Anytime I cook quinoa, about twice a week, I always make extra for use in stir-fry's, soups or these little patty burgers, like pictured, they are also great tapas (Spanish for appetizers, snacks or hors d'oeuvres). They're good hot or cold and a healthy quick snack when those hunger pangs haunt us, especially when traveling because they're loaded with protein and on a flight, can be taken in your carry-on. These burgers are slowly pan-fried in a touch of coconut oil, and gently pressed flat in the pan to get as much surface browning and crust as possible. I'm including my basic version, see options for suggestions on creating your own.

Ingredients—Makes 10–12 small patties

  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyere cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup gluten-free bread crumbs, plus more if needed
  • Chicken broth, as needed for consistency to easily form patties
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil or clarified butter
  • 2 teaspoons natural sweetener like Lakanto or Stevia
  • 1 tablespoon Braggs Amino Acids
Variations, ADD:
  • finely chopped chard or spinach
  • broccoli
  • asparagus (cut into small chunks)
  • cauliflower
  • carrots (shredded or diced into small strips)

NOTE: Theyfre great on their own, topped with ripe avocado or drizzled with my Salsa Jovan (published previously in February 2017 issue of TotalHealth Magazine).

Once cooked, they freeze well for up to three months if well-wrapped (I double-wrap to avoid freezer burn).

Quinoa Preparation

  • Combine the cooked quinoa, eggs, Braggs Aminos, natural sweetener like Stevia or Lakanto, and salt in a medium bowl.
  • Stir in the chives, onion, cheese(s), and garlic.
  • Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a mixture you can easily form into twelve 1-inch thick patties. I keep the mixture on the very moist side because it makes for a moist patty, but you can add more bread crumbs, a bit at a time, to firm up the mixture, if need be. Conversely, a bit more beaten egg, broth or water can be used to moisten the mixture if it begins to crumble because itfs too dry.
  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, add 4.6 patties, make sure they fit with some room between each, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned. If there is no browning after 10 minutes, turn up the heat, continue to cook until the patties are browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second sides for seven minutes, or until golden.
  • Remove from skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Alternatively, the quinoa mixture keeps nicely in the refrigerator for a few days; you can cook patties to order, if you prefer.

Cooking Your Quinoa:
Combine 2 cups of well-rinsed* uncooked quinoa with 3 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt, and 2 tablespoons coconut oil** in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, decrease the heat, simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and separates like rice does and you can see the little quinoa curlicues.

*Rinse at least three times to remove impurities and the bitter outer coating—rub grains vigorously between your fingers). I purchased a plastic Japanese rice strainer and it's perfect because of the design of the holes and, therefore, you don't lose the quinoa through larger strainers.

**I place the coconut oil in the water because not only does it help make the quinoa moist, it helps cut the carbohydrate content because of the change in molecular structure that occurs, especially for those watching their blood sugar.

Ingredient Health Benefits of Quinoa
Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") is a seed harvested from a plant species called goosefoot. Officially a seed, it is part of a group of pseudo-cereals, making it neither a cereal nor a grain, and more closely related to spinach and beets than to cereals or grains.

Historical Perspective Of Quinoa
Quinoa was an important crop for the Inca Empire referring to it as the "mother of all grains" and believed it to be sacred—the Empire was from ca.1438 AD until the Spaniards arrived in 1532 and has been in use, particularly in South America (especially Peru, Ecuador and Colombia), ever since.

Although consumed for thousands of years in South America, it only became trendy and reached "superfood status" in recent years.

Nutrient content in 1 cup (185 grams)—applies to cooked quinoa:

  • Protein: 8 grams
  • Fiber: 5 grams
  • Manganese: 58 % of the RDA
  • Magnesium: 30 % of the RDA
  • Phosphorus: 28 % of the RDA
  • Folate: 19 % of the RDA
  • Copper: 18 % of the RDA
  • Iron: 15 % of the RDA
  • Zinc: 13 % of the RDA
  • Potassium: 9 % of the RDA
  • Over 10 % of the RDA for vitamins B1, B2 and B6
  • Small amounts of calcium, B3 (niacin) and vitamin E

One cup cooked quinoa is 222 calories, 39 grams of carbs, and 4 grams of fat. It also contains a small amount of omega-3 fatty acids.

Quinoa is non-GMO, gluten-free and usually grown organically. Even though technically not a grain, it still counts as a whole grain food.

NASA scientists have been looking at it as a suitable crop to be grown in outer space, mostly based on its high nutrient content, ease of use and how easy it is to grow.

2013 was called "The International Year of Quinoa" by the United Nations (UN), based on its high nutrient value and potential to contribute to food security worldwide.

You can find quinoa and products all over the world, especially in health food stores and restaurants that emphasize natural foods.

Three are main types of quinoa: white, red and black.

Quinoa—Summary of Health Benefits

  • one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat;
  • contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains;
  • contains iron;
  • contains lysine;
  • is rich in magnesium;
  • is high in Riboflavin (B2);
  • has a high content of manganese.

Quercetin and Kaempferol—these two flavonoids are wellstudied and found in large amounts in quinoa. Quercetin content in quinoa is higher than typical high-quercetin foods like cranberries. These important flavonoid molecules have shown strong anti-inflammatory, anti-viral, anti-cancer and anti-depressant effects in studies.

Fiber—quinoa is VERY high in insoluble fiber, much more so than most other grains. One study looked at four varieties of quinoa and found a range between 10–16 grams of fiber per every 100 grams. This equates to 17–27 grams per cup, more than twice as much as other grains. The soluble fiber is about 2.5 grams per cup, which is still high.

Protein and Amino Acids—protein is made of amino acids, some of them termed "essential" because we cannot produce them and must get them from our diet. If a food contains all essential amino acids, it's seen as a "complete" protein. Many plant foods are deficient in certain essential aminos such as lysine. Quinoa is an exception because it contains all the essential aminos, therefore, an excellent source of protein containing eight grams per cup.

Low Glycemic Index—this index measures how quickly food raises blood sugar levels. Quinoa has a glycemic index of 53, which is low and therefore a great option for diabetics.

High in Iron and Magnesium—many foods are low or devoid of some minerals, especially magnesium, potassium, zinc and iron (particularly for women). Quinoa is high in all four minerals and particularly high in magnesium, one cup is about 30 percent of the RDA. One thing to keep in mind is that it also contains a substance called phytic acid, which can bind these minerals and reduce their absorption. That said, by soaking and/or sprouting quinoa before cooking, you reduce the phytic acid and make the minerals more bioavailable. NOTE: Those with a propensity to kidney stones should use caution as quinoa is also high in oxalates, which reduces the absorption of calcium.

Metabolic Health—studies found that using quinoa instead of typical gluten-free breads and pastas significantly reduced blood sugar, insulin and triglyceride levels. One study found that adding quinoa to a diet high in fructose almost completely inhibited the negative effects of fructose—great news for diabetics.

Antioxidants—quinoa is very high in antioxidants, substances that neutralize free-radicals and believed to help fight aging and many disorders. Allowing the seeds to sprout increases the antioxidant content even more.

Weight Management—quinoa is high in protein, which increases metabolism, decreases appetite, and provides feeling of fullness.

Gloria Gilbere, DAHom, PhD

Known as The Health Detective, Dr. Gloria is a Certified Dental Professional, Doctor of Natural Health, Homeopath, Certified Dietary Supplement Counselor, EcoErgonomist, Wholistic Rejuvenist and a Certified Hair Tissue Mineral Analysis Practitioner—renowned worldwide for her work in identifying and implementing natural and nutrition-based solutions to chemically-induced and inflammatory disorders, multiple chemical sensitivities, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue, and digestive disorders that defy conventional diagnosis and treatment.

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