We were in the mood for some Mexican food last night and I wanted to experiment with something beyond the usual burrito/enchilada/taco fare. Not that there's anything wrong with these... but for someone like me who has a wheat and corn sensitivity, I wanted to create something a little different that wouldn't compromise my health.
I found a luscious looking recipe on VegWeb.com for Black Bean Chipotle Cakes that was made with polenta as a base, and so I thought to myself, I wonder if quinoa would work as a substitute? I decided to give it a try.
The key to making the recipe a success was to add a little more cooking water than usual to the quinoa so that it would come out slightly softer than normal and clump up after cooking. [Note: This is normally referred to as "a mistake."] Then, after mixing and mashing the cooked quinoa with all of the other ingredients, I let the mixture cool in the fridge for about an hour. This made it easy to form into balls that could be flattened into thick cakes, then dipped in tapioca flour before frying. They held together nicely in a non-stick pan coated with a tablespoon or so of olive oil. The key was to cook them on medium heat until the got a golden crust before flipping them. Don't rush the process, or you'll end up with a messy pan of black bean and quinoa hash!
These came out crisp on the outside and tender on the inside. They held together well with a mix of rice flour and Daiya cheese that melted from the heat of the cooked quinoa, and then again from cooking in the frying pan. I topped them with guacamole and fresh salsa, and accompanied the cakes with a bed of mesclun greens tossed in dijon agave vinaigrette. Pretty brilliant I'd say.
The next day's leftovers went really well with crispy oven roasted chili pepper fries drizzled with Sriracha and some steamed broccoli on the side. Yum!
GF Black Bean and Quinoa Cakes
1/2 cup of quinoa, rinsed
1 cup of water
1-2 tsp cumin
1-2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup shallots, chopped fine1 15 oz. can of black beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup Daiya pepper jack vegan cheese
3 green onions, chopped
1/4 cup brown rice flour
1/2 cup tapioca flour for dredging
2-3 Tbl olive oil for frying
In a medium sauce pot, combine quinoa, water, cumin, chili powder, sea salt, 1 clove minced garlic and 1/4 cup shallots. Cover, bring to boil, then lower heat and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender. Pour cooked quinoa into bowl on top of shredded cheese and black beans, then add green onions, remaining minced garlic and shallots, and rice flour. Stir together, mashing ingredients as you mix. When everything has been combined, place bowl in refrigerator to cool for approximately one hour. Remove cooled quinoa mixture and form into patties using a 1/2 cup measuring cup to scoop out equal portions. Flatten to about an inch thick, then lightly dredge in tapioca flour. Heat a nonstick pan over medium heat and test with a drop of water to be sure it sizzles before adding oil. Then add enough oil to thinly coat bottom of pan and fry quinoa cakes for 10-15 minutes on each side, or until lightly browned and crisp. Serve immediately topped with salsa and guacamole.