Vegetarian cooking: baked quinoa cakes with tossed salad

I have to give credit to Fran Drescher for this recipe – I got it off her Cancer Schmancer feed on Facebook.

I’m always looking to make vegetarian dinners more interesting, and my partner once described my dishes as “porridge” so I was looking for something new and interesting to do with ingredients around the house, so I decided to alter these great quinoa cakes for dinner. The original recipe suggests frying these cakes in grape seed oil – I decided to bake them because I prefer the low-fat way benefits of baking, and I also don’t know where I can buy grape seed oil.

Baked quinoa cakes

Ingredients:
1/2 cup of quinoa
1 cup of water
1/2 grated zucchini
1/2 grated carrot
3 green onions, chopped finely – both the green and white parts
A splash of egg substitute
1/4 cup of cornmeal
Pepper
Lemon pepper
A generous handful of chopped parsley

Tomato sauce:
1 small can of tomato sauce, with no salt added
2 cloves of garlic, minced finely
1 shallot, minced finely
Chili powder or taco seasonings.
Olive oil
butter (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 and line a baking sheet and spray with cooking spray, and set aside. Prepare the quinoa according to the package. Make sure when you’re finished that there is no water left – you’ll need the quinoa to be as dry as possible. Once the quinoa is finished, set aside and let cool.

In a mixing bowl, mix the grated zucchini, carrot, green onion and quinoa and mix well. Add the egg substitute (it’ll act as a good binder), and mix, and then sprinkle the cornmeal, a little at a time and mix until the mix is a thick, pappy mess that’ll hold together. Add the pepper, lemon pepper, and parsley and mix well. If the mixture is too sloppy and wet, add more cornmeal.

Using an ice cream scoop, spoon out the mixture – you should get about 6, decent-sized cakes. Set on the baking sheet and throw in the oven and bake for about 20 minutes – check after 15 to make sure that the cakes aren’t burning. If they’re getting to brown, lower the heat and carefully tent the sheet with aluminum foil (you’ll want to tent the baking sheet, because the cakes may not be firm enough yet for you to cover them tightly, and they may come apart if you cover tightly – phew…)

While the cakes are baking, heat some olive oil in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When the oil is shimmery, add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, and then add the shallot and cook, stirring constantly until the shallot softens – about 3 minutes. Add the chili powder or taco seasonings and mix and cook for another 3, 4 minutes to allow for the seasonings to bloom. You might want to add butter if you’re worried about the garlic burning. Pour in the sauce and bring to boil, and lower the heat to low and simmer for about 20 minutes – your sauce should be finished at about the same time as your cakes.

While the cakes and sauce are cooking, you can put together the tossed salad.

Tossed salad:
1/2 cup of chopped spinach
6 cauliflower florets, chopped
6 broccoli florets, chopped
3 green onions, chopped – both the white and green parts
8 cherry tomatoes, halved
4 baby carrots, shredded
Pepper
Olive oil
2 tbl of shredded romano cheese

Mix together the vegetables and grind some pepper. When you’re ready to serve, drizzle the oil and sprinkle the cheese.

When the cakes are done carefully remove them from the oven – I served 3 per person. Spoon the tomato sauce over each cake. Serve with the tossed salad.

Oh, and enjoy.

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