Fish Food — Quinoa Part 1


This burger made from quinoa is a healthy alternative to a meat or game burger.

The food buzz around my office this week is that of comfort food, particularly carbohydrates. I have heard much talk of baked goods, bread and pasta. I can only deduce that our recent weather change is the main factor causing this shift away from lighter fare toward warm, comfort foods. I am also not immune to this inverse relationship between drop in temperature and carbohydrate cravings.

This fall, I will provide three different quinoa recipes: a burger, a burrito and a salad. After much experimentation with quinoa, I have found it difficult to exclude any of these delicious quinoa options for a quick, easy and healthy meal.

Like many, when locals and tourists alike ask me about a restaurant in Jackson, my reply is “ … the (game/beef) burger is great!” We Wyoming folk are proud to eat buffalo, elk, antelope and beef. I LOVE wild game burgers, especially to survive our nine-month winter. But a girl can only take so much.

Ever considered a good quinoa burger? I know that many of you just stuck your tongue out at this question. However, a great grain/veggie burger is a healthy way to get your nutrients and still feel satisfied. It also provides your body a digestive “break” from breaking down animal protein.

Part 1: The Quinoa Burger

The quinoa burger is a healthy alternative to the usual and much-loved game burger. I propose that everyone begin to embrace quinoa (Keen-wah), not just those with gluten allergies.

Until I discovered red quinoa, I was not convinced of the tastiness of this grain, either. After my most recent delicious and healthy meal at The Kitchen involving trout, quinoa and red cabbage, my appreciation for this supergrain has been reinvigorated.

The United Nations has just proclaimed 2013 the International Year of Quinoa. In honor of that, I encourage you all to get a jump-start, and begin eating quinoa at LEAST twice per week, even if you cannot pronounce it. Quinoa is also called an “Ancient Grain,” and was considered a sacred grain by pre-Colombian Andean civilizations. It is actually a “pseudocereal” rather than a grain, and has relations to spinach, Swiss chard and beets. Its many health benefits include some of the following:

  • Contains Vitamin E, Iron (aids brain function)
  • Complete Protein Source (great for vegetarians)
  • High in Fiber (aids in lowering cholesterol and preventing digestive disorders)
  • High in Calcium (lactose-free source)
  • Balances blood sugar (prevents 2 p.m. energy crash/sugar cravings)
  • Anti-Inflammatory (aids in tissue recovery post-workout)
  • Gluten-free (great for those with gluten intolerance)
Open-Faced Mediterranean Quinoa Burgers


  • 1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • -1/4C aged balsamic vinegar
  • -1 large egg
  • -2T-3T flour
  • -1 C cooked quinoa
  • -1/2 red bell pepper, finely chopped
  • -½ c Kalamata olives, roughly chopped
  • -1/2 Portabella Mushroom, roughly chopped
  • -2 t dried basil
  • -1 t dried oregano
  • -8 sundried tomatoes
  • -2 T pine nuts
  • -3 cloves garlic
  • -1/4t salt
  • -1/4t pepper
  • -6 T Olive Oil
  • Burger Fixins’:
  • -Ciabatta Bread
  • -Tomato thinly sliced
  • -Fresh Basil Leaves
  • -Fresh Spinach Leaves
  • -Goat Cheese


  • Cook Quinoa as directed.
  • Sauté pine nuts and garlic in 1T olive oil 1.5 min or until slightly browned.
  • Puree garbanzo beans, basil, oregano, salt pepper, pine nuts, garlic, sundried tomatoes and balsamic vinegar in a food processor, set aside.
  • Sauté Portabella in 2T olive oil 2 minutes or until browned.
  • Next, combine red pepper, olives, egg, and contents of food processor. Add in cooked quinoa, portabellas and mix.
  • Add 2T flour, mix well. If batter is still not sticking add a bit more at a time until it becomes sticky.
  • Refrigerate mixture for 30 minutes.
  • Form your patties into rectangles, place 2-3T olive oil in pan, and cook over Medium-Low Heat on each side for about 4 minutes.
  • Slice Ciabatta loaves in half, and cut into rectangles to match your patties. Toast and drizzle with olive oil lightly.
  • Place a thin tomato slice, 2-3 fresh basil leaves, 4-5 spinach leaves and goat cheese on toast. Top with quinoa burger.
  • Enjoy!

*Gluten Free Option- Place burger on a mixed bed of spinach and arugula.


About Author

Stacy owns Fisher Fitness, a personal training studio in Jackson, WY. From her meat and potatoes upbringing in the Midwest, Stacy has been on a lifelong cooking journey to create healthy foods that don't taste "healthy" to better counsel her personal training clients. She has since then tasted, tested, passed and failed many recipes. It brings her great joy when her clients realize that food can taste delicious without butter. Stacy is completely incapable of measuring ingredients or baking, holds infamous sushi parties, and would eat buffalo short ribs everyday if her body allowed.

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