It’s hard to believe there is no meat in these little fritters. You can substitute couscous or freekah for quinoa.
150g button mushrooms, chopped finely
300ml cold water
4 tablespoons olive or rapeseed oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 spring onion, chopped finely
2 slices white bread, whizzed to breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon Za’atar (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme or Herbes de Provence)
1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon coriander seeds, toasted and lightly crushed
1/2 teaspoon sumac (optional)
1/2 teaspoon dried mint
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds (optional), toasted
Zest of 1 lemon and juice of 1/2 lemon
150g fresh Parmesan or Cheddar cheese, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1. Cook the quinoa with the mushrooms in the 300ml of cold water: bring the water and grains to the boil, turn the heat down to low, put the lid on and cook for 15 minutes or until the grains are soft (add boiling water if you need to but the mushrooms should give off liquid). Drain the quinoa using the saucepan lid, then fluff it up with a fork, put a piece of kitchen towel on top of the grains, put the lid back on and leave the pan off the heat so the grains can dry out and cool a little.
2. While the quinoa is cooking, fry the garlic and spring onion in 1 tablespoon of olive oil until soft. Place in a large bowl with the breadcrumbs, Za’atar, cumin seeds, coriander seeds, sumac, dried mint, mustard seeds (if using), lemon zest and juice, cheese and egg. Season well with salt and black pepper (if you are unsure about seasoning, fry a little of the mixture in hot oil and taste and adjust the seasoning). Mix until combined.
3. To cook the fritters: heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a non-stick frying pan. Mould the mixture into 2 inch patties and fry in batches for 3-4 minutes on each side until golden. Keep warm while you fry the rest, adding the rest of the olive oil as you cook them.
Recipe note: You can make the fritters a day ahead and keep them covered in the fridge.