Crisp Rutabaga Rösti
with Garlicky Balsamic Spinach
Rösti—a Swiss thing—is usually a fried potato pancake, heavy on the butter. It’s classic, but can be leaden and even boring. By grating parsnips instead and adding extra flavor from Dijon and rosemary, we liven things up. We also add a secret ingredient: deliberately overcooked quinoa. When the grains have all burst and broken down, they bind everything together. Finally, crisping the cakes by running them under the broiler is a no-brainer: it takes less time and is way less greasy than frying. Just keep your eye on them, as they can go from perfect to burnt in an instant.
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- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 1 1/2 pounds rutabaga
- 1 red onion
- 6 tablespoons vegetable oil*
- 1 1/2 pounds baby spinach
- Fresh rosemary
- 4 tablespoons vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
- *not included
- **one head of garlic included in one of the meal bags
Rinse and drain the quinoa, then put it in a medium saucepan with 4 cups water and a pinch of salt; bring to a boil. Lower the heat so it bubbles gently, cover, and cook, adding water a 1/2 cup at a time if the quinoa starts to stick, until the grains are overcooked, very tender, and bursting, 25 to 30 minutes. Put in a large bowl.
Rinse, trim, and peel the rutabaga; grate it by hand or with a food processor. Trim, peel, and chop the onion. Put 2 tablespoons oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When it’s hot, add the rutabaga, onions, and a sprinkle of salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until the vegetables are tender and starting to brown and stick to the pan, 10 to 15 minutes. Peel and slice enough garlic to measure 4 teaspoons. Rinse and dry the spinach. Rinse about half the rosemary, strip the leaves from the stems, and chop enough to measure 2 teaspoons (save the rest for another use); add it to the rutabaga mixture during the last few minutes of cooking.
Heat the broiler and put the top rack 4 to 6 inches from the heat. Grease a baking sheet with 1 tablespoon oil. Stir the rutabaga mixture into the quinoa. Taste and adjust the seasoning. Using your hands, and handling the mixture as little as possible, gently form 12 small cakes by cupping a little of the mixture in your hands, then flattening it into a patty. Put the cakes on a baking sheet and brush the tops with 1 tablespoon oil.
Broil the cakes until the tops are crispy, 5 to 10 minutes, then carefully flip the cakes and broil until crispy on the other side, 3 to 5 minutes. Mix the mayonnaise and 1 tablespoon of the mustard in a small bowl. Taste and adjust the seasoning, adding more mustard if you’d like.
Wipe out the skillet, add 2 tablespoons oil and the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 or 2 minutes. Add the spinach and a sprinkle of salt and cook until wilted, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vinegar, toss, and taste and adjust the seasoning. Serve the cakes with the spinach and pass the mustard sauce at the table.