I’ve tried quinoa a few ways and am always thrilled with the outcome and versatility of the grain, though grain might not be the best word since it is closely related to spinach and beets, less commonly known as chenopods.
At any rate, I decided to try my hand at quinoa burgers. I looked at a few recipes before coming up with my own. With a few binding ingredients and enough moisture, you can really flavor them however you like. I went the cheesy-garlic-chive route, topped with spicy hummus and stuffed in a toasted pita, and was deeply pleased with the outcome. I’m not entirely sure if they got better over time, or if I just loved them that much, but they made an excellent leftover lunch when reheated in a toaster oven. In the end I was sad we only made five, though ten really probably would have been too many. Maybe not.
Quinoa Burgers (serves 5, or two plus really awesome leftovers!)
Ingredients:1/2 dry c quinoa, cooked
1/4 c part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 c shredded four-cheese blend
1 egg, plus one egg white
2.5 tablespoons whole wheat flour
1.5 tablespoons whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 small zucchini, grated and drained of excess water
2 chives, chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/8 teaspoon garlic salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 tablespoon olive oil, for cooking
Whole wheat pita pockets
Spicy hummus (I like Sabra’s Supremely Spicy)
Boil 1 c salted water (it’s always 2:1 with water to quinoa), add quinoa and reduce heat to medium low. Allow water to be absorbed and quinoa to become fluffy, approximately 20 minutes.
Once the quinoa is slightly cooled, place in a large mixing bowl and add cheeses, eggs, flour, breadcrumbs, zucchini, chives, garlic, salt, and pepper. Blend with a fork, making sure mix is not too soupy and will form a patty. If you need, add more flour, a 1/2 teaspoon at a time–you do not want to make the burgers too dry! Form mix into five patties, approximately 1/2 inch thick.
Preheat oven to 350 and heat a large skillet over medium-high and coat with a portion of olive oil (you will want to have some left for round two). Place patties in heated oil and cook until golden brown, approximately 4-5 minutes on each side.
While the burgers are cooking, place pitas in the oven to toast, maybe 5 minutes. Fill each pita with 1 tablespoon of hummus and a fresh, hot quinoa patty. You’re in for a real treat, friends! I’ll be making these again soon.