At then end of my first year of college, I read a book called Skinny Bitch that turned me into a vegetarian. As superficial and fluffy as it sounds, the book was eye-opening and, if anything, it made meat seem so unappetizing that I couldn’t stomach eating it after reading the book. I adhered to the diet pretty strictly for almost 2 years, until I remembered how much I love meat.
Now, I like to call myself a “non-practicing” vegetarian, i.e. a conscious meat eater. I still feel strongly about the benefits of vegetarianism (health-wise and environmental), and I make an effort to only eat meat that is locally and organically raised.
My stint as a vegetarian taught me that not every meal has to include meat. Vegetarian dishes don’t have to be tasteless or bland, and much of the time I prefer a meatless alternative to a juicy steak. I saw these quinoa patties on one of my favorite blogs, How Sweet It Is, a few weeks back and decided they looked simple enough to try out on a weeknight. I am constantly searching for a good homemade veggie burger recipe, and although these are not heavy on the veggies, they taste amazing and still include the protein provided by quinoa.
They crisp up nicely and although they are a bit crumbly, you can smush them back together in the frying pan. I served them on mini pitas with avocado and dijon mustard, and I froze the leftover patties for another time.
Crispy Quinoa Sliders (from How Sweet It Is)
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
- 1.5 cups vegetable or chicken stock
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 cup freshly grated provolone cheese
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs (I used whole grain bread crumbs because I didn’t have panko – still turned out fine!)
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 2 green onions, thinly sliced (I used regular sweet onion because I didn’t have green onions)
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large egg + 1 egg white, lightly beaten
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 12 multigrain slider buns or dinner rolls (I used mini pitas)
- 2 avocados, sliced for topping
- topping condiments
Add quinoa and stock to a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and cover, cooking for 10-12 minutes. Then let stand off heat, covered, for 5 minutes. You can do this ahead of time or even the night before (and store quinoa in the fridge) so the quinoa can cool.
While quinoa is cooking, slice the onions, chop the carrots, mince the garlic and grate the cheese. Place it all in a bowl, then add bread crumbs and mix. Coarsely chop the chickpeas and add to the bowl. One quinoa is finished cooking, add it to the bowl and mix well until incorporated. If needed, let cool or place in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. Add in beaten egg + egg white, salt, pepper and mix well. Form into patties (I really squeezed a handful of quinoa together and smoothed it into a round, it may take some squeezing and forming to get the patties to stick – be careful, they stick to your hands) that fit the size of the buns you have. <- this will differ!
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Once hot, add 5-6 quinoa patties and cook until deeply golden brown and crispy, about 5 minutes. Gently flip and cook 5 minutes more. Remove and continue with remaining olive oil and patties. Serve with sliced avocado and whatever other toppings you like!