In an effort to eat more healthily, we kicked rice to the curb and started eating quinoa. We’ve had the grain before, but, my husband tends to go overboard with new things, so he went to Costco and picked up a 5 lb bag of the thing.  Since I hadn’t used it since he purchased it, he kept saying “You know there’s quinoa in there.”  Before I actually made a meal using it, I retorted with “Find a recipe, and cook it.”  I mean really, you know it’s in there, so cook it! LOL

Anyway, my first meal that included quinoa was Quinoa Cakes with an Eggplant-Tomato Ragu & Smoked Mozzarella.  When I told my chef sister I was making that she said “You’re fancy, huh?” It’s sort of an inside joke, so you may not find it funny.  To my husband’s surprise, he loved it.  He even went back for seconds.  As for mini me, she loved the smoked mozzarella and the quinoa cakes.  

For quinoa cakes
2 1/2 cups/12 oz/340 g cooked quinoa, at
room temperature
4 large eggs, beaten
1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
1/3 cup/.5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh
1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup/.5 oz/15 g freshly grated Parmesan
or Gruyère cheese
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup/3.5 oz /100 g whole grain bread
crumbs, plus more if needed
Water, if needed
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or
clarified butter
Note: Quinoa cakes can
be made a day ahead.  Actually, they
taste better the next day.
Make quinoa cakes: 

1. Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic.
2. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture.
At this point, you should have a mixture you can easily form into twelve 1-inch/2.5cm thick patties.
3. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, add 6 patties, if they’ll fit with some room between each, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned.
4. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until the patties are browned.
5. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second sides for 7 minutes, or until golden.
6. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties.

For topping
1 1/2 pounds eggplant, cut into
1/2-inch cubes
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons finely chopped garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup grape or cherry tomatoes,
1/2 cup drained bottled roasted red
peppers, rinsed and chopped
3/4 cup water
1 tablespoon chopped flat-leaf
1/4 pound smoked mozzarella, diced
(1 cup)

Make topping while quinoa cooks and

1. Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon salt in a colander and drain 30 minutes. Squeeze
handfuls of eggplant to extract liquid, and then pat dry.
2. Cook eggplant, onion, garlic,
oregano, and 1/4 teaspoon each of salt and pepper in oil in a 12-inch heavy
skillet over medium heat, covered, stirring occasionally, until softened, about
5 minutes.
3. Stir in tomatoes, roasted peppers,
and water and simmer, covered, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is very
tender and mixture is thick (if dry, thin with a little water), about 10

To serve:
So, my husband plated this dish.  It isn’t at all pretty. Men, right?
1. Return eggplant ragù to a simmer and stir in parsley and half of mozzarella,
then simmer, stirring, until cheese just begins to soften, about 30 seconds.
2. Spoon over quinoa cakes, then
sprinkle with remaining mozzarella.
Other quinoa recipes I’ve made include: quinoa salad with sweet potato and kale, quinoa in oatmeal, and quinoa salad with black beans. 

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