Quinoa has been a staple crop in the Andes region of South America for several thousand years. Held sacred by the Incas, it is thought by many to be a whole grain but it is actually an edible seed. It has a high protein content and provides all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is cholesterol-free, gluten-free, and since 1999 has been confirmed as being kosher for Passover.
Quorn or textured vegetable protein (TVP) is a variety of meat-free mince. It is extracted from the fungus Fusarium venenatum and is popular with many vegetarians because of its high protein and low-fat content. TVP has no particular flavour so must take the flavour from other ingredients. If gluten, or wheat intolerance, is a critical factor, check packages carefully because many producers use wheat in the manufacturing process.
In this recipe, you have the choice of using gluten-free breadcrumbs or quinoa to bind the mixture. Burgers made with breadcrumbs tend to be firmer and hold together slightly better than those made with quinoa. The same mixture can also be used to make a vegetarian ‘meat’ loaf.
Ingredients – Serves Four
- 200g meat-free mince
- One small onion, finely chopped
- Half teaspoon chilli powder or half a chilli finely chopped
- Pinch of paprika
- A few coriander leaves finely chopped
- 100g gluten-free breadcrumbs or 70g of dry quinoa
- One vegetarian stock cube to be crumbled into the mixture
- Three tablespoons tomato purée
- One or two eggs
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Vegetable oil for cooking
Method One – Burgers
If you decide to use quinoa, cook it first. Rinse it thoroughly and place in a medium saucepan. Cover with cold water, bring to the boil and cook for 10-15 minutes. It is ready when it looks as if each seed has grown a minute tail. Drain well.
Place all ingredients (excluding eggs) in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.
Beat one egg and add just enough to allow the mince to hold together. Add the second egg if the mixture seems too dry. The quinoa burgers will be very moist and fragile and will probably need less egg. Handle with care!
Divide the mixture into eight patties. Heat the oil and carefully place the patties in the pan. Use a spatula to flatten them to the desired thickness. Allow to brown and turn to cook the other side.
Delicious hot or chilled – serve in a gluten-free bap with a side salad or whatever else you fancy.
Method Two – ‘Meat’ Loaf
Heat the oven to 150ºC, 300ºF, Gas 2
Prepare the mixture as above, but instead of making patties place the mixture into a suitably sized oven-proof container and bake for about 40 minutes.
Good either hot or cold. Slice and serve with anything you like.