I've been intrigued with homemade veggie burgers lately. Unfortunately, none of the ingredients made my heart skip a beat. Then, right before we left for Montana, I was thumbing through one of my Whole Living Magazines when I came across something spectacular and borderline holy. Quinoa patties. One look at the ingredients and I knew I needed to make them a part of my life. I’m so glad I did!
For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah), let me tell you a little something about this super versatile food. Quinoa is an amino acid-rich seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. In fact, it’s the only “grain” that is a perfect protein, meaning it contains all the essential amino acids found in animal protein. This fact makes it an ideal protein for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa is amazing for you!! Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. Believe it or not, it was once considered "the gold of the Incas." Don’t you love when you learn something new?
When preparing quinoa, I always like to remind clients to wash it first. This removes the soapy looking saponins that coats quinoa seeds. The easiest way to do this is by running cold water over the quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer, gently rubbing the seeds together with your hands. This will help remove the bitter taste too.
Now that you have your PHD in quinoa, let’s move on to the recipe. You can make this recipe gluten free by substituting crushed almonds or oat flour for the bread crumbs.
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature
4 large eggs, beaten (organic and local if possible!! The animals are treated so much kinder than factory egg farms)
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
1 onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup whole-grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let stand for a few minutes. Form mixture into twelve 1-inch thick patties. (Add more breadcrumbs if the mixture is too wet; add water if too dry.) Mixture can be kept covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Working in batches, add patties, cover, and cook until bottoms are deeply browned, about 7 to 10 minutes. Increase heat to medium if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until patties are browned. Flip patties with a spatula and cook the second sides until golden, about 7 minutes. Remove from skillet and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with remaining patties
Everyone in the family loved these. My husband had this to say, “I’d rather have this than a burger.” Score!
We made them into “burgers” with some ezekial buns, onion, romaine and a little pineapple-cilantro mustard. I was also thinking about doing a greek style quinoa burger with cucumbers and homemade tzatziki sauce. The possibilities are endless.