Crapballs. I've been trying to keep up with this blog, really I have. If any of you follow me on IG, or came here from my last blog, or know me from here (is that a blast from the past, or what?!), you probably know that we've struggled with Cheech's bedtime since, I don't know, BIRTH. After almost two years of scratching our heads, trying to figure out why we had the only kid who could never manage to fall asleep before 8:30 pm, we gave up at succumbed to a 10-10:30 bedtime. This was challenging, but fine and it was manageable for us. In the past couple months, however, her bedtime has slowly been pushed back, and she wan't asleep until around midnight on most nights. This is all just to say that I've become incredibly unproductive as a result and, sadly, the first thing to suffer was this blog. Without getting too into it, we're trying to phase out naps now. She was sound asleep by 7:30 this evening, so if this can continue, I'll definitely be working on this space more often. Fingers crossed!
Anyhoo... Cheech is currently big on chickpeas, and whenever I see that my kid is obsessed with a healthy food, I try my best to add it to as many dishes as I possibly can. She's happy just eating them plain with maybe a little bit of salt sprinkled on, but that can get a little B-O-R-I-N-G for me. After using them in soups and pasta recipes, I wanted to try something new, and I remembered attempting to make gluten-free quinoa fritters for a gluten-free friend of ours a couple years back. The result was a complete failure. Without gluten to hold everything together, the fritters ended up totally falling apart as soon as they hit the hot oil in my pan.
That experience was such a disaster, that I've spent the last two years steering clear of any type of gluten-free fritter. But then a lightbulb went off in my head. Perhaps the starchiness of a bean could do the trick! Maybe some mashed chickpeas could help bind my fritters. Well, I was wrong. Very, very wrong. I quickly realized that I was going to end up with the same fiasco on my hands, so I resorted to adding some panko to remedy the situation. It all ended up working out, but I need to give these another go because now I'm determined to make them gluten-free.
Don't get me wrong, these fritters were legit. I just wish this problem was a little easier to solve. I considered omitting the egg, but I fear they might end up too dry if I do that. I suppose I could simply consult the world wide web for the best solution, but I'm the kind of person who likes to assemble IKEA furniture without the handy directions included in the box, so I'll let you come to your own conclusions when it comes to my moronic tendencies. On that note, if any of you happen to know how to fix this dilemma, please feel free to share.
Quinoa + Chickpea Fritters
1/2 medium-large yellow onion, chopped
1 1/2 c. of chopped mushrooms (I used cremini/use whatever you happen to have)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 large handfuls of baby spinach, roughly chopped
2 c. of cooked quinoa*
2 c. of cooked and drained chickpeas
1/2 c. of grated parmesan cheese
1 tbsp. of chopped chives
1 tbsp. of chopped parsley
panko bread crumbs, roughly 1 c.**
salt + pepper
oil for medium-heat frying (I used walnut oil)
*I really like to toast my quinoa before cooking it. This is the absolute best quinoa-cooking tutorial, IMHO.
**Like I mentioned, I added the panko at the end to fix the recipe, so I didn't exactly measure. I'm assuming it was around 1 cup. It could have been a little more, or a little less. Once your mixture is a good consistency for forming patties that hold together, then you're good to go.
Saute your chopped onion and mushrooms in some olive oil on medium-low heat until they start to caramelize. Add your spinach and garlic, and stir and cook until the spinach is wilted. Take your pan off of the heat, and let it cool. Using a food processor or potato masher (the latter will just take longer), grind your chickpeas into a thick and chunky paste. In a large mixing bowl, combine the quinoa, mashed chickpeas, parmesan, cooled mushroom and spinach mixture, chopped herbs, a generous amount of salt +pepper, and your egg. Bring it all together with your hands, and add the panko to help bind it. Form your mixture into little patties that are a touch smaller than your palm (I was able to get 17 total). Heat your frying oil in a shallow frying pan on medium heat. The oil is ready for frying once the fritters start to sizzle as soon as they hit the pan. Fry until golden, then flip to fry them on the other side. Make sure not to crowd your pan with fritters because it will make them harder to flip (these are delicate little guys). If you feel like they're browning too quickly, just lower your heat. Line them up on paper towels immediately after cooking to drain any excess oil. They're great served with a side salad, or just on their own with a dipping sauce of your choice.