This dish was born out of the necessity to use up some leftovers and it turned out to be a hit, so I’m sharing it with you today.
I had both black rice and quinoa in the refrigerator from previous meals and since I had cooked them both in a half water half veggie broth, using them for a breakfast porridge or pudding was out of the question. I also wasn’t in the mood for a simple side of grains with lunch and wanted something a little more fancy yet simple to prepare.
I vaguely remembered a recipe for rice patties on the back of a box of Black Rice I bought some time ago (I can’t remember the brand name since I normally purchase a different brand), but since I didn’t have it on hand I decided to improvise.
The thing is, I’m not a huge fan of recipes and never have been. Wait a minute, I’m running a recipe blog here, so let me rephrase that. Recipes are fantastic, they really are, I’ve just never been a huge fan of following a recipe exactly as it is written. I’ve always enjoyed being creative in the kitchen and I honestly can not recall a time when I made a recipe exactly as it was.
In the beginning, this resulted in many failed attempts at cakes, cookies and other baked good. But over time, I’ve learned how to combine and incorporate ingredients to ensure success. Cooking on the other hand is a bit different from baking, and there’s a lot more room for improvisation. I’ve had failures here too in the past, but as I’ve honed my cooking skills, outright failures are now far and few between. Granted, it doesn’t work out as planned all the time, but I’m usually able to produce something edible if not tasty.
I sometimes use recipes for inspiration and as spring boards for ideas and other times I just improvise completely. I start with a vague idea of what I want to make, and I build from there. Sometimes I know what I want the end result to be before I get started, sometimes it comes to me throughout the process as I add a pinch of this and a dash of that.
So, the mixing began with leftover grains on hand, and the addition of shredded zucchini, shallots, garlic, fresh basil, a squeeze of lemon juice, a pinch of salt and pepper and flax meal goo to hold it all together. To add some crispiness, I rolled the patties in fine cornmeal before baking them.
The result was a hearty rice patty that could be served as an appetizer, side dish, or a light main. I decided to top it with a creamy and refreshing Basil Sauce and we had it twice in one day. As an appetizer for lunch and then again for dinner with some steamed veggies and spring greens.
I also whipped up some creamy basil sauce to top the cakes so I’m sharing that recipe too.
Black Rice, Quinoa and Zucchini Cakes
These cakes make a great use of leftover grains. While I used black rice and quinoa, you could use any leftover grain on hand including short or long grain brown rice, millet, brown basmati or jasmine rice, red rice, wild rice, or a combination thereof.
- 1 C Cooked Black Rice
- 1 C Cooked Quinoa
- 2 Medium Zucchini, shredded
- 1/2 Lemon, juice of
- 2 Tbsp Shallots, finely diced
- 1 Clove of Garlic
- 2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Basil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- 2 Tbsp Flax meal mixed with 6 Tbsp of water
- Fine Cornmeal for coating (about 1/3 cup)
- Add flax meal and water to a small bowl, mix and set aside for about 10 minutes, until thickened.
- Shred zucchini into a medium size bowl, add a pinch of salt and massage it into the zucchini. Let rest for about 10 minutes until the zucchini starts to lose it’s water. Drain and squeeze out excess water. Set aside.
- Combine black rice and quinoa in a medium size bowl. Mix and slightly mash them together with a fork.
- Add zucchini, lemon juice, shallots, basil, salt and pepper and mix well to combine.
- Add flax mixture and mix well to combine.
- Divide into six equal size cakes/patties, and roll in fine cornmeal to coat.
- Place on a parchment paper lined baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven, and let cool slightly.
Serve with Creamy Basil Sauce (recipe below)
Creamy Basil Sauce
- 3 Tbsp Vegan Mayo
- 1 Tbps Rustic Dijon Mustard
- 2 Tbsp Chopped Fresh Basil
- A splash of Umeboshi Plum Vinegar, to taste
- Water, if needed to liquify the sauce
- Mix vegan mayo and dijon mustard together in small bowl.
- Add a splash of Umeboshi Vinegar to taste, based on how salty you want the sauce.
- Add water if needed to liquify the sauce. Don’t add too much water, just a few drops at a time until you get the consistency you’re looking for.
- Add 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh basil and stir to combine.
Serve over Black Rice, Quinoa and Zucchini Cakes (recipe above)