I had a short time at home yesterday between leaving the studio and heading over to the Rock Harbor Yard to set up for the Hallwalls Artists & Models Stimulus event, that we are screen printing live at tonight. I decided since I was eating alone, it would be a good time to try something different and new (in the event I royally screwed it up). I came across this recipe from Anna Getty’s book Easy Green Organic that she shared on etsy and knew it was something I was going to love, since I have become a huge fan of quinoa. Quinoa is gluten-free, high in fiber and a complete protein which makes it a perfect grain for the gluten-free vegan. Quinoa is great as a replacement for rice or couscous.
I changed the original recipe a bit to what I had on hand and also to make it gluten-free. The original recipe called for adding shredded zucchini in addition to the carrots, but since I didn’t have any, I opted to go without. However, I definitely plan on making these again and including it.
The croquettes had just the perfect amount of “fried” crunch, that I actually felt like I was cheating and eating something unhealthy. The quinoa has such a beautifully nutty flavor and there is a subtle tartness from the cilantro sauce. I ate 3 of these as a meal, but they would be great as an appetizer or a side with grilled or roasted vegetables.
These turned out so good and I was sure my husband, Mark, could use a good snack. So, when I headed over to the warehouse to meet up with him, to start setting up our press and to print the first color on our poster, I decided to bring him a small leftover container of the croquettes, and a bit of the sauce to drizzle over. He was so happy and could not stop talking about them.
Quinoa Croquettes with Cilantro Yogurt Sauce
Cilantro Yogurt Sauce:
1 large bunch fresh cilantro, stemmed
1/4 cup soy sauce (I used low sodium gluten-free tamari)
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 small white onion, quartered (about 1/2 cup)
1 cup of non-fat greek yogurt (I used FAGE)
1/3 cup olive oil
1 cup quinoa, washed thoroughly*
1 medium carrot, peeled and grated on medium holes
1 scallion, finely chopped (white and green parts)
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
6 sprigs fresh parsley, stemmed and minced
1 large egg
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1 tablespoon tapioca flour
Vegetable oil for cooking
(if you don’t wish to make these gluten free, omit the brown rice and tapioca flours and just use 1/4 cup all purpose flour)
To make the sauce, combine the cilantro, soy sauce, vinegar, and onion in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Stop the motor and add the yogurt and olive oil. Blend until creamy. Transfer the sauce to a container with a lid and refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
To make the croquettes, combine the rinsed quinoa with 2 cups of water in a small pot and bring to a boil. Lower the heat, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until the water is completely absorbed. Remove from the heat and transfer to a medium bowl to cool.
When cool add the carrot, scallion, garlic, salt, parsley, egg, and flours. Mix well. Using your hands, form the mixture into patties about 1/2 inch thick and 2 inches in diameter.
Pour just enough oil into a large skillet to cover the bottom of the pan, and heat the oil over medium heat. Working in batches, lay the quinoa cakes in the pan and cook for 3 to 4 minutes. (You can probably cook 5 to 6 patties at once.) When the cakes are golden, turn them over and cook until the second side is golden. (Check by lifting up a side with a spatula.) Add additional oil as needed, and remove any brown bits that accumulate in the pan as you cook.
Remove the cakes from the pan and place them on a plate lined with a recycled brown paper bag. Serve hot, drizzled with the Cilantro Yogurt Sauce. Or put the yogurt sauce in a bowl for dipping.
*The key to cooking quinoa is to make sure to adequately rinse the quinoa through a fine-mesh strainer to remove the bitter protective saponin coating that protects the grain from being eaten by birds and insects.