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Spicy Quinoa Flats

Posted in Breakfast, Food & Recipes, gluten-free, lunch by nicolejanaye on August 26, 2011

So I know I’ve been jumping back and forth a great deal on vegan food and foods regarding animal products. This is mostly in result to flying out to Europe. Generally if I’m on my own, it’s fairly easy to continue eating vegan food, whether I’m making it for myself or going to a restaurant. However, when I’m staying with a family or large group of people, I don’t want to be a hassle. I transition to vegetarianism and eat as much vegan food as I possibly can get my hands on.

Fast forward one month later and I’m back to the states and back to my comfort food. One of my favorite dishes are the Spicy Quinoa Cakes with a Sweet Mustard Sauce. The only downfall is that they are not vegan. So my quest is to veganize them. This version of quinoa cakes are a bit different. I used some similar flavors, but added cashew cream to the mixture to give it a unique texture. I made them thinner and flatter than the original version, hence the name, Quinoa Flats. They are also baked (healthier & more nutrition) instead of pan fryed. Don’t be fooled by the list of ingredients. Most of them are very common household spices. Besides the preparation of soaking the quinoa and cashews, this recipe is very simple and easy to make.

Ingredients

  • 3 cups quinoa; soaked 3 hours-overnight; cooked
  • 1 cup raw cashews; soaked 3 hours-overnight
  • 1/3 cup raw apple cider vinegar
  • 8 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp sun-dried tomatoes
  • 5 tsp diced jalapeños
  • 2 tsp olive oil; infused recommended (garlic, herbs, sun-dried tomatoes…)
  • 3 tsp tahini
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper

Directions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400.
  2. After your quinoa has been soaking, you want to rinse thoroughly through a small strainer. If you don’t have a strainer with small enough holes, lay a cheese cloth on top of the strainer and rinse through that.
  3. I like to cook my quinoa with a 1: 1 1/2 ratio. Some recipes call for more or less water at a desired time, but I find that this gives the grain a perfect consistency. Depending on how long you soaked your quinoa for, your measurement will be different because of the water absorption. If you soak your grains overnight, you will have a larger product of quinoa. I ended up with 3 cups of soaked quinoa. Combine your quinoa with water, according to the ratio 1 quinoa: 1 1/2 water.  Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes.
  4. Drain the cashews and rinse them thoroughly. Blend them with the water and vinegar.
  5. Combine remaining ingredients, except for quinoa and 3 tsp diced jalapeños, with the cashew mixture and liquify.
  6. Transfer mixture to a large bowl and combine quinoa and remaining jalapeños.
  7. Spoon flat cakes on lined cookie sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes.
  8. Drizzle Sweet Mustard Sauce on top of flats.
  9. Enjoy!
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Spicy Quinoa Cakes with a Sweet Mustard Sauce

Posted in Breakfast, Food & Recipes, gluten-free, Health/Nutrition by nicolejanaye on July 18, 2011

As easy as it sounds, it’s hard for me to have days where I do absolutely nothing. I feel as if a precious day has gone by wasted, floating in the sky in a numerical assortment. I have this sense that life is so short and that I need to spend every waking second doing something I can take mental photographs of. As much as this is true, sometimes you just need a day off.

Today was that day and I did it well. Some movie watching was in order, along with remaining in my pajamas to wee hours of the evening. I did manage to make it to the gym and sweat a gallon or two. Not only was that a successful act but I created a new recipe. Something that I’ve been testing out and trying to perfect.

It’s delicious. It’s high in protein, satisfies hungry bellies and kitchen cravings, has a spicy kick and is enjoyable to any vegan, vegetarian or meat lover alike.

For me, quinoa has somewhat of a mute flavor. I prefer a nutty wild rice but the benefits of quinoa outshine any type of grain on the market. This godly grain contains all essential amino acids and is a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. I’ve found a recipe that embraces the wonderful flavors that quinoa provides. The combination of ingredients and the cooking method gives these cakes the most desirable flavor.

I failed to mention earlier that these lovely quinoa cakes are not only packed with flavor and nutrition but they are gluten-free as well. By making homemade bread crumbs with gluten-free bread you are saving money and making the cakes easier to digest for those who are intolerant. One important thing to mention is the process of soaking the quinoa prior to cooking it. Soaking grains, nuts, and legumes not only removes the bitter flavor but it allows the body to digest the food and absorb the minerals more easily. Many grains, dried beans, nuts, and seeds contain phytic acid. This acid, also known as the ‘anti-nutrient’ bonds to certain minerals and blocks their absorption in the small intestine. Which means, all of the nutrients that you think you are getting, you are getting less of if not none at all. However, the good news is that soaking helps remove the phytic acid and increases the bioavailability of the minerals they contain. It’s best to soak your nuts/beans/grains for 12-24 hours, but 30 minutes will work if you’re in a time crunch. I prefer to soak overnight so that I can wake up and begin cooking right away.

Ingredients:

Cakes:

  • 1 cup of quinoa; soaked (I prefer red but white will work or a combination of the two)
  • 1 cup of bread crumbs *
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 large red pepper
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 4 0z. diced jalapeno
  • 1/2 tsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 tsp yellow mustard
  • 1/4 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne powder
  • 1/4 tsp curry powder
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp cumin
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
Sauce:
  • 2 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 tsp apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp kosher salt

Directions:

  1. After your quinoa has been soaking,you want to rinse thoroughly through a small strainer. If you don’t have a strainer with small enough holes, lay a cheese cloth on top of the strainer and rinse through that.
  2. I like to cook my quinoa with a 1:1 1/2 ratio. Some recipes call for more or less water at a desired time, but I find that this gives the grain a perfect consistency. Depending on how long you soaked your quinoa for, your measurement will be different because of the absorption of water. If you soak your grains overnight, you will have a larger measurement. I ended up with 2 cups of soaked quinoa. Combine your quinoa with water, according to the ratio 1 quinoa: 1 1/2 water. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 20 minutes.
  3. Combine quinoa and eggs and mix thoroughly in a large bowl.
  4. Add bread crumbs to the mixture and toss lightly.
  5. Next, add the remaining ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  6. Make 2 inch cakes and cook on a frying pan for 5-7 minutes on each side or until golden.
  7. For the sauce, simply combine all of the ingredients and whisk together.
  8. Drizzle the sauce on top of your cakes and dig in!

*To make your own gluten-free bread crumbs combine 8 slices of gf bread and bake in your oven at 350 for 10 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes and then process in a food processor. I like to use the ends of the bread because I think it gives a better texture but any slices will do.

Serving size: 2 inch cakes

Servings: 52

 These cakes are everything delicious. The sweet and tangy mustard sauce pairs perfectly with the spicy kick to the cakes. It’s just the right amount of heat that keeps your mouth tingling. Don’t be frightened by the list of ingredients. It’s mostly spices that can be altered to what you have in your kitchen. Quinoa is fairly inexpensive and goes a long way. Use this recipe as a start and experiment with different flavor combinations. Try cooking these up and sandwiching them in between a rustic bread for an interesting twist to a veggie burger. Or simply slice up a thick beefsteak tomato and stack on top of the cake with a drizzle of the sweet mustard sauce

Cheers!