February 14, 2018
After visiting my grandkids last month, I’ve been thinking about healthy meals that are also toddler friendly. Quinoa is a perfect food for toddlers – a good source of good quality protein, delicious nutty flavor, and easily digested even if not chewed completely. However, on its own, it can be a bit messy to manage by little hands. These quinoa patties fit the bill perfectly. Delicious, nutritious and a finger food. Perfect for adults too.
After serving Barbecued Beans with quinoa yesterday, I wondered what to do with the leftover quinoa. Then I remember this recipe from the Oh She Glows website. I used it for a cooking class back in September 2014, before this blog began.
You want your patties to be nice and firm, so they stick together well, so be sure to chop your veggies very fine – onions and kale – and grate the sweet potato with a small holed box grater. Chop your kale first thing, so it can stand about 40 minutes before cooking. (check out this video by Dr. Greger on sulfuraphane for an explanation) You can roast your red peppers for the dip while you let the kale sit.
The original recipe was already oil-free except for the oil packed sun-dried tomatoes. I substituted them with dried sun-dried tomatoes and pulverized them in the blender along with the rolled oats. If using oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, drain and chop them fine.
The recipe calls for 3 tablespoons of flour, for binding. Since I cooked my quinoa yesterday, it was flaky and dry today and I did not need any of the flour to bind the patties. However, if your quinoa is on the moister side, you may need a tablespoon or two.
The recipe calls for fresh basil, which of course I don’t have in February. I used 1 tablespoon of dried (from my garden) and it provided a wonderful basil flavor. However, if you are not a fan of basil, you might want to reduce the basil by half.
For little dinner guests, I would suggest omitting the red pepper flakes. The recipe makes 12 – 1/4 cup patties. For toddlers, make them half or even smaller for bite size portions. (watch the cooking time for smaller patties) If you want to use them for burgers, make them 1/2 cup size.
If you cook up 1 cup of quinoa, you should get enough cooked quinoa to make a double batch. These patties freeze wonderfully and the left overs are great for quick easy meals or snacks. As a bonus, the patties firm up even more after being frozen. If you are new to cooking quinoa, directions are below the recipe.
The patties are great with this simple roasted red pepper dip, but they are also good with ketchup. Served with a simple salad or raw veggie sticks for the little ones, this is a satisfying meal.
Crispy Quinoa Patties
• 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
• 2 tablespoons ground flax + 6 tablespoons water
• 1 cup destemmed and finely chopped kale
• 1/2 cup finely grated sweet potato
• 2 tablespoons finely diced onion
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
• 2 tablespoon runny tahini paste
• 1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
• 1 1/2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar
• 1/2 cup rolled oats(use certified gluten-free if necessary)
• 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (dried, not oil packed)
• 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
• 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt, or to taste
• 3 tablespoons gluten-free all-purpose flour or regular flour (only if necessary)
• red pepper flakes, to taste
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Chop the kale into very small pieces and set aside for about 40 minutes.
Mix the ground flax and water in a large bowl and set aside for 5 minutes or so to thicken.
Add the quinoa, kale, sweet potato, onion, garlic, basil, tahini, oregano and vinegar to the flax mixture and stir well. Add red pepper flakes if using (I used 1 tablespoon) Put the rolled oats in a blender along with the sun-dried tomatoes and salt. Blend until oats are ground to a flour. Add the sunflower seeds and pulse a few times to chop them but not pulverize them. Add to the quinoa mixture and stir well. If the mixture is too moist, add the flour, one tablespoon at a time until the mixture is firmed up and holds together. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, scoop out ¼ cup of mixture and shape mixture into patties with wet hands. Pack tightly so they hold together better. Place on baking sheet.
Bake for 15 minutes, then carefully flip cakes, and bake for another 8-10 minutes until golden and firm. Cool for 5 minutes on the sheet. Enjoy immediately or for firm patties, freeze and reheat in a skillet.
To cook quinoa, rinse 1 cup uncooked quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Place quinoa in a medium pot and cover with 1 1/2 cups water. Bring to a low boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and then cover with a tight fitting lid. Simmer covered for 14-17 minutes until most of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is light and fluffy. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and then place lid back on to steam for another 4-5 minutes. Note that this makes almost 3 cups of cooked quinoa and you only need 1 1/2 cups for this recipe, so you will have leftover quinoa.
Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce
I have never had much luck roasting peppers over an open flame as most sites demonstrate. Instead, I use an easier method I learned from an Italian friend, Sara. Place your whole red peppers in a covered baking pan and roast for about 45 minutes at 350F or until tender. Leave the lid on and let them cool until they are cool enough to remove stems and seeds. You can peel the skin off as well. Be sure to save the liquid from the pan and use it for soups or stock.
For this recipe, you could use jarred roasted red peppers but I roasted two large red peppers instead. After roasting, I removed the stem and seeds but did not peel. I threw the flesh and liquid into the blender along with the almonds, garlic, vinegar and salt.
I am not sure where I got this recipe from, but its delicious and super easy.
Roasted Red Pepper Dipping Sauce
• 1 ½ cups roasted red peppers, drained
• ½ cup whole almonds
• 1 clove garlic
• 2 tsp. red wine vinegar (more to taste)
Purée all ingredients in food processor until smooth. Taste and add a pinch of salt and a bit more vinegar to taste.