This is the pinnacle of healthy indulgence. The crown jewel of Things That Taste Sinful But Aren’t. Step aside, FroYo, and surrender your throne. You were only ever a vehicle for cheesecake bites and Reese’s peanut butter cups anyways.
Everybody is all about quinoa lately, and if you aren’t, you need to be. Not only is it delicious and versatile, it’s a complete protein! It contains all nine amino acids that the human diet requires. Once upon a sophomore year, I would have been able to recite AND draw out all of those chemical structures. Now I just munch on them.
I happened to have Rainbow Quinoa on hand (hence the pretty colors), but any type will work. Before you cook quinoa, you want to be sure to give it a good rinse, otherwise the end product might have a strange, bitter taste. The general formula for cooking quinoa involves a 2 : 1 ratio of liquid : quinoa, and typically takes about 15-20 minutes. Cooking it in chicken stock (or any other kind of stock) is nice because of the added flavor boost, so what I typically do is use water and add half a bouillon cube to the pot.
Bouillon is not spelled at all how I expected.
Another important lesson I’ve learned is that you should always chop way too much baby spinach, because when you wilt it down, it will all disappear and you’ll be sad about it. Just wildly overestimate how much you’ll need, because too much spinach is never a bad thing. Also, I used both white onions and green onions for these cakes, but you can use whatever kind you like.
I served these with a really quick and equally healthy sauce made from greek yogurt, lemon juice, and dill. So fresh and so good. (Good.)
I lightly pan-fried these, but next time I’m going to try making them even healthier by baking them. Then I’m going to make them way less healthy by putting them in a burger bun and putting some avocado on top. Or in a pita pocket with tzatziki and onions and tomatoes. The possibilities are endless.
Recipe for Spinach Quinoa Cakes (adapted from Panini Happy)
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked
- 3 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, minced/grated
- 7 oz. chopped baby spinach
- 1/4 white onion, diced (you can use more or less, if you prefer)
- 3 scallions, finely chopped
- 2 large eggs
- 1/4 cup goat cheese crumbles
- 1 Tbsp. dill
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
In a skillet, heat 1 Tbsp. of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, garlic, and spinach, and cook until spinach is wilted and onions are soft. Transfer mixture to a medium-sized bowl.
To the mixture, add quinoa, dill, salt, bread crumbs, eggs, and goat cheese crumbles. Gently combine all ingredients.
Add 2 Tbsp. olive oil to the skillet (it may be necessary to rinse the skillet from the previous use), and heat oil at medium heat. Once oil is hot, drop the quinoa mixture in and flatten to form cakes of desired size and thickness.
Allow cakes to cook on one side for 1-2 min before flipping. Once cakes are golden-brown on both sides, remove from pan. Serve cakes hot, with lemon dill dipping sauce.
Recipe for Lemon Dill dipping sauce
- 1 cup Chobani (or any brand) non-fat plain greek yogurt
- 2 tsp. dill
- 1 tsp. chives
- 1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
Combine all ingredients and refrigerate sauce until ready to serve.