Freaking Awesome Quinoa Burgers!

Veggie burgers are one of those things that give vegetarians a bad name.  Because who could possibly trust someone’s opinion of food when they think that weird combo of nuts and seeds and beans is the same as a hamburger?  At least that’s what I used to think.  Now I’m a little more open-minded.  But still not a huge fan of most veggie burgers.  In fact, I am not a fan in general of any “fake” food.  That is…food that is pretending to be other food.  If you want a hamburger, eat a hamburger.  If you want vegetables, eat vegetables, but trying to make me think those vegetables are a hamburger is just silly.  I won’t fall for it, I tell you!

These burgers are not pretending to be hamburgers.  In fact, I’m not even sure it’s accurate to call them burgers, although they are burger-shaped.  Call them patties, or fritters, or disk-shaped deliciousness, but whatever you call them, call them freaking awesome!  I’ll admit I was skeptical when my friend, Becky, gave me this recipe.  As mentioned above, I have some minor biases in the veggie burger department.  I did not want a plate of birdseed.  Against my better judgement, I gave them a try.  And I’m so glad I did, because I’ll be making them again and again!

These paired up beautifully with sautéed broccoli rabe.  While I’ve read that broccoli rabe is actually closer genetically to some greens than it is to broccoli, I find it reminds me a lot of broccoli.  It does tend to have a little more of a bite to it when it’s raw, but a quick dip in boiling water gets rid of any extra bitterness and it tastes really good, especially tossed with a little garlic and spice.

Freaking Awesome Quinoa Burgers & Broccoli Rabe. Don’t be fooled by the reasonable portions shown here. In all honesty, we all ate at least 4 of these babies.

Freaking Awesome Quinoa Burgers

1 cup uncooked quinoa
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated carrot
1 cup grated zucchini
3 eggs
3 tbsp. flour
2 green onions, chopped – white and green parts
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. garlic powder
Olive oil for frying

Cook the quinoa first by bringing 2 cups of water and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat.  Add one cup of quinoa, stir and reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook about 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.

In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, sugar, pepper, cumin, salt and garlic powder.

Mixture is somewhat sticky. Use a measuring cup for scooping patties!

Heat a couple teaspoons of olive oil in a large skillet over medium low heat.  Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop mixture into pan and flatten a bit to 1/2″ thickness.  Cook 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown and crispy.  Makes 10-15 patties.  Serve plain, or with the sauce of your choice.  I made a quickie mixture of mayonnaise, hot sauce and lime juice to drizzle on top.

What is broccoli rabe? Looks a lot like broccoli that’s been stretched.

Sautéed Broccoli Rabe

1 bunch broccoli rabe
1 shallot
3 cloves garlic
Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
Salt & pepper
Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pan of salted water to a boil.  Add broccoli rabe and cook 2 minutes.  Drain and rinse with cold water to stop the cooking.  Heat a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan.  Add garlic, shallots and crushed red pepper.  Cook a couple of minutes until garlic starts to brown.  Add broccoli rabe and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Sprinkle with salt & pepper and parmesan. Eat hot!

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