Monday, October 1, 2012

Lemon, Olive, Parsley Quinoa Cakes

I’ve wanted to share this recipe for months. Months. That’s how fast time has been flying. It gets away from me all the time. Get back here, time. Right this instant. This meal has become a staple at our house. Here are the top five reasons you should hurry to your kitchen and whip some up:

1. They’re delicious. Duh.
2. Quinoa...whole grain, protein.
3. Green olives. The kind you use in Martinis. Kalamata are also a good pick.
4. They look pretty.
5. Excellent leftovers.
6. Bonus: vegetarian.

Don’t let the semi-involved instructions deter you. On the surface, it might seem time consuming, but forming and shaping little patties in your hands is sort of meditative. Sometimes I break the recipe into three steps: cook the quinoa up to a day ahead; prepare the patty mixture and refrigerate up to 24 hours; shape the mixture into disks and pan fry.

These are wonderful served warm on a bed of fresh baby spinach. I’ve had success spooning over either a mustardy vinaigrette or homemade basil pesto - both are amazing with these quinoa cakes.

I also like them cold. The one tip I have is to make your mixture moist enough before cooking. There is a fine line between a moist and tender texture and hockey pucks.  You want to strike a nice balance between patties that are wet enough to stick together and keep their shape and those that fall apart when you put them in the pan. 

Lemon, Olive, Parsley Quinoa Cakes
Adapted from Super Natural Every Day

3c cooked quinoa
4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2c grated parmesan
1/3c coarsely chopped green olives
1/3c chopped parsley
1T lemon zest
3/4c bread crumbs
1/2t salt
1/2t pepper or red pepper flakes
1-2T water
2T olive oil

In a large bowl, toss together onion, garlic, cheese, olives, parsley, lemon zest, bread crumbs, salt and pepper, and cooled quinoa.

Add beaten eggs and stir until all of quinoa is moistened. If necessary, add more water, 1T at a time, to thoroughly moisten mixture. Err on the side of wet because the quinoa dries out during cooking.

Scoop mix by 2 tablespoons. Use clean, moist fingers to form into a patty.

Cook 4-5 minutes each side in hot olive oil. Brown and remove to a paper towel lined plate. Serve warm or cold.

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