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Summer Quinoa Cakes with Beet Greens and Yellow Beet Salad

July 04, 2011 | Tags: Deborah Madison , Food , Vegetables | Post comment

Summer Quinoa Cakes with Beet Greens and Yellow Beet Salad

In February I gave a recipe for hearty red quinoa cakes with grated beets. Here’s a version for summer, one that uses the generous amounts of the greens that crown a bunch of yellow beets (or red). The roots are made into a salad of tiny beet chunks, for which you can refer to the entry for June 20 (Golden Beet salad). Just cut the pieces smaller and leave out any of the extra ingredients if you’re so inclined. You can also use chard greens instead of beet. These proportions yield a very green cake.

If you want to use more quinoa, or less, its looks and taste will change, but the recipe will still work since it’s a rather improvisational dish in any case.  You can steam the beets and cook the quinoa long before you make the dish. But assemble it just before making the cakes, otherwise the batter will get waterlogged.

Ingredients

1 ¼ pounds beet greens, from two large bunches, or less
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup finely diced fresh onion or scallions
1 ½ cups cooked white quinoa
2 tablespoons cilantro, or more to taste if you like it
1 tablespoon chopped oregano (o 1 teaspoon dried)
3 ounces feta cheese or grated Monterrey Jack
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper
1 egg
¼ to ½ cup breadcrumbs
sunflower seed oil for frying
Beet Salad (see June 19)
Yogurt (optional)

Preparation

1.  Cut the greens from the beets, discarding most of the stems. Wash them, then cook them in the water clinging to their leaves in a covered pot until just wilted. Turn them once or twice as they cook as this is a rather large volume of leaves. When done, transfer them to a colander and let them cool before squeezing out as much moisture as you can.

2.  Heat the oil in a small skillet over medium low heat. Add the onion, give a stir and cook for a few minutes, taking care not to burn or brown it.  Add the cilantro and oregano then add all to the cooked quinoa and crumble in the feta cheese. Add ¼ teaspoon sea salt and the egg.

3.  Returning to the greens, finely chop them then add to the quinoa. To check the seasoning, fry a little in some oil and take a taste.  If more salt is needed, go ahead and add it. Season with pepper as well.  If the mixture seems a little too wet, stir in a additional bread crumbs.  It will be delicate.

4. Heat a nonstick pan with oil to coat well. To make the cakes, pack the mixture into a measuring cup, such as a 1/3 to ½ cup measure, then turn it out onto your hand and gently set it in the pan. Press down to even out the cake.  Cook 3 to 4 minutes on each side over medium heat.  Serve with the beet salad and a dollop of yogurt.

Makes 6 cakes

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