Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Quinoa... the superfood

Quinoa (pronounced 'keen wah') is an indigenous plant of South America that has a crunchy texture, mild nutty flavour, is a great source of protein and most importantly, gluten free. It provides more amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fibre and antioxidants than most other grains, which is why it’s often referred to as a super food.

To tell you the truth, I didn’t really like quinoa when I first tried it as porridge a few years ago and have turned my nose up to it since!

My naturopath has been encouraging me to try cooking with quinoa because of all the health benefits, so I decided to give it a second chance and gave quinoa patties a go!

One good tip I did come across, was to always rinse the quinoa before cooking, this helps get rid of the earthy taste.

The recipe below is really versatile and can be adapted to any flavour combo you like, so you can enjoy them for breakfast, lunch or dinner!


3 cups cooked quinoa*
1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 medium zucchini, cut finely
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 cup gluten free bread crumbs
100g goats fetta, crumbled
1 tablespoon water
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tablespoon olive oil

1. In a frying pan, add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat. Add the onion, garlic and zucchini and sauté for a few minutes, until the onion is translucent. Remove from heat and cool.

2. Combine the cooled onion, garlic, zucchini mixture to the quinoa, parmesan cheese, parsley, gluten free bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Add beaten eggs and stir until all of the quinoa mixture is moistened. Add water to thoroughly moisten mixture. Quinoa should be slightly wet so it doesn’t dry out during cooking.

3. Gently stir in the goats fetta.

4. Form 2 tablespoons of the mixture into a patty, using moist fingers to prevent sticking.

5. In a large frying pan heat olive oil, over medium heat. Add patties to the hot pan and cook on each side until browned, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.

6. Serve warm with scrambled eggs for breakfast or with a leafy salad for lunch or dinner.

Makes approx 20 patties, depending on size.

Note: The quinoa mixture can be left, uncooked in the fridge for a few days.

* To cook the quinoa, place 1 1/2 cups dry quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cool water for a few minutes (this removes the “earthy” taste). Add rinsed quinoa, 3 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 25 – 30 minutes, until the quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.

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