Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is an ancient grain, or rather, seed, originating from the high altitude regions of the Andean mountains in South America. Originally grown by the Incas in Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia and Peru, it was one of the few crops that could withstand the severe cold of winter and the extreme heat and drought of summer. Because of this, the Inca's called it the "mother of all grains" and held it sacred.
The reason so many people including myself are in love with quinoa is because it's gluten free, it's packed with protein (in fact, it is a complete protein), and it's so simple to make.
It cooks like rice, but much faster. Start with one part quinoa, two parts water. Make sure to rinse the quinoa first. This helps to remove most of the bitterness. Rinse well and use your fingers to rub the grains, until the water runs clear. I like to season the cooking water with salt, spices and a little olive oil to help mask some of its bitterness. Cover, bring to a boil and then turn down the heat and let simmer for 15 minutes. Let stand covered for 5 more minutes and then fluff with a fork. Done.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (check the package instructions)
- 2 cups low salt vegetable broth or water
- 1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 4 eggs, beaten or flax/chia eggs (see note below)
- 2 large carrots, grated
- 1 medium onion, chopped finely
- 1 cup button mushrooms, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced/chopped finely
- 1/4 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 1/3 cup finely chopped chives
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- coconut oil for cooking
- If you are serving with the Guacamole recipe, make that first, cover and set aside in the fridge.
- To cook quinoa: Put the stock or water in a saucepan and bring to the boil. When it is boiling, add the rinsed quinoa and leave to cook according to the packet instructions (about 15 / 20 mins?). When the quinoa is 'al dente' - it should have a slight crunch - drain it through a sieve. Use the back of a spoon to press down on the quinoa to squeeze out most of the water.
- While quinoa is cooking, place chickpeas in a large mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher or fork until at least 50% of chickpeas are mashed.
- Chop all of your vegetables and herbs and grate the carrots directly into your mixing bowl. You will also have to let the quinoa cool slightly so don't worry if you don't get them all chopped in 15-20 minutes.
- To make quinoa patties: Combine cooked quinoa, chickpeas, carrots, onion, mushrooms, garlic, herbs, salt and pepper in a mixing bowl. Add in the eggs and stir until well combined. A food processor is great for this!
- Shape 2cm thick quinoa patties. They don’t have to be perfect. I’ve found the easiest way is to scoop up a handful of the mixture with wet hands, quickly press it into small patties. Set aside what you will be cooking. Remaining patties can be placed on a baking sheet and frozen for another meal!
- Add coconut oil to a large pan (I love my ceramic pans for this) and set to a medium-high heat. When hot slide it into the hot oil with a spatula.
- Cover and cook for 5-7 minutes until the underside is golden brown, flip, and repeat until the other side is also a golden brown and the quinoa patties are cooked through (since there is egg in them). Remove from the pan and place onto kitchen paper to absorb any excess oil.
- Serve hot or cold with guacamole and devour!
- To make vegan eggs, grind three tablespoons of raw flax/chia seeds with a pestle and mortar to a fine powder. Add three tablespoons of water per tablespoon of flax, ie. 12 tbsp. Whisk with a fork or a whisk. Place in the fridge for 15 minutes to an hour to set. Voilà!