I don’t even dare to count how many times I’ve made bean and nut loaves, tempeh meatballs, or veggie burger patties that fell apart the moment fork or knife touched them. The recipes I used offered clever tricks for replacing the eggs that are essential for binding all the ingredients in these recipes together. But none of the suggestions really worked. Some of the tricks seemed not so much clever as strange. One recipe used prepared oatmeal, of all things, to give a tempeh meatloaf a resilient texture while keeping it both tender and moist.
The difference was, this strange trick worked! It makes sense, if you think about it: oatmeal is sticky and wet, much like eggs. It takes a bit of doing to get over the “oatmeal belongs only in sweet things” mindset. In a way, this is surprising because traditionally—and I mean the old traditions of Scotland and other places in the world where oats have long been a staple—oats have been cooked in savory dishes just as often as in sweet ones.
Bottom line: oatmeal gave my once-crumbly quinoa patties the perfect texture. The patties are delicate, to be sure. But when I sank my fork into them, they didn’t disintegrate. Delicious bite-size pieces broke off neatly on the tines. I wouldn’t be nervous about taking these patties on a picnic, tucked in a pita pocket with some crisp lettuce and a spicy chipotle-mayo-yogurt dressing. I’ve served them for dinner, mostly, and eaten the leftovers plain, as a snack. They would make a great appetizer, come to think of it: with a small dollop of guacamole or salsa on top—yum!
Yield: about 12 patties
- 1/2 cup quinoa, uncooked
- scant 1 cup water (less 2 TBSP.)
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 4 TBSP. quick-cooking oats
- 6 TBSP. boiling water
- 2 TBSP. nutritional yeast
- 2 TBSP. non-dairy milk
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
- 3 TBSP. parsley or chives, chopped
Thoroughly rinse the raw quinoa (unless the package it comes in indicates it’s pre-rinsed). In a medium pot, combine the rinsed quinoa with the scant cup of water and the salt and bring to a boil. Cover the pot tightly, lower the heat to minimum, and cook for about 15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. This can be done one to two days ahead. Store the cooked quinoa, covered, in the fridge.
If you’ve just cooked the quinoa, let it cool for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, combine the oats with the boiling water and let sit until very thick, about 5 minutes.
Transfer the cooked quinoa to a medium bowl, add the prepared oats, as well as the nutritional yeast, non-dairy milk, salt, pepper, and parsley or chives. Stir well with a wooden spoon.
Place the mixture in the fridge for at least half an hour, or up to 24 hours.
When you’re ready to cook the patties, measure out about 1/4 cup of the mixture, shape it into a ball and then flatten the ball slightly. Continue until you’ve used all the mixture.
Fry the patties in a skillet over medium high heat, using non-stick cooking spray.
Serve with Herbed Celery & Peas, or alongside a salad or steamed vegetables tossed with a flavorful oil and lemon juice. For more serving suggestions, see the recipe introduction.
Nutritional Information: 12 patties. Per patty: 38 calories; 0.5 g fat; 206 mg sodium; 6.3 g carbs; 0.8 g dietary fiber; <1 g sugar; 2.2 g protein.
Posted Friday, May 27, 2011