As you may have noticed, I'm a big fan of quinoa. While it's great as a salad base, turning the cooked grains into a burger produces something a bit more substantial, without losing all the benefits; it's a complex carbohydrate, a complete protein source, gluten-free and rich in vitamins and minerals, making it wholly deserving of its superfood status.
These burgers make a really nice vegetarian option at a BBQ or you could reduce the size of the patties to bite-size and serve them as canapés - in which case it might be worth cooking them ahead of time and reheating in a low oven when required.
Spiced quinoa burgers
Makes 4-6 burgers
200g (1 cup) quinoa
2 cups water or stock
small head broccoli, cut into small florets
50g frozen peas
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
50g shiitake mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
One small bunch coriander, leaves picked and chopped
lime, zest and juice
salt and black pepper
mixed salad leaves
Cook the quinoa in double its volume of water or stock (for this recipe, two cups of stock). Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid for 10 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and leave the quinoa to set, keeping the lid on. After 10 minutes, the quinoa should be fluffy. Leave to cool.
Cook the broccoli and peas in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, before draining well. Preheat the oven 200¿C/fan 180¿C/gas 6.
Heat a tablespoon of vegetable oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Add the onion, garlic and mushrooms and sauté gently for four to six minutes, until softened. Sprinkle over the cumin and coriander and cook for a further one to two minutes. Season with salt and black pepper and leave to cool slightly.
Tip the quinoa into a large bowl and add the broccoli and peas, followed by the spiced vegetable mixture, the chopped coriander and the lime juice and zest. Beat in the egg, season and stir together until well combined.
With damp hands, shape the mixture into patties. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a frying pan over a medium to high heat. Add the patties to the pan and cook for two minutes on each side, until light golden in colour.
Carefully transfer to a baking tray lined with parchment paper and cook in the oven for 15 minutes, until browned and quite firm. Serve warm, in a burger bun if you wish, with mixed salad leaves and a spoonful each of mint raita and mango chutney.
Nutritional information for average quinoa burger, per 152.1g serving:
Calories from fat: 85
Total fat: 9.5g
Saturated fat: 1.2g