When I think of quinoa, I think of “trendy” health food.
You know, one of those foods that no one really thought about until one day, someone writes an article, a recipe, or publishes a study about all its benefits, and boom! it’s the hottest thing since sliced bread.
In years past, I tried incorporating more quinoa in my diet.
However, quinoa just didn’t leave me with that happy feeling that pasta and bread always gives me.
I didn’t enjoy it plain and I had no idea how to season it.
my solution? ketchup. lots and lots of ketchup.
This continued until, one day, I broke up with quinoa and decided to just stop buying it already-
it is one of the more expensive grains, after all. I shouldn’t be eating it with ketchup.
Fast forward a few years to last night.
As I was browsing on Pinterest, I came across a quinoa cake recipe that actually sounded really yummy.
I was inspired, and knew quinoa deserved one more shot.
Friends, it was a delicious, healthy, fulfilling success.
And, after experimenting with these little cakes,
I already know i’ll be seeing a lot more quinoa on my dinner table-
only this time, ketchup is optional,
Spinach Quinoa Cakes:
Servings: 14 cakes
Serving size: 1 cake
1 cup quinoa
1 tbsp. oil
16 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 stalks green onion, chopped
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (or breadcrumbs of choice)
1 tsp. chipotle powder
1 tsp. cayanne powder (if you like a little heat)
1-2 tsp curry powder
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
salt and pepper
First, prepare the quinoa according to directions on the the package. Once fully cooked, set aside and allow time to cool.
In pan or skillet if choice, add the 1 tbsp. oil and chopped onion. Cook on medium heat for approximately 5 minutes- the idea is to cook the onions so they are just starting to soften. Add your thawed spinach and mix until the spinach and onion are mixed evenly. Continue to cook for an additional 5 minutes, mixing occasionally. Move the onion and spinach to the side and cook the garlic separately for about 30 seconds before mixing with your onion and spinach. Cook for another minute or two and set aside.
After your quinoa and spinach/onion mixture are cool, transfer to a large bowl. Add breadcrumbs, chopped green onion, chipotle powder, curry powder, cinnamon, salt and pepper. Mix well.
Before adding the eggs, taste and add any addition spices you feel necessary. I love heat, so I generally add extra cayenne. I also love salt, so it’s pretty much guaranteed that I’ll be sneaking in a bit more of that, too.
Finally, add the eggs to the mixture and mix well. You don’t want the mixture to be too dry. Use your best judgment and add an extra egg if you feel necessary- it certainly won’t hurt.
Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Spray with non-stick cooking spray, or lightly coat with butter or oil. Start forming your cakes- you can, realistically, make them as large or as small as you want. The size pictured here produced 14 cakes. Gently add your cakes to the pan and cook on each side for approximately 5 minutes. You know it’s time to flip when they are starting to turn golden brown.
Serving size: 1 cake
Carbohydrates: 12 g
Fat: 3 g
Protein: 3 g
Health benefits of Quinoa:
1. Great source of protein- At 16.2-20% protein, quinoa is comparable in protein level to milk.
2. Great source of Riboflavin- What is riboflavin, you ask? Well, it has been shown to decrease migraine attacks by improving energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells.
3. Considered a powerfood- apparently, Inca warriors had more stamina and faster recovery times because quinoa was part of their regular diets.
4. Antiseptic- in other words, it helps promote healing of skin injuries.
5. Virtually fat free- with approximately 172 calories per 1/4 cup dry (24 calories from protein and 12 from sugar, the rest? complex carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fat)
6. Gluten Free
7. Smart Carbohydrate- this little grain has a low glycemic index. No blood sugar hike!