A couple of weeks ago, I trumpeted the virtues of farro and mocked quinoa. These grains transcend mere carbohydrate status and thrust themselves into the superfood strata thanks to their protein content.
A cooked cup of either comes in at about 160-170 calories and offers 6-7 grams of protein. Quinoa also offers 12 percent of your daily recommended iron intake. Cooked with veggies and broth, either one makes for a decent main or side dish.
I ran across a recipe for a quinoa burger that intrigued me, but the ingredient list left me at bay. I ended up adjusting the recipe for selfish reasons. Cottage cheese? The sight of it makes me heave. (Just typing the phrase makes me nauseous.) Forget about touching or smelling it. I also cut out the sugar and one of the three eggs, you know, for health reasons. I ended up adding some mustard and some other spices to enhance the flavor.
The end result? They were good, though my allergies have nuked my taste buds. The Wife raved, so I’ll take that as a plus. Texturewise, these came out more like a latke, which I guess is to be expected since they are pan fried. That said, it was a nice surprise: a protein-rich, vegetarian meal that didn’t feel like one.
Adapted from Eating Well…Living Thin
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa (golden or red…I used a blend)
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or other variety, if you prefer)
- 1 tbsp. coarse-ground dijon mustard
- 1 medium carrot, finely grated (OR 1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed dry)
- 2 eggs
- 1 tbsp. half and half (light cream is fine, as is milk)
- 1 tsp. garlic, minced
- 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
- 2 green onions, including white parts
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- 1 tsp. cajun, creole or Greek seasoning
- Olive oil for frying
Add the water, broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a sauce pan and bring to a boil over high heat. Add quinoa, reduce heat to low and cover. Cook until water is absorbed and seeds are tender (approx. 18-20 minutes).
In the meantime, combine the cheddar cheese, carrot, onions, flour, garlic, pepper and dijon mustard in a bowl. In a separate bowl, lightly beat your eggs and half-and-half together. Add to the rest of the ingredients and fold gently to coat all of the ingredients. Let stand to set.
When the quinoa is done, uncover and let stand at room temperature for five minutes to cool. Transfer quinoa to the other ingredients and fold to mix thoroughtly
Heat a large skillet over high heat until it is too hot to hold your hand over. Add 1-2 tbsp. of olive oil and heat. Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup (I used a 1/3 cup), scoop and drop the quinoa mixture into the pan. Fry 4-5 minutes each side, then remove.
This recipe will make approximately 10 1/4-cup burgers or 8 1/3-cup burgers.