Mexican bean and quinoa cakes

Photography by Jonathan Gregson

I wanted to include an alternative use for South America’s wonder grain (or seed, in fact), rather than the usual recipes using quinoa for salads or accompaniments. And what could be better than to combine it with one of Mexico’s staple beans to produce these mildly spiced and very healthy veggie burgers – they can be a great way to help children to eat healthily, too, though you might want to reduce the spices slightly and perhaps add some sweetcorn niblets to the mixture as well. You can also serve them in smaller patties as a starter or nibble with a soured cream or salsa dip. They freeze beautifully and can be cooked from frozen.

Serves 4
500ml vegetable or chicken stock
100g quinoa (I like to use the rainbow kind)
300g sweet potato, peeled and cut into 2cm cubes
400g tinned kidney or black beans, drained and rinsed
1 small carrot, grated 4 spring onions, finely chopped
2 medium free-range eggs
2 small garlic cloves, crushed
1⁄2 teaspoon paprika
1⁄4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (less if you don’t want any kick)
A handful of coriander
Chopped juice of 1 small lime
2 tablespoons olive oil, for frying
To serve: soured cream lime wedges (optional)

1. Bring the stock to the boil, add the quinoa and sweet potato and cook for about 10 minutes, adding the kidney or black beans for the final 5 minutes.
2. When the sweet potato is tender and the quinoa cooked, drain thoroughly and cool.
3. Put all the remaining ingredients (except the olive oil) in a bowl.
4. Add the cooled bean and quinoa mixture and, using the end of a rolling pin or a masher (I prefer the rolling pin), squash the mixture, crushing the beans and potato as you go.
5. Season with salt and ground pepper. With wet hands, form into 8 medium-sized or about 15 small cakes.
6. Put onto a plate and chill for at least 40 minutes.
7. Heat half the oil in a frying pan and gently add half the cakes.
8. Cook over a low- medium heat for about 3 minutes each side, turning them when the underside has browned.
9. Then repeat with the next batch.
10. Serve with a blob of soured cream.

This recipe can be found in Amazing Grains.

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