Red Rice and Beet Cakes with Honey Mustard – Crispy, fried vegetarian cakes with a tangy-sweet sauce from Simply Ancient Grains
Maria Speck and I have managed to become good friends, even though we’ve never officially met in person (not for want of trying!). Maria is a talented food journalist and author of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals and, most recently, Simply Ancient Grains. I honestly feel that Maria and I are kindred cooking spirits. When I flip through her gorgeous cookbooks, it’s like she’s channeling my culinary imagination, combining the unique flavor combinations and ingredients that I often dream about. Her approach to cooking is both healthy and exciting, while celebrating the glory of whole grains (some less known than others) that have been with us for centuries. If you’re looking for an interesting way to integrate more healthy meals into your repertoire, I highly recommend both of her books – the photos alone will have you drooling!
This spring I was sent a copy of Maria’s newest cookbook, Simply Ancient Grains. I wanted to make something to share with all of you and after a quick glimpse at the first few pages, I knew it would be tough to choose just one. Between Red Rice Shakshuka with Feta Cheese, Minted Lamb Sliders with Pine Nuts and Currants and Light Lemon Custard with Blackberries and Pomegranate Molasses it was not an easy decision. Recently I had some health-conscious friends over for dinner and decided it would be the perfect time to try out one of the many recipes that had caught my eye. I settled on Red Rice and Beet Cakes with Honey Mustard. Not only are they filled with some of my favorite ingredients, they’re gluten free and have a gorgeous red color. After just one bite I knew they’d be making a second appearance at my Rosh Hashanah table. They would make a delicious vegetarian entree or side for the holiday, because they incorporate beets (a symbolic High Holiday food) as well as honey (for a sweet new year!).
The idea behind Simply Ancient Grains was to make cooking with whole grains a little less intimidating for home cooks. The book includes recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert. Though the word grains has become synonymous with gluten, many of the recipes (like this one) are naturally gluten-free. Recipes that aren’t very often include suggested gluten free variations/substitutions. I have a feeling you’ll want to try every recipe in her new book, but you should definitely start with these scrumptious savory Red Rice and Beet Cakes!
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Red Rice Ingredients
- 1 1/2 cups water
- 2/3 cup red rice, or about 2 cups lightly packed cooked red rice
Honey Mustard Ingredients
- 3 tbsp dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 1/2 tbsp minced gherkins
- 1/4-1/2 tsp Sriracha sauce, or more to taste (optional)
- 1 cup shredded raw red beets (about 1), using the larger holes of box grater
- 1 cup crumbled mild feta, preferably sheep's milk
- 1/4 cup quick-cooking rolled oats, plus a couple more tablespoons more as needed (for GF used certified gluten free rolled oats)
- 1/2 cup finely chopped green onions (about 3)
- 1/2 cup lightly packed finely chopped dill
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 1-2 tsp minced hot green chilies, such as serrano (optional)
- 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 lemon, cut into wedges, for garnish
You will also need
- box grater, mixing bowls, 2 qt saucepan with tight fitting lid, colander, shallow bowl or small sheet tray, plate or sheet tray, plastic wrap, large skillet
- Combine the rice and and water in a heavy 2 quart saucepan with a tight fitting lid. Bring to a boil, then cover and decrease the heat to maintain a simmer. Cook until the rice is tender and the water is mostly absorbed, about 25 minutes.
- Drain off any remaining water and spread the rice on a sheet tray to cool.
- While the rice cools, prepare the honey mustard. In a small bowl, whisk together the honey and mustard until well combined. Stir in the chopped gherkins and Sriracha. Cover and place in refrigerator until ready to use.
- Once the rice is cool, place in a bowl and add the beet, feta, oats, green onions, dill, eggs, chilies, salt and pepper. With your hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. No need to be gentle. If the mixture does not hold together, add additional oats by the spoonful until it does. I ended up adding about 6 additional tablespoons.
- Moisten your hands and, using a 1/3 cup measuring cup, form the mixture into 8 cakes about 2 1/2 inches in diameter. Place the formed cakes on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and chill for 30 minutes.
- When you are ready to cook the cakes, heat 1 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook the cakes 4 at a time, until golden brown, about 6 minutes. Gently flip the cakes halfway through cooking time. Repeat with the remaining 4 cakes.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with the honey mustard sauce.