The first thing you should know before reading this post is that we made quinoa cakes for dinner and my picky two year old devoured them. Before we get to the recipe, here is the backstory.
My family recently came home from a Christmas trip to my home town of Chicago. My husband and I did something we haven’t ever done before, we stayed downtown overnight and had grandma watch the kiddos so we could enjoy the arctic tundra known as Michigan Avenue. We ate the biggest crab claws I have ever seen at Joe’s Stone Crab and then stayed overnight with a view of Lake Michigan at the Drake. We walked to breakfast and I sat at the table to order and I noticed that something was different: I was relaxed. I was sitting back in my comfortable chair, I could feel the heat from the nearby fire and I wasn’t telling the two year old to stop jumping. It was an amazing feeling that doesn’t happen very often. The brunch didn’t disappoint. We had these quinoa cakes with tomato sauce and a poached egg on top. It was healthy, creative, refreshing, and enjoyable at every bite. So, we decided to come home and recreate the recipe.
I made these for dinner figuring that the adults would be the only ones to eat them, that my kids would just pick at their plates and after moving things around, call themselves done. I was surprised that from the eleven year old to the two year old, everyone cleared their plates. The seven year old wouldn’t eat the poached egg, but the nine year old ate it for her, so I think that counts. This would be perfect for a Valentines Day brunch or eat it for dinner when you want something, just a little different for breakfast for dinner night, refreshing, fun, enjoyable. This recipe isn’t hard if you get some work completed earlier in the day. I cooked my quinoa and let it sit in the rice cooker and I made a batch of red sauce that I used for this dinner and play to use for another all before the bustle of dinner time.
The red sauce needs to have a bit of a kick to stand out against the quinoa cakes. I added two additional pinches of red pepper flakes when I cooked up this recipe.
You also need to know how to poach an egg:
Heat three to four inches of water in the bottom of a saucepan until boiling. Turn down the heat to medium-low and wait for the water to come to just a simmer. Add one tablespoon of vinegar (to help the egg hold its shape) and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Crack an egg in a small cup. Swirl the water with a spatula to form a mini-whirpool, then gently pour the egg into the water. The egg will look all messy then the white should fold over the top and look much better. After about three minutes, remove the egg with a slotted spoon and let it drain on a paper towel. You can poach more than one egg at a time. If this is your first time, I recommend poaching one first to get the hang of it. Pour out the water and then try again with four eggs.
- 2½ cups cooked quinoa
- 1 egg + 2 egg yolks
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- 4 cloves garlic, crushed in a garlic press or chopped finely
- ⅓ cup parmesan cheese
- ⅔ cup flour (this has to be gluten free, if you want gluten-free cakes)
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 2 cups of tomato sauce
- 4 poached eggs
- In a large bowl, combine the quinoa, egg and egg yolks and salt. Stir in the garlic and cheese. Add the flour and stir until the flour is evenly dispersed. If the mixture seems to wet, add more flour, about a tablespoon at a time. Form the mixture into 8 one inch thick patties and place on a parchment covered baking sheet.
- Heat the oil in a heavy skillet over medium heat. Add as many patties that will fit comfortably. Cook until the bottoms are a deep golden brown, about five minutes. Flip with a spatula and continue to cook the second side until it is golden brown. Remove the patties from the skillet and cool on a wire rack. Repeat with the remaining patties.
- Place two quinoa cakes on a plate and cover with the desired amount of sauce, I used about three tablespoons on mine. Top the sauce with the poached egg and garnish with fresh parsley or scallions.