Broccoli Quinoa Patties
a deliciously thrifty way to use up broccoli stalks
Originally published November 2017
I’ve forever finding ways to use up every morsel of food that comes into the house, and broccoli stems have the potential to be a big culprit of food waste. Slaws and soups are easy ways to put them to tasty use, but my girls are not fans of either. Honestly, some nights I wonder why I even bother to cook (insert cranky mom face here), but as we know by now, eating and cooking are more about feeding our emotional hunger, and I love sitting down to a homemade meal with them every evening.
The idea for these Quinoa & Broccoli Patties was inspired by the frozen food aisle of all places. I’d bought some Dr. Praeger’s broccoli pancakes recently. While I’m known for fresh-cooked hot lunches, it’s good to have an easy back up for busy mornings. I knew Isabella would be a no-go here. She loves broccoli, but has her limits. Virginia was the intended recipient. The morning I heated them she commented how good they smelled. That’s as far as her praise went. She came home hungry that day, and said they didn’t taste nearly as good as they smelled.
All the while, the gears in my development brain kept turning. She was obviously open to the idea of a broccoli pancake—could I make something she’d like, that would also tempt me enough to eat them?
These Quinoa & Broccoli Patties were a homerun but they were initially met with some resistance.
The night I brought them to the table, she raised an eyebrow. Isabella almost flipped the table because I’d written Pork Fried Rice on the blackboard menu for dinner that night. I assured her fried rice was in the works, too. Neither of them like quinoa, so while the expectation for Isabella tasting them was lower than low, I still had high hopes for Virginia.
And I was right. She approached the first bite with a lot of skepticism. And then had a Green Eggs & Ham moment, eyebrows raised again, this time with happy surprise, as she exclaimed, “wow, these really are good, mommy!”
Victory was mine as she dove in her second patty. She urged Isabella to taste a bite, and her sister obliged, then immediately chased it down with a tall glass of water. No sweat for me, since I hadn’t expected her to even try them.
It might seem tedious to first sauté the broccoli, carrots, and onions, but I think they add an extra layer of flavor that just adding them to the mixture raw wouldn’t. I justify this extra step because at least the same pan is used to cook the formed patties, so there are no extra dishes to wash.
I went light on the cumin, so it’s more of a whisper here. If you want really bold flavors, up the cumin to ½ teaspoon, and I think red pepper flakes, or even smoked paprika would be nice here. I might try them this way next time I make a batch. Best part? These taste amazing hot or at room temperature, so take them straight from the fridge, and pack them in your kiddo's lunchbox—or your's if you bring lunch to work, as I do on days when I substitute teach. On one such occasion one of my kindergarten students asked what I was eating, and said "I love quinoa!" I offered half a patty, and he loved it, which was the proverbial icing on the cake.