We interrupt your regular apple and pumpkin-filled autumn foodfest with something hearty and healthful. Not that apples and pumpkins aren’t healthy, or that people ever get tired of autumn foods. Think of this as a sort of palate-cleanser, if you will. I’m just excited to share this recipe today first and foremost because it’s my first time trying quinoa!
One of the things I love about having cookery as a hobby is the chance to get to encounter all these new and interesting ingredients. Quinoa may not be something new to you, but to me it certainly is. We’re all rice-eating folk here in the Philippines, but until I began pursuing my interest in cooking and baking, I’ve never actually had any reason to try quinoa. I’ve heard of it and know that it is some sort of round grain, but that’s as far as I cared to find out about it.
And now I know that I actually like it.
I bought Heidi Swanson’s book a while back and I’ve looked through it a few times. There are a lot of gorgeous-looking recipes, and I’ve got my eye on the biscuits which I’m planning to make next. I must admit this book is quite an eye-opener for me in terms of natural ingredients and natural cooking. There are some ingredients in here that are new to me, but I figured I’d start with something more familiar.
Quinoa is like rice, only chewier and more packed/dense in a way. It’s something that you can really bite into as compared with regular rice that’s softer. I also find rice more fragrant although I really like the lovely yellow colour of quinoa.
These quinoa patties are an all-day sort of food. You can eat them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or even as a snack. You can add any sort of vegetable, cheese, or even shredded meat, as you see fit. I like to eat mine with Sriracha sauce, but I imagine a bit of balsamic vinegar could work too. The patties are savoury, and more so when eaten warm. I especially love how the browned parts of the patty become crisp to the bite.
Little Quinoa Patties
adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day | Makes about 12 little patties
For the quinoa:
2 cups (340 grams) uncooked quinoa
3 cups (700 ml) water
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
For the patties:
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup (15 grams) finely chopped fresh chives
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup (15 grams) freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese*
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup (100 grams) whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
Water, if needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
1. Cook the quinoa: Combine the uncooked quinoa with the water and sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil under medium high heat.
2. Once boiling, cover the pan and decrease the heat to medium. Simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and you can see the quinoa curlicues. You will end up with about 2 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa.
3. Make the patties: Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese and garlic.
4. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes to allow the crumbs to absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a mixture that is easy to form into patties. If the mixture is too moist, add about a tablespoon at a time of bread crumbs until desired consistency is attained. Likewise, if the mixture is too dry, add a tablespoon at a time of water until desired consistency is attained.
5. Shape the mixture into patties either with your bare hands, or with the help of a round cookie cutter. Place the cookie cutter on a clean baking sheet and scoop some of the mixture inside. Even out with a spoon and gently remove the cookie cutter. At this point, you can either continue on to cook the patties, or keep them in the fridge. The uncooked patties keep nicely in the fridge for a few days.
6. To cook the patties: Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat. Using a spatula to avoid breaking the patties, add as many patties as will fit while still leaving room between each. Cover and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned.** Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until patties are browned.
7. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second sides for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.
* I used cheddar cheese because it was what I had and it worked out perfectly.
** It’s been a million years since my non-stick pan broke, but I keep forgetting to buy a new one. I had to improvise and use my wok, thus the uneven browning on my patties. I also don’t like them super darkened so I removed them when they were browned just right and toasty.
The recipe I’ve shared above is Heidi’s basic version of these quinoa patties. She suggests a slew of other add-ins that would make this a lot more scrumptious, such as: broccoli, asparagus, or cauliflower. I’m thinking shrimp or leftover rotisserie chicken might be a nice addition as well. These make for a great on-the-go snack that’s both filling and satisfying. A fitting break from all the autumn food, wouldn’t you agree?