These crunchy little discs make an ideal dinner party dish – something different and the bulk of this recipe can be prepared in advance. The roasted vegetable and basil accompaniment is a bit of a revelation; shades of summer! I’ve been making extra and having it in salads and with pasta.
The fiddliest part of this recipe is frying the dollops of quinoa as they are prone to crumbling. For starters, use as little water as possible when cooking (boiling) the quinoa and chill the cooked grains for as long as possible before frying. To help them stay together when frying, grease the inside of a round medium-large cookie cutter and pack the mixture in to about a thickness of 1 cm. Fry in plenty of oil and don’t be tempted to turn them over too early! Alternatively you can pop the frying pan under the grill to cook the other side of the fritters without having to turn them.
Ingredients (serves 4)
1 tbsp oil for roasting
2 large aubergines
4-5 large vine tomatoes
2 red onions
Fresh basil – I use a 28g bag
1 tbsp olive oil
Juice of 1 lemon
1-2 cloves of garlic (crushed/finely sliced)
1 large onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 tsp oil for frying the onion/2 tbsp for frying the quinoa
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
Juice of 1 lemon
Preheat the oven on 210(fan)/230 (conventional)
- Cook the quinoa first. Dice the onion and fry for a few minutes before adding the finely chopped/crushed garlic. Let it sizzle for a little longer.
- Rinse the quinoa well in a sieve under the tap, drain off as much water as possible. Stir into the frying onion and add the apple cider vinegar, lemon juice and a good pinch of salt/grinding of black pepper. ‘Dry fry’ the grains for a couple of minutes, stirring to make sure they don’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
- Pour in 400 ml water, turn up the heat and let the quinoa simmer with the saucepan lid off. Keep checking the water level, you may have to add a bit more if it starts sticking to the bottom of the pan. Once the grains are cooked – it takes 10-15 minutes – leave to cool, before chilling in the fridge.
- For the roast vegetables, warm up the oil in a large baking tin whilst you chop the aubergines into chunks. Give them a 10 minute headstart before adding the courgettes and peppers, cut into similar sized pieces. Roast the whole lot for around 45 minutes – add a good pinch of salt, black pepper and sprigs of fresh rosemary if you have them.
- Meanwhile, slice up the fresh tomatoes, dice the red onions finely and put in a large bowl. Mix up the marinade ingredients, pour over and leave to absorb. You can also add the (shredded) basil now, or reserve some to sprinkle over as a garnish.
- When you are ready to serve, heat up 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan (warm up the grill if you plan to use it to cook the other side of the quinoa patties – see introduction). Whisk up the eggs and pour into the chilled quinoa and grease the inside of a round cookie cutter/baking ring.
- Place the ring(s) into the oil and fill with the quinoa and egg mixture, pressing firmly down. Allow to fry for 3-5 minutes on a low-medium heat before either (carefully!) flipping over or finishing off cooking under the grill.
- Mix the tomato and basil up with the roasted vegetables and serve with the quinoa fritters.