Everybody is detoxing. Just mention the desire to give up sugar (that would be me) and everyone within earshot will chime in with what they are or are not eating. Vegetables top the charts, mostly raw (no, but thank you anyway) with some taking drastic action and reducing intake to only vegetables and fruits with a small amount of animal protein. Now I’m all for a Spring tonic, some nettle soup or any baby greens pureed to a creamy consistency with some ramps, baby leeks or Spring garlic is my favorite, however, nothing is peeking out of the ground yet, so we’ll stick to kale for greens, quinoa for a super-protein booster and the last of the butternut squash. We’ll consider it an end of winter vegetable detox.
Quinoa, check; colorful and aromatic veggies, check; kale and parsley, check. Smash them together, check.
Caramelized onion and the butternut squash will sweeten these patties. Some maple vinegar from Nantucket (thanks, Jeff!) splashed onto some beets, dates and red onion will add a pleasing tartness to the relish. Give your knife a good sharpen before cutting into that butternut squash. Don’t know if these protein packed patties will keep us away from the ultimate winter comfort foods, such as Cream of Potato Leek Soup or Homemade Mac and Cheese, but we can most definitely congratulate ourselves for this one. Make a double batch and freeze half for quick meals!
- 1 cup quinoa, thoroughly rinsed in cold water and drained
- 2 cups water or vegetable broth
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ small butternut squash, peeled and cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 parsnip, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 medium red onions, coarsely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 4 cups coarsely chopped kale
- ½ cup coarsely chopped parsley
- 4 eggs, from pastured hens
- 1 cup toasted Brazil nuts, finely chopped, optional
- ¾ cup Panko, breadcrumbs or quick-cooking oats
- 1 tablespoon tamari sauce or nutritional yeast
- ¼ teaspoon ground cumin seed
- ⅛ teaspoon ground coriander seed
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- Pinch turmeric, optional
- Oil for shallow frying
- Pinch Aleppo dried red pepper to garnish
- 2 beets, roasted and peeled and cut into small julienne slices
- ¼ cup dried dates, finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon finely grated Meyer lemon rind, optional
- 1 tablespoon maple or red wine vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon maple syrup or honey
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
- Place the quinoa and water in a medium-size saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Lower heat to low and simmer partially covered, for 25 to 30 minutes. The quinoa is done when it has emerged into a curlicue shape. Remove from the heat, place in a large glass mixing bowl and allow to cool to room temperature.
- Heat the olive oil, onions, butternut squash and parsnip. in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Stir frequently to prevent sticking and burning. When the onions and squash are browned and caramelized and the butternut squash is tender add the garlic, kale and parsley and cook until wilted, about 6 minutes. Save a few tablespoons of cooked red onion for the beet relish. Add the onion, squash, kale mixture to the quinoa.
- Add the eggs, Brazil nuts, Panko, tamari, cumin, coriander, salt, pepper to the quinoa and vegetables. Form into patties, place on a plate.
- Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, Place as many patties as will fit without touching. Fry until browned, turn and brown other side.
- If serving all of the patties together, place cooked patties on a baking sheet, cover with foil and place in the oven to keep hot while cooking the remaining patties.
- Place the reserved cooked red onions, beets, lemon rind, vinegar and maple syrup in a small bowl and toss to combine.
- Serve cold or at room temperature
The beet relish idea came from Denis Cotter, a fabulous vegetarian chef and cookbook writer. My favorite is Cafe Paradiso. I made one of the most memorable holiday meals: Pan-fried Mushrooms in Sage and Cider Cream with a Potato, Parsnip and Wild Rice Cake, and Beet Relish. Denis doesn’t mince words (get it?) when coming up with a recipe title. The flavors all reeeally worked together.