Quinoa & kidney bean patties

quinoa-patties-61Besides using quinoa in salads, I used it to make quinoa patties. I had some cooked kidney beans in the freezer, which I added to these patties. These are super easy to make when the quinoa and beans are pre-cooked. And they’re super delicious too!

Makes 7 patties. Serves 2–3 peeps.

  • 1 cup (packed) cooked quinoa
  • 1 cup cooked kidney beans (cannellini & black beans would work well too. Used canned if you prefer.)
  • 1 carrot, grated
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1/4 cup besan (chickpea) or millet flour
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • sea salt, to taste
  • coconut oil for pan-frying

Optional extras:

  • 1 tsp each cumin & coriander seeds roasted and ground
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder

In a bowl, roughly mash the beans to release the starches (this will help with binding the patties), then thoroughly mix all ingredients (except the coconut oil) with the mashed beans.

Heat enough coconut oil to coat the base of a large fry-pan. The oil should not be smoking hot or too tepid — just enough heat so that the patties sizzle gently when they hit the pan. Take about 2 heaped tablespoons of the mix and shape into a pattie. Pan fry on low heat for about 5–6 minutes each side. (Flip gently, they’re a little fragile.)

Depending on the size of your pan, you will need to fry the patties in 2–3 batches. Re-coat the pan with coconut oil after each batch. I also had the lid partly on to keep the heat in the pan, so the patties cooked through.

Enjoy with a huge salad with loads of leafy greens.

Baked quinoa risotto

baked-quinoa-risottoServes 3 as a main, or 4 as a side

  • One cup quinoa, thoroughly washed
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 celery stalks finely diced
  • One red onion, finely diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes, or to taste
  • A handful of fresh herbs, like thyme and rosemary or 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 small sweet potato, about 150 g (1 cup), diced into small cubes
  • 8 medium mushrooms, diced
  • 1 cup sprouted mung beans (or use 1 cup of any cooked legumes, like chickpeas and kidney beans)
  • 3 cups homemade stock
  • 1 large broccoli head (3 cups, including stems)
  • sea salt, to taste

Preheat oven to 150C fan-forced (170C conventional). In a large pot (that is also oven-proof and has a lid) heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat. Sweat the celery for about 5 minutes then add the onions, chilli, garlic and herbs. Sweat for another 5 minutes, stirring continuously.

Next, add the sweet potatoes and sauté for another 3–5 minutes before  stirring in the mushrooms, quinoa and legumes. Season with  salt and add stock. Put the lid on and pop the pot into the oven. Bake for 15 minutes, then remove and stir in the broccoli. Place the lid back on and bake for another 15 minutes. Then check whether the sweet potato has cooked through. If not, bake for a few more minutes.

Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and season to your taste. I also like to squeeze in some lemon juice.

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Date & nut protein bars

I’ve called these little bars ‘protein bars’ because they contain quinoa (pronounced keen-wa), nuts, and eggs (if you’re making the non-vegan version). Quinoa is renowned for its high protein content compared to other cereals and grains, and is considered to be a complete protein because of its essential amino acid content.  

Technically, quinoa is a seed, not a grain, and is gluten-free. It is commonly used as whole seeds, flakes – as I have used them for this recipe – or flour. As a flour, the taste is quite assertive, so it’s best used mixed with other flours.

Quinoa is mostly harvested in South America, and most of what is available in Australia comes from this region. But there is also a local product grown in Tasmania. The Tasmanian quinoa does need bit of washing, though, to remove the bitter, soapy coating (saponin) from the seeds.

Quinoa is very versatile – think salads, soups, patties, porridge, baked goods – and, so, is handy to have in the pantry. Especially if you need to make a gluten-free, vegetarian meal in a hurry, as it cooks quickly too.

Now that I’ve sold you on quinoa, do give this protein bar a go. It makes for a filling, nutrient-dense treat that will keep little tummies happy – and big ones too.

 Recipe

Date and Nut protein sliceI’ve made these date & nut protein bars with eggs, and without, for a vegan version. Both are lovely. With the vegan version, as usual, I had to think about binding, fat and moisture – i.e. what could do the job of eggs? For binding, I still haven’t moved beyond chia seeds. And for fat and moisture, I just added more oil. The vegan version is, however, a little more fragile than the egg one, but, nevertheless, it does hold itself together.

  • 2 tsp chia seeds, ground, to make chia gel* (or use 2 large eggs)
  • 8 medjool dates, seeds removed and finely chopped
  • ½ cup (120 ml) almond or melted coconut oil (if using eggs, reduce the oil to ⅓ cup – 80 ml)
  • 2 tbsp (40 ml) pure maple syrup 
  • 1 ½ tbsp (30 ml) apple cider vinegar (exclude if using eggs)
  • ¾ cup quinoa flakes
  • ½ cup brown rice or sorghum flour
  • ¼ cup unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 2 tsp gluten-free baking powder (reduce to 1 tsp when making the egg version)
  • ½ cup roughly chopped walnuts
  • pinch of sea salt

Preheat oven to 180C. Lightly oil a square or rectangular baking size dish (I used a 16 x 21 cm Pyrex dish), and line with baking paper.

*If you’re making the vegan version, first make the chia gel – add 100 ml water to the ground chia seeds and set aside. In a few minutes it will turn into a gel-like substance.

Add chia gel (or eggs), dates, oil, apple cider vinegar (exclude for egg version) and maple syrup into a bowl and mix well.

In a separate bowl, combine the remaining ingredients before mixing thoroughly with the wet mix. The batter will be a little stiff. Tip batter into the prepared baking dish and spread evenly with the back of a spoon.

Bake for about 20 minutes, or until cooked through (check with a skewer) and lightly browned at the edges. Cool in dish for about 5 minutes before cooling on a wire rack. Once completely cooled, slice into 12 bars. The bars will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. They freeze well too.