Kale and Quinoa Cakes

26 Nov

Kale and Quinoa Cakes | Adventures of a Hungry Redhead
Okay, let’s be honest: you just spent the last four days stuffing yourself didn’t you? If not, discontinue reading, because you’re obviously at the wrong blog and potentially not even human. If this is the case, then today you have another reason to be thankful — I am making you detox all week.  Yes, you have to thank me for this.

We begin detox with Kale and Quinoa Cakes. STOP IT! Stop freaking out right now. Stop making your puss face. Stop making gagging noises. Stop thinking about logging onto Pinterest instead. At least read through the rest of this post before you cast your judgment.

I won’t beat around the bush; these aren’t full of sugar, they’re not frosted, nor do they contain chocolate, but, oddly enough, they still manage to taste good. They’re from Joy the Baker, so I wouldn’t expect anything less. If you have not met Joy, please go visit and say hello.  So what are Kale and Quinoa cakes? Let’s break it down word by word:

Kale and Quinoa Cakes | Adventures of a Hungry Redhead
What is kale? It is a super food like spinach – a dark leafy green with tons of great nutrients and antioxidants. I’m pretty sure it kicks cancer’s ass (that statement is not approved by the FDA).

Kale and Quinoa Cakes | Adventures of a Hungry Redhead
What is quinoa? Pronounced KEEN-wa. It is a grain similar to rice or cous cous, but gluten-free and packed with protein (a complete protein at that for my health nerds in the house).

What is cake? It is a sweet, frosted pastry made of sugar, flour, eggs and butter.  Except in this case.

Alright, so we’ve got one out of three words sounding familiar (sort of). Let’s add another word we all like to make us feel comfortable: fry. Yes, you get to fry these in a pan on the stove. So think of them like fritters or hash browns. Sounding better, yes? And I haven’t even told you they have cheese in them yet!
I love the pop of flavor these have from the sun-dried tomatoes. Between that, the garlic and onions, you really can’t taste the kale, which I’ll admit I can’t eat on its own — it’s just too bitter.

Kale and Quinoa Cakes | Adventures of a Hungry Redhead
If you’ve made crab cakes before, then this method will be familiar to you. You basically cook the kale and quinoa, then mix with some eggs, cheese (!) and bread crumbs, form into patties and pan fry. The outside is crispy, the inside is soft. This mixture takes some work to form a patty because it is quite loose, but just keep squishing it with your hands and be very careful laying it in the pan and flipping it.

Kale and Quinoa Cakes | Adventures of a Hungry Redhead
You can eat these on their own, but I like to have them over a bed of mixed greens with some mustard as Joy suggests. Have one as a side salad, or have a couple for an entrée. This recipe makes quite a few cakes, so I generally freeze (un-cooked) what I don’t plan to fry and eat right away. I place the patties on a cookie sheet and freeze for 30 minutes or so, then place in a freezer-safe container or bag with the patties separated by wax paper.  When I want more, I don’t even thaw them, I just throw them straight out of the freezer and into the frying pan. They take about 15 minutes on each side this way. You’ll know they’re done if you poke the center and the cake is squishy.

Kale and Quinoa Cakes | Adventures of a Hungry Redhead
Look, you’re still alive and maybe even contemplating buying some quinoa! I’ll give you a hint: it’s by the rice or back in that dark, scary section known as “natural foods.” Don’t worry, I won’t tell anyone you’ve become a dirty hippy.

Kale and Quinoa Cakes
From Joy the Baker

1 1/2 cups raw quinoa (I used red, you can use whatever kind you like)
2 1/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 bunch (about 3 cups) chopped dino kale
splash of apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/3 cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes
1/3 cup chopped parsley
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)
1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoon olive oil for frying, add a bit more as necessary
lemon wedges, olives or capers, spicy mustard, and greens for serving

Place dry quinoa in a fine mesh strainer.  Wash under cool water for a few minutes.  Quinoa needs to be rinsed or it tastes dirty (so Joy tells me, but I never do and I haven’t noticed)

In a medium saucepan place rinsed quinoa, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  Place over medium heat and bring to a boil.  Cover, decrease the heat, and simmer for about 25 to 30 minutes, until the quinoa is tender.  Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature.  We’ll need about 3 cups of cooked quinoa for the recipe.

In a small bowl, whisk eggs and set aside.

In a medium sauté man, heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes.  Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute.  Add kale and toss until just slightly wilted, about 1 minutes.  Remove from heat and add a splash of vinegar.  Place kale mixture in a large bowl with prepared quinoa.  Allow to cool to room temperature.  You can speed up this process in the fridge for 30 minutes.

Add cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, break crumbs, salt, and pepper.  Add beaten eggs and stir until all of the quinoa mixture is moistened.  Add water to thoroughly moisten mixture.  Quinoa should be slightly wet so it doesn’t dry out during cooking.

Scoop out mixture by the 2 tablespoonful for small, 4 tablespoons for large. Use clean, moist fingers to form into a patty.  Create as many patties as you’d like.  (Rinse your hands after every few patties… it makes making patties easier.)

In a large skillet over medium low heat, heat olive oil.  If you pan is large enough, add four to six patties to the hot pan.  You’ll need a bit of room to successfully flip them.

Cook on each side until beautifully browned, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side.  Low heat helps the quinoa cakes cook slowly. Brown on each side then remove to a paper towel lined plate.

2 Responses to “Kale and Quinoa Cakes”

  1. m3lly78 December 4, 2012 at 10:35 pm #

    oh yum – these look great! Im always looking for new quinoa recipes. I love how you used the red quinoa too!

    • Red December 4, 2012 at 10:55 pm #

      Thanks! The red is so much more vibrant and appetizing than a beige cake.

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