Recipe: JC-Approved Gluten-Free Quinoa Burgers


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We are currently about 60 minutes south-east of Nashville at Yellow Bird, a lovely “art farm” in the process of becoming a retreat center. Yes, exactly, it is right up our alley!

David Wood, the director of Yellow Bird is a vegetarian and crafted such wonderful meals the first few days that JC made nary a whisper about taking a meat enhanced meal or two in the Schwartz. However, on the third day came the: “You’ll cook tonight?” I knew I had to come up with something really stellar – both delicious and hearty. I had spied a box of quinoa on the fridge and even though JC doesn’t really like quinoa, it just stuck. I thought burgers might do the trick so I turned to Martha. And And a few others.

To make matters a little more complicated, I’ve decided to try going gluten-free for a while to see if that helps my minor thyroid condition. (Read this very interesting article about thyroid, diet and exercise.) All of the recipes I researched called for either bread crumbs or flour. I think the gluten helps the burgers stick together so I substituted beans, sorghum flour and flax meal and guess what? The quinoa burgers turned out great! Even JC was super impressed!

If you make these, let me know how it goes!

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • 8 ounces mushrooms – Portobello, shitake, crimini, etc, stems removed
  • 12 oz cooked Great Northern or other soft skinned beans, these should be slightly wet and mushy
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/4 cup minced shallot (1 large shallot) or onion
  • 1/4 teaspoon red-pepper flakes or 1 fresh jalapeno minced (add more if you like things spicy!)
  • 3/4 cup red quinoa, cooked according to package directions (2 cups cooked) (the red quinoa makes this veggie burger look like a real burger, but you can use any color of quinoa.)
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce, tamari or Bragg’s (feel free to add a bit more if you like umami!)
  • 1 teaspoons coarse salt (you can add more after cooking if you need more salt!)
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cups sorghum or garfava flour
  • 1/2 cup ground flax meal (this is the magic ingredient!)

COOK’S NOTE:  These patties are softer than a traditional veggie burger. The pan-searing helps the quinoa burger hold together and forms a crisp crust.

How To:


Amazingly hamburger-like!

  1. Finely chop mushrooms or chop in a food processer and transfer to a bowl.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add shallot or onion and red-pepper flakes or jalapeno, and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat, and add quinoa, beans, soy sauce or Bragg’s and salt. Season with pepper. Transfer to a bowl. Stir the mixture and give it a good once over with a potato masher. Let cool completely. (If you’re in a rush, stick the bowl in the freezer for 10-15 minutes. Just make sure your bowl is metal or otherwise shatter proof!)
  3. Stir in egg, cheese, flour and flax meal. Mash again. Cover, and refrigerate until cold and firm, about 1 hour.
  4. Heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat

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    . Shape mixture into six 1/2-inch-thick patties, pressing firmly. Cook in batches until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 minutes per side.

  5. You can serve these on hamburger buns like a regular burger with mustard, mayo, relish, tomato, pickles, onion, or cheese or you can have it on a bed of greens like I did. For some reason, these are especially nice with a hearty green like chard or kale dressed simply in salt, pepper and apple cider vinegar and thick slices of real tomatoes.
  6. If you want to get fancy, use the serving suggestion. You will need:
  • whole-wheat buns
  • Yogurt-Garlic Sauce (see recipe below)
  • 1 cup radish sprouts, or other fresh sprouts
  • 1/2 English cucumber, peeled and cut diagonally into 1/4-inch-thick slices

Wipe pan clean, and return to medium heat. Brush cut sides of buns with oil, and heat buns, cut sides down, until toasted, about 1 minute.


Yogurt Garlic sauce


  • 3/4 cup Greek yogurt
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon salt-packed capers, rinsed and chopped
  • 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse salt
  • Freshly ground pepper


  1. Combine yogurt, parsley, capers, garlic, and salt in a medium bowl. Season with pepper. Cover, and refrigerate for up to 1 day.

About Anastasia King Jaress

Anastasia is a former media producer who hit the road to sustainability in April 2013 with her husband JC and Mattie, the dog. She writes about food, community, sustainability, travel, family and the myriad questions that boggle them.

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