Thursday, February 2, 2012

Southwest Quinoa & Potato Croquettes

Lunch.  It's never really been my thing.  Of course, I love eating... but when it comes to making something for lunch... I'm always left stumped.  I don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen, but I certainly don't want to eat a sandwich (boring).

So being the ultimate procrastinator that I am... I flung myself into the unknown when on Tuesday, I barely had anything in my house to eat for lunch.  <--- this always seems to happen to me!  Thankfully, I always keep a pantry stocked with jars of bulk foods (think grains, pastas, and beans) that come in so handy for last minute meals!   I opened up my cabinets and saw the jar of quinoa (that's Keen-wa) and decided that's where I'd start.  Grabbed a cookbook that my friend gave me a couple of years ago and found a recipe that would work with the staples that I had in my house.  AND... once again... being forced to get creative was super exciting and oh my so freaking delicious!!!

Now... this post wasn't a planned post.  I have this addiction to Instagram and taking pictures of my food.  Turns out this looks just as yummy as it tasted!  So... to all my friends-- (especially) Antonia, Susan, Ryan and Tracy-- that drooled over my Instagram photo of my lunch on Tuesday... this one's for you!!

Southwest Quinoa & Potato Croquettes
(adapted from Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone)

* Bought in bulk with my own containers.

1 cup quinoa*
1 large russet potato, peeled and chopped
2 cups water or veg stock

1 small onion, diced
2 TBSP veg oil*
2 tsp paprika*
1 tsp ground coriander*
1 tsp ground cumin*
1/2 tsp dried oregano*
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup chopped cilantro or parsley
1 cup finely chopped lacinato kale (optional)
1/3 cup cheese** or mashed tofu
Sea salt, to taste
1 egg
1 cup bread crumbs

Rinse quinoa thoroughly.  In a medium pan, bring water to a boil; add quinoa and potato.  Lower heat, cover pan and simmer until all the liquid is absorbed for 12-15 minutes.  When finished smash the potatoes with the back of a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking, heat the oil in a small skillet and sauté the onion for about 2 minutes.  Then add the spices and oregano.  Once the onion has softened, add the garlic and cook for about a minute more.  Add this mixture to the quinoa-potato mixture along with parsley, kale and cheese. Check for seasonings and add salt if needed.  Add egg and mix well.  IMPORTANT:  If the mixture is too hot, wait to add the egg... otherwise you will have scrambled eggs in your croquettes!!

Divide the mixture into the portion size that you prefer.  I made 5 fairly large croquettes.  Shape each portion into an oval and press gently into the bread crumbs.  But, hey... if it's easier for you to shape these into a burger-like patty... go for it!  

To cook the croquettes, generously oil a large skillet (or grill pan) set over medium to medium-high heat.  When the oil is shimmery, add the croquettes and cook on both sides until they are nicely browned.  If you feel they are getting too dark too fast, just adjust heat as necessary so they don't burn. :)

Serve with salsa... or whatever yumminess you have on hand.

TIP:  You can use leftover quinoa to make this, just steam the potato until tender.

Variations:  A sweet potato in place of the russet potato would be AWESOME!  Also, if you like it spicy the addition of some minced jalapeño would be nice.  AND, I wouldn't let it end there.  If you're good with spices, this could easily be turned into many different variations just by changing the spices up!!

OK... it's lunchtime and I have no idea what I'm going to eat today... off to get creative! ;)

P.S. If you don't know anything about quinoa, it's considered a SUPER FOOD!!  Check it out on Mother Nature Network

**Cheese-- I buy a whole wheel of cheese.  I then shred it or cube it and store it in glass jars in my freezer.