That’s the answer to the question: “What are the three most important grains to have on the shelf when vegetarians are in the house.” Quinoa is a complete protein, cooks up essentially like rice — two parts water, one part quinoa — is lighter and tastier than rice, and is wildly versatile.
- Tzatziki Sauce optional! quinoa patties can stand on their own over a green salad.
And if anyone is looking for an answer to the question of how or why is a quinoa recipe is appearing during Greek Week, I have a few answers. Even though this powerful little staple for the Incas is deeply rooted in this continent, Mediterranean Diet guidelines are basically just touting whole grains, and not splitting hairs as to the country of the grain’s origin. Another reason: Sarah forwarded this recipe for Quinoa Patties with Tzatziki Sauce to me from the Ginger Bear Kitchen site — one of my favorite blogs — and I couldn’t wait to play with it. I cooked the patties in olive oil, which seemed a bit like a variation on felafel and I was tempted to rename this recipe quinoa felafel. Of course, the tzatziki sauce makes anything Greek, so there’s plenty of reasons why quinoa ends up in Greek Week.
I considered making these patties a bit bigger, and serving them as burgers. Anna said that would be like a grain on a grain. Good point, so I served them over spinach. Since I was only cooking for two, there was lots of leftover batter — and the next day I made quinoa burgers with avocado, lettuce and red onion, and it was the best veggie burger I’ve ever had.
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- 3 eggs lightly beaten
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1/2 red pepper, finely chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 cup chopped spinach
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 2 slices of whole wheat bread, toasted and zapped in the food processor to form breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 4 Tbsp. olive oil
- Non stick cooking spray
- 1 1/4 cups plain, Greek yogurt
- 1 whole cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
- 1 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
- Juice from one, whole lemon
- 2 large cloves of garlic
- Kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Cook quinoa according to package directions.
- Saute onions, garlic, red and green pepper and spinach in 1 Tbsp. of olive oil until vegetables are soft — about 5 minutes. Add cumin salt and pepper.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa and eggs. Add sauteed vegetables, bread crumbs and parmesan cheese.
- Coat a large skillet with cooking spray, and add remaining 3 Tbsp. olive oil. Heat pan to medium high. Form balls of 1/4 cup of the quinoa batter and very gently press into pan to make patties that are about 1 inch thick. Allow patties to cook for 3-5 minutes in order to firm up a bit before attempting to flip. When crispy and slightly browned, flip gently. Cook for another 3-5 minutes.
- Serve with Tzatziki sauce.
- Combine all ingredients in a food processor. Pulse until thoroughly blended.