Everywhere I look, glorious peas abound. Sugar snaps are overflowing in my local grocery store, shelling peas are perfectly packed in tiny bags at the farmers market, and snow peas have been making my fried rice dishes even sweeter. But what do you do in your home kitchen when you run out of ideas for how to fit them into your Meatless Monday meals?
This week, I’ve got a fun and filling main course that take spring peas to a saucy level. What inspired me to create this recipe was a delicious veggie burger I recently enjoyed at a food and health conference at the Culinary Institute of America in Napa, California. Those little black eyed pea patties I sampled were not only moist and flavorful, but they also had great texture and mouthfeel.
My Meatless Monday meals generally revolve around what I’ve purchased from my Sunday farmers market and what’s at home in my pantry. Quinoa and chickpeas are always on hand in my kitchen, so my idea for little veggie burgers turned into quinoa cakes before I knew it. The next question I had to resolve was “in the burger” or “on top of it?” I adore pureeing peas and adding them to my risotto and my baked goat cheese dip, so I figured I could easily make them into a delicious and bright sauce in a matter of minutes–and that’s exactly what I did!
With kids, I adore helping them discover the joy of cooking a meatless meal by taking them on an adventure and telling the story of the dish we are making together. In my case, I lucked out with a fun story about the very first veggie burger. K. Annabelle Smith, from Smithsonian.com, just ran a story about the 32nd anniversary of the very first commercially sold “VegeBurger” by Gregory Sams of the London based restaurant, SEED.
We youngsters take it for granted that eating plant based has always been in vogue, but actually, Gregory and his brother helped pave the road for a vegetarian diet to go mainstream in their country.
“Though vegetarianism has a history that dates back to ancient Egypt, in the late ’60s a no-meat diet was less common in the UK than today—it was reserved for the hippies. Growing up, Sams was the only vegetarian in his class. In the United States, vegetarianism wasn’t trendy until 1971 when Frances Moore Lappé’s bestseller Diet for a Small Planet hit shelves.”
I would like to dedicate this post to Gregory Sams for making veggies the stars of the dinner plate way back in the early 80’s, because I’m pretty sure my mom was considered a “hippy” at times when she filled my plate up with an abundance of peas and other veggies as my main course.
This Meatless Monday, I hope you’ll enjoy making our Curried Quinoa Cakes with your little budding chefs, and make sure to let the peas become the special sauce to your veggie burgers!
- Quinoa, 1 cup
- Chickpeas, 15 oz
- Plain Yogurt, organic, ½ cup
- Curry powder, 3 tsp
- Cayenne, ¼ tsp
- Cilantro, 1 cup (packed)
- Salt, 1 ½ tsp
- Egg, 1
- GF Quinoa flour (or regular AP), ½ cup
- Coconut oil, 2 tablespoons (divided)
- Shelled green peas, fresh (or frozen), 1 cup
- Plain yogurt, organic, ½ cup
- Mint, fresh, ½ cup (packed)
- Salt, ¼ tsp
- Take 5 minutes to get out all your ingredients, measuring and cooking equipment needed, and place them on a cookie sheet within easy reach.
- Wash all produce.
- Preheat oven to 425F.
- If using fresh peas for the dipping sauce, blanch them (submerge in boiling salty water for 30 seconds to 1 minute) before adding to the blender. If using frozen green peas in place of fresh, allow them to come to room temperature before placing in blender.
- Cook quinoa according to the package instructions. Let air dry on a cookie sheet.
- Drain chickpeas and rinse.
- Rough chop cilantro.
- Make the minty pea sauce by placing all ingredients in a food processor or blender and pulse until chunky. Set aside.
- Mix together chickpeas, yogurt, curry powder, cayenne, and cilantro in a food processor or blender.
- In a bowl, mix the cooked quinoa and chickpea-yogurt blend, along with one egg and the quinoa flour.
- Using a ⅓ cup measurer, make 8 portions. Roll each into a ball with your hands. Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet to rest for 30 minutes in the refrigerator, which will allow the patties to come together.
- Preheat a nonstick pan. Add one tablespoon coconut oil. When hot, add four of the patties to the pan. Gently press down with a spatula. After 2-3 minutes, flip each patty and let cook another 2 minutes on the other side. Place on a cookie sheet and set aside while you cook the remaining 4 patties in an additional tablespoon of coconut oil.
- Place all 8 patties in the oven for 5-7 minutes to finish cooking.
- Serve with minty pea sauce on the side and additional chopped cilantro or mint, as you desire.