Based on a request from one of my vegetarian friends, I wanted to try making something fun she could eat. Her one request was that it involved quinoa as it “is one of the only non-animal sources of B12 for a vegetarian.”
Since quinoa rotates through her meals at least once a week, I was determined to think of something cool for it. I’ve also found that most quinoa recipes come in the form of salads, or simply warm but loose as a grain, so I played with what shape it could make.
My thought on vegetarian food is that if there isn’t meat to give that savory sense of taste, I’d use every flavor and texture combination possible for this dish. I wanted something satisfying. What’s my definition of satisfying?
It’s something that touches all of the bases. Is it salty? Sweet? What about crunchy?
I gave myself requirements.
There had to be a variety of textures. I wanted there to be a substantial chew, something hearty. There had to be crispiness and creaminess. There had to be a punch of flavor- which is why I went the Moroccan route. It’s spicy and sweet. There was that umami element there that would replace the savory aspect of meat.
So Julia, this is for you girl!
- 1 ½ c. quinoa, cooked
- 1 egg
- 3 tbs. flour
- 2 tbs. raisins
- 1 tbs chopped mint
- ¾ tsp. cumin
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- Pinch allspice
- Pinch nutmeg
- Pinch cloves
- Pinch ginger
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 cups kale, stalks removed
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Enough water to generously fill pan
- 1 tbs. white vinegar
- However many eggs you want
- Dollop of sour cream optional for topping.
*Spices are relatively optional based on availability- however cumin and cinnamon MUST be included.
Mix all the ingredients.
Form palm sized disks, about three tablespoons a handful. Make solid pressing movements, the binding can be a bit loose. Worst case, press back together when cooking.
Pour a generous amount of oil in pan, enough to coat the bottom. Drop cakes in pan, press slightly with spatula to create solid flat bottom. Cook till golden on both sides. Remove to paper towel lined plate. Set aside.
Drop kale and garlic in remaining oil. Cook till tender, but not soggy. Season to taste.
Pour water and vinegar in saucepan. Make sure there is enough water that the egg when dropped does not come close to the bottom. Gently drop egg in water, and with a big spoon, nudge and hold the egg in the water to prevent it from touching the bottom of the pan. Cook two minutes. Remove with slotted spoon.
I decided to go artsy with my plating. You do not have to use a cookie cutter to mold the kale- go ahead and just spoon in on the plate. But if you want to be like me: place a 3 inch cookie cutter in the center of the plate. Press the kale into the mold, pushing to make sure the shape stays. When full, use a spoon to push the edges of the kale down while you remove the cookie cutter from the plate. This prevents the greens from moving too much.
Start stacking. Place the quinoa cake on top of the kale. Then lay the egg on top. I wanted more creaminess, so I put a dollop of sour cream on after. Then top with whatever garnish you like and slit the egg’s side to release the creamy yolk. Or just dig in!
Fun note, if there is anyone that cannot eat eggs, you can omit the poached egg, and replace the egg in the cake with three tablespoons ground flax seed with a little water.
Let me know how yours turns out!