>> 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.
(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.