Thursday, July 18, 2013

Italian-style Quinoa Cakes

I have been falling in love with quinoa lately. It is such a power-house of nutrition and yet is so versatile. It also cooks quite fast. So when some friends and I were meeting at a beautiful historic home nearby for a garden party, I had planned to make arancini (rice balls), but I had not realized until it was too late that these are actually from leftover risotto. So from lack of pre-planning, I was forced to make some last minute changes and found these quinoa patties from I decided to go with an Italian theme and play off the parmesan cheese. All in all, I was really pleased how well they turned out. It took a little practice to find the right consistency but don't worry too much about it since the parmesan actually helps makes a nice crust as it cooks. I almost thought the patties were a little easier to cook when they were a little more moist. As always, feel free to leave out any seasonings or ingredients and add in some you really like, instead. I really loved the way the patties took on a roasted tomato and basil flavor and the parmesan added a nice subtle flavor.

Makes approximately 24 cakes
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 2 Tbsp chopped dried onion (may use 1 finely chopped onion)
  • 1/2- 1 tsp lemon pepper seasoning blend
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1/2 tsp Italian seasoning, crushed in palm of hand
  • 1/3 cup fresh chives, chopped
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped grape/cherry tomatoes
  • 6-8 large basil leaves, chopped
  • 1/3 cup fresh parmesan cheese, shredded
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup whole grain bread crumbs, more if needed
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • Cook quinoa as directed- bring broth to a boil and add in the quinoa, onion and lemon pepper seasoning. Stir well and cover. Allow to cook approximately 15 minutes, or until all the quinoa seeds are opened and soft. Stir and allow to cool somewhat.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the remaining ingredients and stir together.
  • Mix in the partially cooled quinoa.
  • If it is too wet, add in more bread crumbs gradually. If it is too dry, add in water, tablespoon at a time. Allow to stand for a few minutes.
  • Form mixture into patties 1 inch thick and shallow fry over medium heat about 3-5 minutes each side (until medium golden brown). (I found it was easiest to make a ball and then place in the hot frying pan and flatten gently with the back of a spoon, then use the spoon to firm the patty's edges.) 

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