Thursday, June 2, 2011

What's for Dinner: Greek Quinoa Burgers

Quinoa. I feel so pretentious just saying it. Keen wah. Keen wah. Fun. Oh well - it's a tasty and versatile protein. So there. I've been wanting to make more with quinoa for a while now, ever since I tried and loved this quinoa and walnut stuffed red pepper recipe, which I subsequently lost. (On a side note, I'd love to make that recipe again, so if anyone knows of something that sounds like it or close to it - it had parmesan cheese as well, I think? - please let me know!)

I really have no idea how I came across this recipe, but when I saw it was a vegetarian burger with some Greek influence, I knew I wanted to try it. My husband and I thought it was fantastic. The kids liked it to a certain extent as well, but were much more enthused about the pita that came with it.

A note about the recipe: It calls for a sauce to go on top made with Greek yogurt. I didn't make it. One of the benefits of having a Mediterranean grocery story in your neighborhood (Pitaland, for those in the area), in addition to amazing pita made on site - is an equally delicious prepared gyro sauce. I took full advantage. If you do go with the sauce in the recipe below, I'd add some dried oregano to it, perhaps in place of the scallions - I think it would really add to the taste.

Greek-Style Quinoa Burgers

1/2 cup rinsed quinoa
1 medium carrot, cut in large chunks
3-6 scallions, thinly sliced
15 ounces great northern beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Coarse salt
Ground pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup plain nonfat Greek yogurt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

4 pitas (each 6 inches)
1 cucumber, thinly sliced diagonally
  1.  In a small saucepan, bring 3/4 cup water to a boil; add quiona, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until liquid is absorbed, 12 to 14 minutes; set aside.
  2. In a food processor, pulse carrot until finely chopped. Add cooked quinoa, half the scallions, beans, breadcrumbs, egg, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; pulse until combined but still slightly chunky.
  3. Form mixture into four 3/4-inch-thick paties (dip hands in water to prevent sticking). If too soft, refrigerate 10 minutes to firm. In a large nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium; cook burgers until browned and cooked through, 8 to 10 minutes per side.
  4. Meanwhile, in a small bowl, combine yogurt, lemon juice, and the remaining scallions; season with salt and pepper. Serve burgers in pita topped with cucumber and yogurt sauce.

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