So... Quinoa. I talk about this stuff a lot, because I pretty much have a crush on it. It's kind of perfect. You can use it a million different ways and come up with all kinds of creative ideas for replacing much less nutritious ingredients like rice, pasta and flour in some of your favorite dishes.
But. You either like it, or you don't. I get it. As my youngest daughter so profoundly said when she was just a tiny little munchkin, "You can't just decide to like something. Your tastebuds have to change or something." Indeed. That's true. Mostly.
But. (Yes, another but.) Even if you don't love it on its own, I do think there are ways to prepare it surrounded by other deliciousness in such a way that you will enjoy the final product. This is one of my favorite recipes for converting non-quinoa lovers. It works almost every single time. I love that. :-)
The other thing I love about this recipe is that I've made it at least a dozen different ways with different combinations of cheeses, diced veggies, herbs and spices (and sometimes even a protein or two), and it is delicious every time. Today's combination went something like this:
1 cup pre-cooked quinoa (Any kind is fine, but my favorite is red quinoa prepared with low sodium chicken broth.)
coconut oil for coating pan
1 medium onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 teaspoon garlic paste, divided
1/4 cup freshly shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
1/4 cup cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup goat cheese
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 Tablespoon coconut flour
2 teaspoons freshly ground pepper
1 teaspoon fresh basil, finely chopped
salt to taste
1/4 cup light mayonnaise
1/4 cup light sour cream
generous splash of Sriracha
1 teaspoon lime juice
1/2 teaspoon basil paste
salt and pepper to taste
1. Cook diced onion in coconut oil on medium heat until it begins to caramelize. Add garlic and continue cooking until garlic is fragrant.
2. In medium bowl, combine quinoa, onion and garlic, 1/2 teaspoon garlic paste, all cheeses, egg, coconut flour, basil, salt and pepper. Mix well and form into patties.
3. Place patties on parchment paper-lined plate, and freeze for at least an hour. ***This is an important step as cakes will melt too quickly and not hold their shape if you try to pan-fry them before freezing.
4. While the quinoa cakes are firming up in the freezer, prepare sauce by combining mayonnaise, sour cream, lime juice, Sriracha, basil paste and salt and pepper.
5. Once cakes are nice and firm, heat coconut oil in medium-hot pan and fry each cake on both sides for 3-4 minutes. They should be crisp and brown on the outside and perfectly cheesy and gooey on the inside.
6. Serve on a beautiful bed of greens as a salad or as a stand-alone side dish to just about any meal. And don't forget the sauce!