I have craved quinoa lately. Odd as it might sound and easy as it is to make, there is no reason not to have it more often. It is grain like but not a grain, and a great protein rich substitute for rice and other grains. When I make it, I like to make extra and put it in the fridge to use for breakfast. It tastes lovely warmed through with almond milk, a spoonful or two of pumpkin, cinnamon and a drizzle of honey.
Today I was hungry for a healthy lunch. Hubby has been away all week, and when that happens, proper meals go out the window and I tend to just snack on whatever I am trialling for the blog. I have even had cake for dinner one night this week. Please tell me you have done the same. It is also unseasonably warm today, so as well as wanting to get out for a run, I wanted something light and tasty.
Also on my list of things to try was Labneh. Labneh is a strained yoghurt “cheese” that you can dip your flat bread in. It looks lovely and I decided that would be the perfect accompaniment to my quinoa patties.
This recipe makes 5 quinoa patties and enough labneh to serve with them. This makes a good-sized lunch for two, or you can make the patties as smaller snack sized patties for appetizers. I used total greek yoghurt that is already strained and didn’t strain further as you do with most labneh as I didn’t want the cream cheese like consistency. I wanted more of a dip consistency.
The labneh has spring onion, carrots, za’tar spice, sea salt, freshly ground pepper, chopped hazelnuts and good quality olive oil drizzled on top. I usually make this up and pop in the fridge for an hour before I need it, but it can be made up when you like. Add a sprinkle of sumac if you have it as well for a bit of smoky flavour. The Za’tar spice I used was a mix thyme, sesame and salt. Some za’tar contains sumac, which adds a citrus and smoky flavour as well which would work really well here.
Once cooked, the quinoa & feta patties benefit from being allowed to cool for about 10 minutes. They just taste better for some reason. While they are cooling, you have time to do all the washing up that is piled in the sink if you cook like me and save all the dishes until the end.
Serve with the labneh on the side for dipping, or these taste delicious as lettuce wraps, with the dip inside. They look like burgers and make a nice meat free alternative to burgers.