Besides the fact that these quinoa cakes are to-die-for delicious, I love the fact that making them brings me back to my childhood and I’ll tell you why. In the summer when I was a kid my mother taught me how to make hamburgers. We would stand over the bowl together, add a bunch of ingredients, including an egg (which I got to crack) and then she’d let me mash everything together with my hands and form them into patties. I loved squishing all that gunk through my fingers, rolling them into balls and then delicately smacking them into perfect little patties. I cherish those summer memories of outdoor bbqs, corn boils and staying out until the streetlights came on.
I haven’t eaten a beef hamburger in over 15 years now, but that doesn’t mean I don’t still get to enjoy the patty-making process!
This recipe is plant-based and super delicious. Plus, it’s complete with all the goopy, squishy business. I love using my hands to make things. We’ve evolved to make things with our hands, but sadly we disconnect from this process when it comes to our food because we don’t want to get messy. Blasphemy, I say! Get dirty! Here’s your chance.
Difficulty Level: medium
- 1 cup quinoa (rinsed)
- 2 eggs (pastured, organic if you can)
- 6 tbsp rice flour (use any gluten-free flour you like)
- 3 tbsp tahini
- 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 10 oz (2 big handfuls) fresh arugula, chopped
- 1 cup finely grated sweet potato (about 1 small one)
- ¼ c finely diced onion
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 tsp sea salt
- ½ tsp black pepper
- olive or coconut oil for brushing over cakes for extra crispiness (if desired)
- Start with quinoa so it’s cooking while you prep the other ingredients. Combine quinoa with 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer about 15-20 minutes until soft. Remove from heat and let stand, covered. (The longer you leave it covered the more evenly “fluffy” your quinoa will be.)
- Once quinoa is ready to go, transfer into a mixing bowl. Add all the other ingredients: eggs, flour, tahini, vinegar, arugula, sweet potato, onion, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix around with hands and start squishing and smoothing to combine all the ingredients really well. Cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes if you have time. (this will help it “firm up”)
- Preheat oven to 400 F with rack in the middle. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
- It’s easier to shape the cakes if you have wet hands. Either water or olive oil will do. Grab a handful off the mixture and shape into a tight ball before patting it down into a cake. (make sure the mixture sticks together well). Place even distance apart on baking sheet.
- Bake the cakes until there are lightly browned and crispy, flipping at least once half way through. Baking time is about 30-35 minutes depending on your oven. (tip: if you want to brush the little suckers with olive oil that’ll help them get nice and crispy on the outside. But, it’s not necessary.)
Whether you are a die-hard quinoa fan or a new kid on the quinoa block, you’ll be happy to know it’s fantastically nutritious! It’s classified as whole grain even though it’s actually a seed. Quinoa is high in fibre, antioxidants called flavonoids (like quercetin) and it’s low on the glycemic index so it won’t spike your blood sugar. It’s a complete protein (meaning it has high amounts of all the essential amino acids) and it’s soooooo easy to cook (taking only 15 minutes). Quinoa is a staple in my house. I eat it weekly while doing the quinoa dance around my kitchen. It makes a great side dish, salad addition, and you can even make quinoa porridge for breakfast. Or, as you’ll see from the recipe – forms nicely into quinoa cakes!
Ya, I know! Aren’t they just SO cute? These will be a hit in your house no questions asked. It’s a great way to turn unsuspecting picky eaters onto quinoa.
You can serve them at a party, eat them as a main dish, or jam them into little pitas or wraps for a tasty lunch. I served mine with roasted red pepper dip, but you can top it with anything your heart desires.
Happy patty cake!
Recipe adapted from: The Family Cooks Cookbook (Kirstin Uhrenholtd)