Stacks and stacks of potential awesome

RECIPE: Quinoa-zucchini cakes with summer herbs

As I may have mentioned before, my husband is amazing.  One of his best attributes is his willingness to let slide a tad bit of my hoarding packrat behavior. I’ve been like this since I was a kid, I really can’t help it. It’s hard for me to let things go, especially if someday they MIGHT have a purpose again.

He’s one of those people who doesn’t really get any sort of emotional attachment to THINGS, to the point where I get a tad panicky when he starts giving away his own stuff because what if he’ll miss it someday??

The one thing I keep around that really does drive him insane is magazines.  I get a lot of them, and I don’t know why (maybe because of my Kindle addiction) but I hardly ever get around to reading them.  So he keeps stacking them in a nice, neat, suggestively ‘you should probably read these someday’ pile right on our kitchen counter. Which makes me ignore them more. I don’t know why. Poor guy.  And don’t tell him, but sometimes I take magazines off the stack and cart them to work. Where they sit unread, but at least he can’t see them there!

My father (who I inherited the packrat thing from) is always picking me up the most random food magazines. Last week it was some obscure magazine called Mother Earth News.  The heck? But, because I so want to please my husband, I immediately went through it and pulled out pages with recipes I might want to cook.  I then started a new pile on the counter called ‘some day you might see these meals on our table, but until then I’ll just keep adding to this new, awesome pile of stuff!’. Guilt got the better of me after a week of the new pile collecting Arizona dust, so I pulled a recipe at random and made it.

Quinoa (which Jen’s told us about before) zucchini cakes. That sounds delicious, and ridiculously healthy. The problem is, Mother Earth didn’t exactly prove out this recipe before printing it. The liquid in the quinoa didn’t cook down nearly enough so I had to add 10 minutes of boiling time. Even then the mixture wasn’t firm enough so I added about 3x the amount of breadcrumbs. It STILL wasn’t quite solid enough so we ended up with blobs of fried healthy stuff.

I will say, the mixture before I fried these was delicious. It turned out creamy and flavorful. They were good fried as well, but didn’t hold their shape at all. I served these falafel-style on pitas with hummus, tomatoes and spinach. Based only on how we had them last week I’d give them a 3 out of 5 shots of Arak (I had to look up a Middle Eastern-type drink for the falafel reference). The pre-fried mixture was so delicious and healthy I’m considering making that again and just eating it in a bowl alone or as a side dish.  I think that would be a 5 out of 5.

Quinoa-Zucchini Cakes
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Recipe type: Dinner, Side Dish
Author: Amanda N
Prep time: 10 mins
Cook time: 45 mins
Total time: 55 mins
Serves: 4
Adapted from Mother Earth News.
Ingredients
  • 1 cup quinoa, soaked in water for 5 minutes
  • 2 cups stock
  • Handful of mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 small tomato or pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup zucchini, shredded
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds or sunflower seeds
  • Handful of fresh, savory herbs (basil, parsley, cilantro, etc.), chopped
  • Sprinkles of sea salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • Olive oil
Directions
  1. Drain and rinse the quinoa to remove the bitter flavors from the outer coating. Add everything through sea salt and pepper and bring to a boil. Cover tightly, reduce heat to low and cook for 15-25 minutes, or until the mixture has fully thickened. You could just stop right here and eat the quinoa mixture as-is.
  2. Stir the eggs and bread crumbs into the quinoa. Form little cakes about 2 inches across and 1/4 inch thick, and refrigerate for 15 minutes. In a low, wide saucepan, heat a thin layer of oil over medium-high heat. Pan-fry the cakes a couple minutes per side, until the outside is crispy and light golden-brown.
  3. Serve as a side-dish, on a salad or falafel-style in a pita pocket.
Notes

You could really add in whatever vegetables you have on hand.

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6 Responses to Stacks and stacks of potential awesome

  1. Jen says:

    This sounds awesome. And I know the problem: the zucchini. You have to squeeze all the liquid from the ZUCCHINI first. I know this because I JUST made zucchini pancakes (sans quinoa, but yum topped with sour cream). I thought I squeezed enough. But it was way too watery and I found myself in the same situation. So let us both remember: keep squeezing!

  2. Alyssa says:

    Do you think you can make without mushrooms? I bet they may have added to the sogginess too, they tend to sweat a lot while cooking. Overall it looks delicious in that pita. Now I want hummus.

  3. Ryan says:

    I actually really enjoyed this one, super healthy, different textures. It would make an better side dish than a main dish, however.

  4. Nicole says:

    I made this one and it came out ok – I agree about it being a better side dish. I think next time I’ll use a bit more seasonings/herbs. I went with a decent amount of zuchinni, and a little mushroom, carrot, celery root, parsley, red bell pepper. Oh, and I forgot to add the nuts and seeds! We ate the mixture plain last night, and tomorrow night I’ll try frying up the rest into patties. Great, healthy idea!

    • Amanda N says:

      I’m so glad someone else tried this! I’m definitely not giving up on it, I feel like it has a lot of potential. But I think some of these folks are right about the water content of some of the veggies. Maybe I’ll saute the mushrooms first and squeeze the zucchini. Hmmm… Thanks for trying it Nicole!

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