Yesterday was a very bad day. It was one of those days where a bunch of small things added up to one giant problem, and all I wanted to do is go home, make tea, curl up into a ball and pretend like none of those things actually happened.
Once I uncurled from the fetal position, I made these quinoa cakes. They were very comforting. I got the idea because I had a bunch of mâche that I wanted to use up, but I didn’t want to eat a salad again. I needed something more substantial.
I basically cleaned out my fridge to make the cakes. I combined some quinoa with grated Gruyère cheese, baby spinach, shallot, garlic, egg, and Panko breadcrumbs. I let the mixture sit for a second and then I fried the patties in olive oil.
I usually run into problems when I make quinoa cakes because they are too crumbly and fall apart in the frying pan. But yesterday, I learned a trick: Form the mixture into patties and then carefully place them in the hot oil. Then, gently press the top of the patty down with the back of a spatula so it’s flatter. Covering the frying pan helps the patties cook faster and more evenly.
Anyway. Make these quinoa cakes as soon as possible. They’re great for bad days, cold days, or pretty much any day. Here’s a song that I played while I was making the cakes.
Crispy Quinoa Cakes with Lemon Yogurt Sauce (from me, to you)
for the cakes:
1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled to room temperature
2 cups baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup grated Gruyère cheese
1 shallot, minced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
juice from half a Meyer lemon
mâche for serving
olive oil for frying
for the yogurt sauce:
1/4 cup nonfat Greek yogurt (or full fat; whatever you want)
1 Tbsp Meyer lemon juice
Cook the quinoa and add the spinach at the end until it wilts. Run the mixture in a fine mesh strainer under cold water until it cools to room temperature. (You could also let it sit and cool in a large bowl, but I was impatient/hungry).
Place the cooled quinoa in a large bowl and mix in the grated Gruyere cheese, shallot, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, and Meyer lemon juice. Let the mixture sit for a few minutes before shaping into palm-sized patties.
Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium-low heat. Once it’s hot, add the patties and flatten them slightly with a spatula, being careful not to break them (they are fragile). Cover and cook for about 7 minutes or until browned on one side. Then flip and cook on the other side, covered.
In the meantime, make the lemon yogurt sauce by mixing the Greek yogurt with the lemon juice. Serve the cakes on a bed of mâche with a squeeze of lemon juice and a big dollop of yogurt sauce, and a sprinkle of paprika. Enjoy!