Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Quinoa burger with sweet potato fries

Quinoa is a great health food and finally after mainly failed attempts, I can vouch for the fact that they make good burgers. My previous attempts at making quinoa burgers had been quite disappointing - mainly for two reasons: the burger would fall apart, since I didn't add the egg for binding (family members are not in favor of the smell of eggs) and it wasn't quite as flavorful as we would have liked it to be. This time, I nailed both those issues. I used ground flax seeds as a binder and managed to get a perfect mix of spice and vegetables in the burger itself. Additionally the toppings really sealed the deal.

This burger turned out crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. The subtle flavor of the leeks and zucchini permeated through the burger with a little additional texture from the mushrooms and bits of tangy feta cheese popping in almost every bite. The topping of the luscious and sweet roasted red peppers dressed with a few drops of balsamic cream (reduced balsamic vinegar) was absolute perfection and a little Dijon mustard spread on one side of the roll, made for the perfect burger.

The sweet potato fries coated with lemon garlic pepper and fresh thyme are a great complement to the burger.

Quinoa Burger with Sweet Potato Fries

Assembled quinoa burgers

½ cup quinoa
1 cup finely chopped leeks, white and light green parts only
2 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
1 tablespoon finely minced, jalapeno pepper (you could remove the seeds if you don’t like too much heat)
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
3 large white button mushroom, coarsely chopped
1 ½ tablespoon extra virgin olive oil + extra for pan frying
½ medium sized zucchini, finely grated (about 1 cup)
2 oz Greek feta – cut into small dice
1 tablespoon ground flax seeds or 1 egg
1 roasted red pepper (jarred or home made – for homemade roast in a 400°F oven for 30 to 40 minutes and then remove the skin, pith and seeds)
Balsamic cream for dressing

1.      Wash the quinoa well to remove the bitter flavor from the saponin. Add 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes till all the water has absorbed. Set aside to cool.
2.      In the meantime, take 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds and 3 tablespoon water and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. It will become like gel and will act as a replacement for 1 egg. [If you don’t have ground flax seeds, you can grind ½ tablespoon of seeds in your coffee grinder to yield 1 tablespoon of ground flax seeds.]
3.      In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil and add the minced, garlic, leeks and jalapeño and cook over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes till the leeks have softened. Add the mushrooms at this point and continue to cook for another 3 to 4 minutes till the mushrooms have softened and become light brown. Add ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and mix well. Combine the leek and mushroom mixture with the cooled quinoa.
4.      Squeeze the grated zucchini to remove the excess moisture and add to the quinoa mixture as well. Finally add the diced feta cheese and the ground flax seed gel. Mix well. Divide the mixture into quarters and form four burgers.
5.      Refrigerate for 30 minutes to an hour before pan frying, to ensure that they don’t break apart.
6.      Heat a non-stick sauté pan with 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil. When the oil is hot, gently slide the burger into the pan and cook for 5 to 7 minutes on each side over medium high heat. The burger must get a crisp exterior to contrast with the soft interior.
7.      Serve on a burger bun with Dijon mustard and dress with the roasted red pepper strips topped with a few drops of balsamic cream and some sweet potato fries.
 Serves 4

Sweet Potato Fries
2 large oriental sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ½ tablespoons lemon pepper (dried garlic bits mixed with coarsely ground black pepper is a good substitute)
2 sprigs of fresh thyme
¾ teaspoon kosher salt

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel and cut the sweet potatoes into French fries. Toss them with the olive oil, lemon pepper and the thyme leaves.
  3. Arrange on a baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven in the middle rack for 15 minutes. Remove and flip and continue to brown the other side for another 10 minutes. At this point, check the fries – they should be a beautiful golden brown. [They will not be very crisp, since sweet potato fries do not really crisp up]. Remove from the oven and serve with the burger.
Serves 4

1 comment:

  1. I tried this out last night. I must say that though it's got multiple components, it was pretty fun doing all of them! Main issue was that i couldn't get all the burgers to hold well while cooking. Having said that, I did make a few substituions and changes - 1. Spring onions instead of leek 2. I ran out of zucchini so had to run out, buy them and then add them to the burger patties 10 min before cooking. Also, did try covering them with a little breadcrumbs, and it seemed to have helped hold the burger together!! Oh, and I made my own balsamic cream! Will surely give them a go once more..:)