Voilà Quinoa

Quinoa Burgers

Quinoa is the darling of the health food world. It offers one-stop nutrition with its complete protein, loads of fiber, phosphorus (!), magnesium and iron. According to Wikipedia, quinoa is being considered for consumption on long space flights because of its high nutritional value. And, you can even wash clothes with the saponin that coats quinoa.

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!

Quinoa Burgers

makes 10-12

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 eggs

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)

Scott:  A

Luca:  B

Alia:  B (With a little prodding, she ate all the burger and left the bun.