Meatless Monday - Quinoa Burgers

>> Monday, June 28, 2010

I am not a fan of fake meat.  I generally don't like the taste or texture of fake meat - especially when they're bean based.  Plus, I'm not a vegetarian.  If I want to eat meat, I'll do just that.  I don't need the fake stuff.  (Shameless admission - the kids and I do actually like - yes, like - Quorn nuggets.  At one time they were a favorite lunch around here for the kids, and I would happily do clean-up duty on leftovers.  But as they're uber-processed little chunks of corn smut pretending to be chicken, we try to limit our use of them now.) 

And yet, today I'm writing a post about quinoa burgers...a patty that my son still thinks has meat in it somewhere despite being told the contrary.  A friend brought these to the playground a couple of months ago and let me try one.  It was love at first bite.  These patties do have a meaty flavor thanks to the portobello mushrooms in them, but these are not patties that pretend to be meat.  The quinoa gives them a distinctive, wonderful texture.  These patties are great on a bun like a burger or just on their own.  I like to munch on them cold the next day.

Do you know about quinoa?  Quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) is a nutrient-dense seed that has a kind of nutty flavor when cooked and an interesting slightly crunchy flavor.  Quinoa is protein rich, and unlike most plant-based foods, the protein in quinoa is a complete protein.  Quinoa is gluten free and a good source of fiber, as well as other nutrients such as manganese, magnesium, iron, and phosphorous.  Once a relatively unknown seed, I've seen quinoa recipes popping up in abundance lately.  For this recipe, I used Inca Red Quinoa from Ancient Harvest Quinoa, but my kids seem to prefer the traditional, light-colored quinoa in other recipes.

Quinoa Burgers
(I mixed in shredded zucchini in my burgers, but I think that shredded carrots or red bell pepper would also be good.)

2 portobello mushrooms (8 oz), stems removed, cut into 1" pieces
1 small zucchini
1/4 cup minced shallot (or substitute chopped onion and garlic)
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
3/4 cup quinao, cooked according to package directions (about 2 cups cooked)
3/4 tsp salt
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup fresh whole-wheat breadcrumbs*
1/2 cup oats (I pulsed mine in a food processor to give them a crumb quality.  May use 1/2 cup breadcrumbs if you prefer.)

Pulse mushrooms in a food processor until finely chopped.  Transfer to a bowl.  Shred zucchini, and squeeze out excess moisture in a towel.  Add to the mushrooms.

Heat 2 TBSP olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.  Add the shallot and red pepper flakes and cook until softened, about 2 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and zucchini and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.  Remove from heat and stir in Parmesan, quinoa, and salt.  Let cool completely and then stir in egg, breadcrumbs, and oats.  Cover and refrigerate until cold and firm, about an hour.

Heat a TBSP of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.  Shape the quinoa mixture into small patties of the desired size.  My patties were between 1/4" and 1/2" thick.  Cook about 3 min on each side until crispy on the outside and cooked through.

Serve on buns or by themselves.  Makes about 15 small patties.

*To make fresh breadcrumbs, break bread into pieces and put into a food processor.  Pulse the food processor to make breadcrumbs.


irishis June 28, 2010 at 7:36 AM  

This sounds fantastic!! I have a question for you, do you remove the "gills" from the portabello? I never know whether to scrap the out or not.

irishis June 28, 2010 at 7:37 AM  

me again. What's the asterisk for after the bread crumbs?

cathy June 28, 2010 at 7:47 AM  

irishis - I did not remove the gills from my portobellos for this recipe. And thanks for pointing out the asterisk! It was meant to point you to a note about making fresh breadcrumbs - a note I had left out unintentionally. It's in there now!

irishis June 28, 2010 at 8:17 AM  

Thanks for the answers having a big cookout this weekend with 3 of us vegetarians these might be perfect, wonder if grilling is an option. Maybe I'll make a batch up and try a couple on the grill.


Lori June 29, 2010 at 5:46 AM  

This sounds so great. I adore quinoa and I have everything in to make them.

I hear you on the fake meat. I said on FB the other day - don't make foods to imitate meat products, at least give them a new name. Otherwise, it makes it sound like you miss meat. If you miss it. Eat it! :)

Lisa June 30, 2010 at 2:22 PM  

I am not a vegetarian and I am not a meat eater either. I eat meat when I want to, which just so happens to be almost never.

I am all about fresh foods and somehow Quinoa slipped me by. I will have to look for it at the health food store.


姚俞妃 July 1, 2010 at 1:15 AM  

IS VERY GOOD..............................

Sagan July 1, 2010 at 7:30 AM  

Tasty! I actually really enjoy homemade bean burgers. I generally prefer vegetarian foods to meat now, unless it's something like bison (love bison!).

Quinoa is great, and I DEFINITELY need to use it more often.

Charli July 1, 2010 at 2:29 PM  

Wow! Looks awesome! I can tell I will be visiting your site regularly! I am starting 100 days of no sugar tomorrow!
I have a personal weight loss blog too and I also contribute to an online magazine. I needed a new goal to keep me motivated so I started "100 Days to Better Health." It's not what you may think! We start tomorrow and end on 10-10-10! Check it out! Would love to know what you think and if you would like to join in! We all need encouragement!


Anonymous July 5, 2010 at 2:13 AM  

We LOVE Quorn. I make a mean "chicken" pot pie.

But did you know that Quorn is not made from corn. It's made from micoprotein, which is derived from mushrooms.

Corn is not king, the mushroom is. :)

cathy July 5, 2010 at 7:36 AM  

Leighann - Yep, isn't that fungus corn smut - the fungus that grows on corn, hence the play on words with the brand name? I've read that corn smut is a delicacy in central America...and perhaps can be processed to make a fake meat that is rather tasty to my kids and not bad to me! :-)

Hana July 6, 2010 at 11:16 AM  

My mid-year resolution is to reduce sugar in my diet so discovering your blog is timely. Eating less meat should be a resolution for my husband! Thanks for sharing and I will be checking-in again.

Cindy Rowland July 20, 2010 at 4:18 PM  

I made these tonight. I made larger patties out of laziness (5 1/2). But other than that I followed the recipe to the letter. They are pretty great. They were a little mushy because I made them larger I suppose. But there are no leftovers and I don't have a belly full of gross heavy cow meat. So I'm happy. I'm sure I'll make 'em again. Thanks Cathy!
P.S. The kids totally went for these even though they claim to dislike mushrooms.

Sara February 2, 2011 at 7:37 AM  

I did a google search for Quinoa burgers and found your site. I have never tried Quinoa before, but I decided to go ahead and buy some and experiment because I keep hearing about it everywhere.

I'm the same as well about meat eating. I mostly eat vegetarian, but sometimes I like some meat. There's nothing worse than a fake meat hot dog.

Lula Lola February 5, 2011 at 5:41 AM  

So glad to have found this recipe! I have a question, can they be made ahead and frozen. My three boys are in school during the day and I'd love to have these on hand for when it's just me and I don't feel like cooking.

cathy February 5, 2011 at 6:01 AM  

Lula Lola - I haven't tried freezing them, but I would think that they would freeze just fine. Maybe freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet and then put the frozen patties in a container or ziploc. That way they won't all stick together, and you'll be able to pull out one at a time.

Jim Atkinson June 29, 2011 at 6:18 AM  

This is a great article. Hope you don't mind, but I took the recipe for the burger.

xl pharmacy November 3, 2011 at 9:59 AM  

It looks like a tasty burger, but I dont know, the "meat" looks dry.

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