Quinoa Burger and Sunflower Cheese with Broccoli and Goji Berry Salad

A healthy grilling option and “more simple than it sounds.”

Chef Giovanni Guarini, formerly of The Bank Food and Drink in Pearisburg, blends Mediterranean cuisine with seasonal, local products. His recipe for quinoa burgers, sunflower cheese, and a broccoli and goji berry salad prove that summertime can allow for leisurely afternoons at the grill without feeling like you’ve overindulged—and Chef Gio makes sure to remind us that “this recipe is more simple than it sounds.”


2 + 1/2 cup cooked quinoa, at room temperature

4 eggs, beaten

1/3 cup fine-grain sea salt

1 medium onion, finely chopped

1/3 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (not “Parmesan”)

3 gloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed

1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

Combine all the ingredients together and stir with love, let sit for few minutes so the bread crumbs can absorb the excessive moisture. Try to obtain the consistency of a meat burger adding more bread crumbs if too moist or more egg if too dry. At this point you can shape 6 patties 1 inch thick. Cook them on a medium heat grill until they are nicely browned on each side (2-3 min per side).


1 cup sunflower seed soaked for at least 6 hrs

2 tbsp ume plum vinegar

2 tbsp lemon juice

1garlic clove

Put everything in to a blender and blend until you obtain a smooth cream, add water if too dry.


1/3 cup goji berries soaked for 30 min in orange juice

1lb broccoli florets, sliced as fine as you can

the zest of half an orange (organic! and well washed)

juice of 1 lemon

1/2 cup of lupini beans or chickpeas cooked

1/2 cup of any fruit you like (strawberries are great!)

2 tbsp grapeseed oil

1/2 tsp sea salt

Mix everything together and let sit for 1 hr before eating.

—Serves 3

Back to Smoky Scents and Mouthwatering Flavors for more recipes.

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