My two favorite salads are Double Broccoli Quinoa and Quinoa and Black Bean Salad – both are particularly good for potlucks and cook-outs. My first foray into quinoa was Deborah Madison’s Spicy Quinoa and Potato Croquettes, which are particularly tasty topped with Moroccan Chermoula. The quinoa burgers I found on Pinterest are along the same lines as the croquettes without the potatoes. They are much like what I imagine turkey or chicken burgers to be – delicate and subtle with a pleasant grainy texture. Unfortunately, I had the bright idea to douse mine with sweet-spicy barbeque sauce and vinegary slaw. The quinoa burger didn’t have a chance under all those pungent tastes. I tried again the next day. This time, I dolloped a bit of horseradish mayonnaise on top, which was perfect.
Move over rice. Voilà, it’s quinoa!
adapted from Eating Well Living Thinner
scant 3 cups cooked quinoa (see below for cooking instructions)
3/4 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese (or other variety, if you prefer)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 medium carrot, finely grated (I think you could easily add 2 carrots.)
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 green onions, chopped, including white parts
2 tablespoons cilantro, chopped
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic pepper
Olive oil for pan frying
In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, cilantro, pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic pepper.
Heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. My mixture had the consistency of thick pancake batter so I used a 1/2 cup measure to dip out a scant 1/2 cup for each patty. Three patties fit in the frying pan at a time. Cover and let fry undisturbed for 5 minutes. Once the edges look dry and there are some bubbles on the surface, turn up the heat to medium high for a few minutes to brown the patty. Flip and fry the other sides on medium high for 3-4 minutes. The patties should be firm to the touch. Repeat procedure with the rest of the mixture until it is all used up.
Serve on a bun with burger fixings of your choice. The flavor is somewhat delicate, so mild condiments work best here.
You could easily freeze the leftovers and reheat the patties in a 350 oven for about 8-10 minutes.
To cook quinoa:
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
Put quinoa in a mesh strainer and rinse with warm water for a few minutes. This helps remove any residual bitter tasting saponin. In a medium saucepan bring the 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat. Add quinoa and reduce heat to low. Cover and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and the seeds are tender. Allow to cool for a few minutes.
Me: A (based on the second time I ate one with horseradish mayonnaise)
Alia: B (With a little prodding, she ate all the burger and left the bun.