Friday, April 15, 2011

I've never made quinoa before.  I've never really craved it, either.  I hadn't given much thought at all to quinoa until my friend Tara wrote about a recipe she found in Heidi Swanson's new cookbook.  Tara's lovely description and beautiful photos had me daydreaming of the little grain for days.  A perfect little patty, something like a latke, but lighter and less potato-y.  Cooked quinoa mixed with beaten eggs and breadcrumbs, onion, garlic and a hearty whack of fresh chives.  As Tara suggests, a hit of heat from chili flakes is a welcome addition, too.  But really, you could go any number of ways with this recipe.

Tara topped hers with a perfect poached egg and some sprouts.  Maybe it was this combination that put Heidi's little patties firmly in the breakfast category, but I suspect they'd be tasty alongside almost anything.  Mine mingled with cheddar scramble and some tender mâche atop a few slices of peameal bacon.  I had it last night for dinner and again for breakfast this morning.  

If that's not a rave review, I'm not sure what is.  

Little Quinoa Patties
From Super Natural Every Day by Heidi Swanson (Ten Speed Press, 2011).

Anytime I have leftover cooked quinoa, I make these little patties. They are good hot or cold and are well suited to fighting afternoon hunger pangs. It's a bit of a stretch, but they could be described as a (very) distant cousin of arancini, Italy's beloved deep-fried risotto balls. In contrast, these are pan-fried in a touch of oil, and smushed flat in the pan to get as much surface browning as possible. I'm including my basic version, but often times I'll add a handful of very finely chopped this-or-that: broccoli, asparagus, or cauliflower, depending on the season. They're great on their own, slathered with ripe avocado or drizzled with hot sauce. - HS

2 1/2 cups / 12 oz / 340 g cooked quinoa, at room temperature
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup / .5 oz / 15 g finely chopped fresh chives
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup / .5 oz / 15 g freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyère cheese
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 g whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
Water, if needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or clarified butter

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 sit for a few minutes sot that the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a mixture you can easily form in to twelve 1-inch / 2.5 cm thick patties. I err on the very moist side because it makes for a not-overly-dry patty, but you can add a more bread crumbs, a bit at a time, to firm up the mixture, if need be. Conversely, a bit more beaten egg or water can be used to moisten the mixture.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-pow heat, add 6 patties, if they'll fit with some room between each, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned. 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.

Alternatively, the quinoa mixture keeps nicely in the refrigerator for a few days; you can cook the patties to order, if you prefer.

Makes 12 little patties.

A note from Tara (and seconded by me!):
If it's your thing, I added about a 1/2 teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to the uncooked quinoa mixture. I think some fresh chili would work too.

(And I swear I'm not trying to run a food blog here.  The two ladies mentioned in this post are enough talent and charm for the entire genre on their own!  Soon we'll get out of our apartment and back to the cottage.  Perhaps a few DIY's will occupy some space here.  Stay tuned.  Don't abandon me, non-food-readers!)


  1. Yum yum yum yum yum.
    eggs for dinner are always a favourite. Nice one hudson

  2. for a supposed non-food blogger, you sure are kicking my tail. wanna take over mine?

    so, so glad these worked out for you. thinking of mini ones with smoked salmon and crème faîche as a starter.

  3. I made quinoa for the first time a few weeks ago. I cooked it in chicken stock instead of water, and it had great flavor! You could even go low sodium. I'm loving your blog in all incarnations.

  4. Just discovered your blog. Love your writing style, photos, the food you're making. I just bought quinoa and did not know what to do with it beside eating it plain. I'll try this recipe.

  5. Thanks, all!
    Welcome Helene, nice to see you!

  6. I LOVE quinoa. It's lovely added to steel cut oats for breakfast, as well. so nutty.
    My cousin had a recipe for Quinoa bread in the bread machine that was to die for. Dark, rich, and sweet.

  7. holy quinoa that looks delicious. Quinoa and I are having an affair together.. Rice and Pasta are totally jealous, but it's just a much healthier relationship :)

  8. oh how funny! I just made these myself- they are SO amaze! loved and will be making over & over. love your blog!
    ~Juliane of

  9. Yoink! Thanks for sharing this - reposting it :)

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