Filed Under: Lunch | Vegetarian

Quinoa Cakes

By Tessa Arias
June 20th, 2011

Served with a few handfuls of fresh salad greens and I had a simple, scrumptious, satiating meal. What could be better?

Yield: 12 cakes

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Cook: 17 minutes

Tessa's Recipe Rundown...

Taste: Nutty, slightly sweet, oniony.
Texture: Deeply crispy and caramelized on the outside, tender, fluffy and toothsome on the inside
Ease: A few simple ingredients, one bowl, one pan and less than 25 minutes if your quinoa is already cooked.
Appearance: The crisp brown crust on the outside lets you know how delectable these cakes will be
Pros: Simple, tasty, and perfect for breakfast, lunch, snack or a side. Plus you can make the mixture ahead of time. You can also toss in whatever flavoring agents or veggies you like. I added some hot sauce.
Cons: None.
Would I make this again? Already made these quinoa cakes twice.

Quinoa Cakes

This gem of a recipe was found in one of Heidi Swanson’s mesmerizing books, Super Natural Everyday. You might remember when I wrote about the book back in April when it first came out. Just try to flip through one of Heidi’s books without vowing to make nearly every recipe because they all just look so dang tasty and do-able.

The other day I found myself re-organizing my spatially challenged pantry when I stumbled across a bag of quinoa I forgot I had. Score! Unfortunately I was in desperate need of groceries and didn’t have much of anything I could throw in to make a tasty quinoa dish. That’s when I remembered this recipe. I had everything on hand and by lunch-time I had the cakes on my plate just waiting to be eaten. Served with a few handfuls of fresh salad greens and I had a simple, scrumptious, satiating meal. What could be better?

P.S. – Quinoa is pronounced “keen-wah” in case you were wondering.

How to make
Quinoa Cakes

Yield: 12 cakes
Prep Time: 8 minutes
Cook Time: 17 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Served with a few handfuls of fresh salad greens and I had a simple, scrumptious, satiating meal. What could be better?


  • 2 1/2 cups/12 oz/340 g cooked quinoa, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1/3 cup/.5 oz /15 g finely chopped fresh chives
  • 1 yellow or white onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup/.5 oz/15 g freshly grated Parmesan or Gruyère cheese
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 cup/3.5 oz /100 g whole grain bread crumbs, plus more if needed
  • Water, if needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil or clarified butter


  1. Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the chives, onion, cheese, and garlic. Add the bread crumbs, stir, and let sit for a few minutes so the crumbs can absorb some of the moisture. At this point, you should have a a very moist mixture you can easily form into twelve 1-inch/2.5cm thick patties. If your mixture is too dry, add some water or more beaten egg. If your mixture is too wet, add some more breadcrumbs.
  2. Heat the oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium-low heat, add 6 patties, if they'll fit with some room between each, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottoms are deeply browned. Turn up the heat if there is no browning after 10 minutes and continue to cook until the patties are browned. Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second sides for 7 minutes, or until golden. Remove from the skillet and cool on a wire rack while you cook the remaining patties. Alternatively, the quinoa mixture keeps nicely in the refrigerator for a few days; you can cook patties to order, if you prefer.

Recipe Notes

Note: You can use leftover cooked quinoa for this recipe. To cook quinoa, combine 2 cups/12 oz/340 g of well-rinsed uncooked quinoa with 3 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, cover, decrease the heat, and simmer for 25 to 30 minutes, until the quinoa is tender and you can see the little quinoa curlicues.
From Super Natural Everyday by Heidi Swanson
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Tessa Arias

About Tessa...

I share trusted baking recipes your friends will LOVE alongside insights into the science of sweets. I'm a professionally trained chef, cookbook author, and cookie queen. I love to write about all things sweet, carb-y, and homemade. I live in Phoenix, Arizona (hence the blog name!)

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Recipe Rating

  1. #
    Robby Verona — April 30, 2013 at 5:12 am

    People often add too much salt in their recipes without realizing it until it’s too late, but do not worry. There is a way to fix this! Add two peeled and chopped raw potatoes to the dish, and then allow it to simmer for around 15 minutes. The potatoes help absorb the extra salt. For a dish that is tomato-based, just put a few more tomatoes in and let them cook until they’re tender. These will dilute the extra salt.*”

    Our own web-site

  2. #
    Josephine Sulivan — April 26, 2013 at 2:35 pm

    Gluten is the composite of a gliadin and a glutenin, which is conjoined with starch in the endosperm of various grass-related grains. The prolamin and glutelin from wheat (gliadin, which is alcohol-soluble, and glutenin, which is only soluble in dilute acids or alkalis) constitute about 80% of the protein contained in wheat fruit. Being insoluble in water, they can be purified by washing away the associated starch. Worldwide, gluten is a source of protein, both in foods prepared directly from sources containing it, and as an additive to foods otherwise low in protein.;

    With kind thoughts

  3. #
    Mariana Glimp — April 26, 2013 at 2:32 pm

    Gluten-free fad diets have recently become popular. A 2012 study concluded “There is no evidence to suggest that following a gluten-free diet has any significant benefits in the general population. Indeed, there is some evidence to suggest that a gluten-free diet may adversely affect gut health in those without celiac disease or gluten sensitivity.`

    Most recent piece of writing on our blog

  4. #
    Deandre Primeaux — April 22, 2013 at 9:30 am

    Bulgur for human consumption is usually sold parboiled and dried, with only a very small amount of the bran partially removed. Bulgur is recognized as a whole grain by the U.S.D.A. and the Whole Grains Council. Bulgur is sometimes confused with cracked wheat, which is crushed wheat grain that has not been parboiled. Whole-grain, high-fiber bulgur and cracked wheat can be found in natural food stores, Middle Eastern specialty grocers, and some traditional grocery stores.’

    Best regards

  5. #
    CatB — March 14, 2012 at 3:07 am

    Mine fell apart when I flipped them. I added lots of fresh mushrooms.

  6. #
    Rose — December 13, 2011 at 12:12 am

    I made these tonight and they were fantastic! I started out with this slaw,… made with quinoa, rather than wheat berries. It was too big a quantity for me to finish before it would go bad, and I needed to turn it into something else. These cakes were the perfect thing. I sauteed the onion before I added it, but otherwise made them exactly as the recipe. An absolute find! Thanks for posting it and thanks of course to Heidi for such a great recipe.

  7. #
    Rhiannon — December 1, 2011 at 2:00 am

    I made these last night and ate the leftovers this afternoon! They are yummy and even my husband, who is not a big Quinoa fan, loved them! I made a red pepper aioli sauce to go with them but they are just as good on their own.

  8. #
    Meg — October 12, 2011 at 2:12 am

    I love this blog! I like how you break it out to describe taste, texture, ease, pros and cons. I haven't seen that around much. I appreciate!

  9. #
    Marissa — September 21, 2011 at 6:39 pm

    Wow! These look scrumptious! I am looking forward to trying these this week for dinner. They'll go great with the carrot soup I just made. Thanks for the recipe.

  10. #
    Annie — September 20, 2011 at 9:59 pm

    I'm planning on making these tomorrow night, and just wondering if you think panko breadcrumbs would work? Sorry if that's a silly question! Love your blog by the way!

    • #
      Robyn — February 1, 2012 at 1:48 am

      Panko bread crumbs do work! Just made them with those!

  11. #
    Eryn — September 1, 2011 at 1:51 am

    So I made these for dinner tonight with the following: subbed goat for the Parmesan, then added cucumber and sun-dried tomatoes. However, I believe the additions caused the following problem: they fell apart when I tried to flip them. Any suggestions as to how to fix this problem? All I could think of was using a food chopper to make the cucumbers smaller.

    • #
      handleheat — September 1, 2011 at 2:12 am

      Eryn, I think the issue was the cucumber added too much water content and the tomatoes could have prevented the patties from uniformly sticking together (a smaller chop might help like you suggested). You could chill the cakes before cooking to firm them up and you could try to add more breadcrumbs to counter the water content of the cucumber but I think your best bet would be to make the recipe as-is and simply top the cakes off with cucumber and tomatoes. Hope that helps!

  12. #
    Amber — August 7, 2011 at 5:06 am

    Made these tonight and they are very yummy! Thanks so much for sharing. I think I might have added a little too much onion in it. next time I will go for a small one(opposed to medium). Will make these again for sure!

  13. #
    cocidodesopa — August 5, 2011 at 5:33 pm

    I'd rather make this cakes with bulghur. We love it. But if we felt for a sauce, which one would you recommend us?

    Thanks for your answer.


    • #
      handleheat — August 5, 2011 at 10:03 pm

      I usually like to accompany these cakes with sriracha mayonnaise (3 tablespoons mayo + 1 tablespoon sriracha + 1 teaspoon lemon juice). You could also blend together avocado and sour cream for an avocado cream sauce. A lemony yogurt sauce is nice or even a ragu sauce.

  14. #
    michelle — July 21, 2011 at 3:10 am

    Any ideas on how to make these without egg? (or cheese for that matter..)

    I'm one of “those” vegetarians that believe egg is animal….and cheese just hurts my stomach, but I LOVE quinoa and am always looking for ways to make it more interesting.

    New Orleans, LA

    • #
      handleheat — July 21, 2011 at 3:25 am

      Michelle – I'm no expert on vegetarian/vegan cooking but I would suggest an egg replacer product as the eggs are really important in keeping the quinoa cakes from falling apart. As for the cheese, I'd just leave it out if it hurts your stomach. It won't make a HUGE difference. Hope that helps 🙂

  15. #
    adamhammack — July 3, 2011 at 5:11 am

    Lots of people with wheat/gluten sensitivities (me included) eat quinoa because it's a good gluten-free substitute for grains like cous cous or orzo pasta. To make this yummy looking recipe suitable for celiac and chrohns sufferers, simply use gluten-free bread crumbs. (I like Udi's brand, available at Whole Foods and elsewhere.)

    Unfortunately, the texture won't be quite as nice as the real thing, but with a little adjustment I'll be able to come have dinner with you. I'll bring good wine.

    • #
      Acee — July 7, 2011 at 3:28 am

      also unfortunately Quinoa has Saponins (soap like compounds) which have been documented to punch holes in the gut. Some in the Paleo world think its worse for the leaky gut than Gluten. Too bad because it takes pretty good

      • #
        Kat — July 11, 2011 at 1:24 pm

        You are supposed to rinse those off. They give the quinoa a bitter flavor and aren't good for you. That's why almost every recipe you see for cooking quinoa says “well rinsed” or something of that nature next to the quinoa.

  16. #
    Marty & Joan — June 30, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    Our young friend made these for supper last weekend and we loved them. Now going to make and take hiking with us — a couple of senior citizens.

  17. #
    technobeast — June 22, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    Yummy, yummy, yummy. Will do it in the next days, for sure. Thanks!

  18. #
    Linda — June 21, 2011 at 9:41 pm

    love your blog… but are you really being honest with the cons? I never really seem to find any posts of yours that don't have “cons: none.” I appreciate honesty when I'm picking a recipe, and I feel as if you're holding back… are you??

    • #
      handleheat — June 21, 2011 at 10:08 pm

      Linda – Thank you for your comment, but I'm slightly surprised that you think that! Just on my home page the post about chocolate malt cookies I wrote that they don't keep well long under “cons” and the post about the turkey burgers I wrote that they burn easily. As I've started to take this blog a little more seriously I've been more selective with the recipes I post. Nowadays I try to only post the best recipes out of all the ones I test. If a recipe has too many cons, I just won't post it because I know my readers will most likely have the same problems.

  19. #
    Candy — June 21, 2011 at 7:57 pm

    I'm so into quinoa right now and love the creativity and flavors in this recipe. Thanks for sharing!

  20. #
    natalie — June 21, 2011 at 5:48 pm

    you know a recipe's good when you make it more than once before it even gets to the blog! 🙂 these look great!

  21. #
    FoodFitnessFreshAir — June 21, 2011 at 5:38 pm

    These sound delicious! I rarely remember how well grains hold up in these kinds of cakes. I'm thinking of adding some zucchini to this.

  22. #
    Lauren @ KeepItSweet — June 21, 2011 at 10:23 am

    What a delicious option for a healthy vegetarian meal.

  23. #
    Linds@TheLeanGrnBean — June 21, 2011 at 1:43 am

    these look great! quinoa cakes have been on my list forever!

  24. #
    Nella22 — June 21, 2011 at 12:19 am

    Yum, such a fun way to dish up keen-wah! 🙂

  25. #
    Maris — June 20, 2011 at 10:51 pm

    They look great! Good call on the pronunciation!

  26. #
    Erin — June 20, 2011 at 7:12 pm

    I don't think I will ever be able to correct my incorrect pronunciation of quinoa. Regardless I think these look delicious.

  27. #
    Sonia Rumzi — June 20, 2011 at 5:54 pm

    Nice Tessa. That sounds delicious!

  28. #
    Aggie — June 20, 2011 at 4:16 pm

    I so love this recipe! I've made other version of quinoa cakes a few times and I just love having them around! This one has been flagged in her cookbook to try…your photo looks great!


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