Every weekend I get into the mode of cooking in bulk often in anticipation of the busy work week ahead. As always, I was on a roll that Saturday morning multitasking in my kitchen, looking for a quinoa recipe. The other day, I had bought 10 pounds of quinoa from ‘Sprouts’ supermarket as part of my healthy-eating campaign! I called out to my daughter to find out recipes online for a quinoa salad that was different from last time. She obliged instantly and searched up a very inviting recipe of Greek style Quinoa patties or cakes with a simple dip to go along. So much for asking to find a salad recipe!
Well, I was not sure of the healthy aspect of the dish anymore given its description, but decided to make it anyway by using as less oil as possible, still retaining its taste. And partly to give my daughter credit for her unique finding. Here is how our first attempt on quinoa cakes looked like.
Onion large – 1/2, finely chopped
Garlic – 2 cloves, finely chopped
Baby spinach – 3 handful
Olive oil – 1/4 cup
3/4 cup uncooked quinoa cooked in 1 1/4 cups water
Eggs – 2 large(substitute with all-purpose flour mixed in water, for binding)
Crumbled feta – 1/2 cup
Parsley/cilantro – 1 tbsp, freshly chopped
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt – 1/4 teaspoon
Wheat bread crumbs – 1/2 cup
Black pepper to taste(add green chilli for more spice)
1 cucumber peeled and grated
½ teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups Greek yogurt(I used plain regular yogurt)
1 clove garlic, minced
1 tablespoon dill – finely chopped(fresh)
½ tablespoon mint – finely chopped(fresh)
½ tablespoon olive oil
½ tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Cooking directions: Heat about a tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottom or non-stick pan. Add onion and garlic and stir till translucent for about 5 minutes. Add in the chopped spinach and let it cook for another 2,3 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl.
Add beaten eggs, quinoa, lemon zest, feta, cilantro, salt, black pepper and mix well. Add in the bread crumbs to the mixture and let it stand for about 5 minutes for good absorption. Make patties around 2 inch diameter and 1/2 inch thick out of small balls scooped from the mixture.
In a heavy-bottom skillet, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil and place the patties on the top. Let it cook on one side till golden brown. Dab the top of the patties with olive oil and turn them around. Let it stay till both sides are crisp and brown. Remove patties from the skillet and gently place them on a dish.
To make tzatziki: Mix cucumber and 1 teaspoon salt and sieve the juice into a bowl. Mix in yogurt, garlic, mint, dill, olive oil and lemon juice, and refrigerate till ready to serve. Serve warm patties with chilled tzatziki sauce as accompaniment.
My family engaged ravenously on the patties, especially with the zesty dip on the side. I saw the patties disappear in no time with delight and thought to myself it was well- worth the effort! These patties are excellent fillers, and can be used as appetizers. In fact, they can be planned as a main meal with a soup thrown in to make it complete!