Dana’s Quinoa Patties with Root Vegetable Tops are protein-rich, vibrant green patties of cooked quinoa with a brilliant salty tang from lumps of gooey feta. Double the batch to stock your freezer with these simple and healthy patties. Serve as they come with tahini dip, or stuffed into flatbread with a fresh tomato salad. These patties are Kosher for Passover and absolutely delicious.
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Tell us about yourself, Dana!
I grew up on the outskirts of Chicago and studied aerospace engineering before joining the Navy. Now I’m at at-home mom, and my husband is in the Navy so we bounce around all over the US. We currently reside near Washington, DC, and love exploring the city and neighborhoods.
My version of relaxing is gardening or planning a garden – and yes, I love to grow what I eat. As many veggies, fruit bushes, herbs, and spices as I can. I planted saffron bulbs and I’m hoping they come up this year. Sumac is on my list to plant this year. Although I haven’t been successful with cumin yet, I’m giving it another go. I did grow cardamom when we lived in Hawaii, but unfortunately I just can’t grow that here!
I explored chocolate growing, harvesting, and making when we lived in Hawaii and it’s a delicious habit to stick with. My favorite chocolates are Hawaiian because I can taste different “vintages,” different crop pickings from different seasons and see how they vary and their underlying tones. In general I eat too much chocolate….but then again…what is too much?
My children are in a Dual Language Program at school and half their classes are in Spanish. This has inspired me to re-learn and I’m really enjoying it.
Tell us about your passion project
Right now my kids are my passion project. I’m working with my youngest to support him with his sensory issues before he starts kindergarten next year. My sons are the apple of my eye, snuggle bunnies, and pretty darn good at working with dough already. I’m passing down Jewish culture and traditions to them, and we love making challah, cooking and baking together. I’ve been cooking and studying culinary traditions since I was their age (and making all the messes that go along with it).
You can find me on Instagram @atdanastable.
Tell us about your connection with Judaism. How is it expressed in your life in general, and in your kitchen?
I pray and say blessings over the boys daily. It makes me so happy when I hear them reciting prayers when lighting candles or before eating. We have a mixed family and we celebrate Jewish holidays (religiously and with traditions) and Christian holiday traditions (Santa, Easter egg hunts). The boys have a lot of fun with it because we encourage asking questions and let them think things through for themselves. We don’t attend shul at the moment but I hope we find a place we can call “home” in that sense soon.
How do you express your values in your home through your kitchen?
I’m a big believer in “scruffy hospitality” and helping out your neighbors. My husband was on deployment throughout my third trimester with my first child. Being alone until my husband came home 6 months after the baby was born, has left me with a big love of helping others. Especially when a friend’s spouse is traveling and they’re acting as a single parent, we love having them over. Our nextdoor neighbors had a bout of cancer, followed by Covid, followed by various operations and so we take food over to them all the time and help them with whatever we can. Our house isn’t picture perfect, it’s almost always a mess, and things are crazy, but we love having our friends over anyway.
As for food philosophies, we aim for organic and the farmers markets. We are very lucky to have at least one year-round farmers market and the kids go with me to pick out food, meet the vendors and farmers, and quite honestly to beg for cookies at the bakery booth.
The boys are becoming keenly aware of animal welfare and farming practices. We don’t spray in our garden at all and I aim to grow at least 90% of our veggies this summer. The boys already help with planting, watering, and harvesting. We buy our meat from a few farmers that really raise their animals well. They are also learning not to waste food nor limit their “likes”. I don’t expect or demand they like everything, but my older one is learning seasonality and to eat what’s bountiful when it’s in season….it’s going ok… It helps to have them at the market or store picking out the food. My younger one exists on chocolate milk and air.
What is the best thing you learned from another person about food and hospitality?
Just relax and cook a lot of food. It’s all fine and it’s all fun.
What three food items could you not live without?
Chocolate, beets, spinach.
What is your best food tip?
When you store your greens, add a damp paper towel to the container to keep them fresher longer. When you buy root vegetables, remove the tops of them before storing to keep the greens fresher and the root part fresher.
What are your go-to cookbooks?
Aside from recipes from my mom and grandparents, here are two of my favorite cookbooks for inspiration:
The Book of Jewish Food: An Odyssey from Samarkand to New York: A Cookbook
This is her first cookbook and I love all of them. This one shares vegetarian recipes that are easy for beginners to make. The recipe lists are simple, the dishes are quick to make, and the instructions are straightforward.
I don’t think this book needs any introduction! It’s a must-have for me.
The Hay Day Country Market Cookbook
This is my go-to for farmers market style recipes. Dishes include: Lemon Chevre Chicken, Maryland Crab Cake, Wilted Radicchio with Gorgonzola, Chunky Tomato and Bacon Soup, Grilled Duck with Citrus Cherry Relish.
Tell us the story of your Quinoa Patties recipe
I first learned of quinoa patties from Heidi Swanson, she’s a brilliant vegetarian recipe writer, and I’ve been making them and riffing off them ever since.
I intended to make spanakopita quinoa patties, a recipe I’d created when I had an overabundance of spanakopita filling and no more phyllo. But my favorite thing to do with quinoa patties is use up whatever is leftover in the fridge – it’s both economical and healthy, two things vital nowadays. And when I came to make these, what I had on hand was some leftover root vegetable toppings, and that’s how this recipe was born.
Any tips for making your Quinoa Patties?
You can use any greens in these – spinach is great, but so are beet tops, carrots tops, chard, etc. Really, whatever you have on hand will work – use what would normally be composted or thrown away. For this iteration, I chopped the greens and bread for crumbs, separately, in the food processor. My greens came from two scraggly bunches of carrots and one bunch of beets. (The roots will be used for soups and salads) I used 2 slices of bread to make the crumbs, but I didn’t use all of them.
These patties freeze well and I was able to stash some away during pregnancy number two – I still make and keep them handy in the freezer. I make them as I normally would, cool them, wrap well and then store them in the freezer for 2-3 months. To reheat, put them in the toaster oven or regular oven at 400 degrees for 10 minutes and flip halfway through.Print
For the patties:
2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa
1.5 cups chopped greens
2 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp savory hawaij (I like Jamie Geller’s version on Amazon)
3/4 cup to 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
4 ounces feta
Olive oil for pan frying
For the tahini dip (optional):
¼ cup tahini
Squeeze of half a lemon
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp salt
1 small clove garlic, crushed
1-2 tbsp water to thin
1-2 tbsp pomegranate syrup
Make the patties:
Combine quinoa, chopped greens, garlic, onion, eggs, salt, hawaij, and half of the breadcrumbs. Mix well. Add in crumbled feta and gently stir.
Make a patty and see if it will hold moderately well before adding in more breadcrumbs. I usually need three quarters of them. I lean toward having a moister patty because I freeze and reheat them. But adjust your mixture with breadcrumbs if it’s too wet, or water or another egg if it’s too dry.
Heat a skillet to medium and add a few tablespoons of olive oil (it will depend how large your pan is). Using a quarter cup measuring tool, scoop out some of the mixture and form into patties. Pan fry for 5-6 minutes on each side or until each patty is golden brown.
Make the dip (optional):
In a small bowl, mix together the quarter cup tahini, lemon juice, maple syrup, salt and crushed garlic.
Immediately before serving, mix in the pomegranate syrup (it will eventually turn gray, so don’t make the sauce in advance!)
Add water to thin to your desired consistency, then serve.
Keywords: quinoa, no-waste, vegetarian
If you like Dana’s Quinoa Patties recipe, check out more Community Recipes
Jewish Food Hero’s Community Recipes feature is a space for us all to share our favorites and hear from a variety of people in our community. This is an easy and fun way to get new meal ideas and learn about each other. Since you’ve read Dana’s recipe, do you feel inspired to share your Kosher recipe? Don’t forget to get in touch to share your recipe too!
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