I think it’s getting to be a dated notion that a big chunk of meat is the most essential component of any meal. But if you’re trying to eat vegetarian meals more often, sometimes it might feel like the “centerpiece” of the meal is missing. I sometimes struggle with this although I’ve been mostly vegetarian for many years, and I always marvel at how effortlessly a meal comes together when I’m serving a piece of fish. Of course it’s often fine not to have one food be the main attraction, but sometimes it’s nice to have a focal point of a vegetarian meal.
These quinoa cakes fit the bill nicely. They’re high in protein, low in effort (especially if you have some leftover plain or seasoned cooked quinoa), and their tidy presentation looks great on a plate. They could easily be served with a veggie side and/or salad for lunch or dinner. I made them for breakfast with salsa and sliced avocado, although they would also have been great topped with a fried egg. (Isn’t everything?) They’re versatile, I’m telling you. And tasty.
As usual, this is more of a template than a recipe. You can find a recipe, the one that this dish is based on, in Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day cookbook. But I say wing it. You could stuff these with veggies, make them gooey cheesy, or spice them up with hot pepper. The essentials here are the quinoa, some eggs and breadcrumbs to hold it all together, alliums and herbs for flavoring, and some cheese (or salt!) for salt.Quinoa Cakes with Cheese, Garlic, and Herbs: Start with 2-3 c. cooked quinoa in a bowl (I used leftover Quinoa with Corn, Green Onions, and Feta; that link will also give you instructions for cooking plain quinoa). Mix in 4 beaten eggs, 1/2 tsp. salt, a finely chopped onion or bunch of green onions, a few big handfuls of herbs (think chives, parsley, cilantro, basil?), some minced garlic, and cheese (I used both crumbled feta and grated Parmesan). Add 1 c. breadcrumbs, stir well, and allow to sit for a few minutes so the breadcrumbs absorb some of the moisture. Form patties about 1″ thick. (If it’s not easy to form patties, adjust the consistency with additional beaten egg or breadcrumbs.) Cook in a tablespoon of olive oil over medium-low heat until well browned (about 10 minutes), then flip and brown the second side (about 8 more minutes). Move to a wire rack and cool or keep warm in a low oven while you make the remaining cakes.
p.s. for a good looking vegan and wheat-free alternative, check out Shira’s recipe today for Quinoa Protein Bites on In Pursuit of More: http://inpursuitofmore.com/2012/03/17/recipe-quinoa-protein-bites/
I don’t eat meat every day and I think patties like these make a great alternative to a piece of meat, and you can vary the flavours so much by changing the ingredients. I haven’t made quinoa patties yet but they are on my list.
If you do make them and come up with another flavor combo you like, let me know! I always like ideas for varying a recipe.
I have never worked with quinoa, it really is time i did.. thanks for the recipe.. c
I agree, it’s time. :) It’s just such a great, flavorful alternative to rice–it has so much protein and it cooks so quickly!
Thank you for showing a new (well, new to me) way to cook with quinoa. I discovered quinoa about 10 years ago and try to prepare it regularly every month. These little cakes look really good!
This approach was new to me too! But it will definitely be a keeper around here. I liked this recipe at first because it let me use up leftover quinoa, but now I am thinking about making another pot of quinoa just to make these little cakes!
Quinoa is so versatile & filling. We love it in our household.
Gorgeous Emmy! I am posting a rather similar item today – too funny! Would love to see our two recipes side by side….yours look delish! Mine are vegan and wheat free, but I love that you took leftover grain and made it interesting and delicious. I started with eggs and breadcrumbs too! Love it! :)
We are SO on the same wavelength. :)
Love this idea! I have made millet veggie burgers before, but never with quinoa, which we all love in my family. Instead of bread crumbs, I pulverize in the blender whatever stale crackers are in the house … Kashi rosemary garlic is what I’ve got right now and I think it’ll do quite nicely :)
Great idea for breadcrumbs! I ALWAYS have stale crackers around. :) I have never, ever cooked millet. I think it’s one of the few grains I know of that I’ve never tried! (Or is it a seed?) I should really branch out one of these days.
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Fabulous use for quinoa!! These look delicious!
They really are very good, both because of the flavor and because they held together so well (sometimes veggie patties don’t, as you probably know). They’d probably travel well in lunches, also…I see more of these in my immediate future!
I pinned this recipe on Pinterest yesterday and it has been re-pinned 10 times from my page. Way to go!
Pinterest is amazing to me. I hardly look at it because I get so sucked in, but I’m glad to hear that you’re spreading the good word about these deserving little quinoa cakes! :) Thank you!
I made them last night with shredded carrots, cabbage and onion with corn meal instead of flour. Yummy!
I keep meaning to make quinoa cakes of some kind. I love quinoa, and, as you noted, the possibilities are endless. Yum!
This is the only time I’ve attempted quinoa cakes, and I will definitely be using it again! I also am going to try Shira’s variation, in my post’s p.s. above. If you make another variety, let us know so we can add the link and all try it!
This is one of my favorite recipes from Swanson’s book. Isn’t she great? I get so many ideas from her. One of my all time favorite ones is her recipe for otsu. Amazing on soba, fish, salads, everything.
That has been on my to-make list for so long! For some reason I have been hung up because my co-op has been out of black sesame seeds for months. But now that you tell me you love it, I’m just going to go with the sesame seeds I have, or the recipe from her first book! It’s always so helpful to know what recipes from a cookbook other people love, because it takes me a while to cook all the way through a cookbook myself! (Oh, right: because I don’t ever do that.) Thank you for the recommendation.
Oooh! They both are really good. I’m kind of partial to the otsu in her first book, though. It’s spicy! The black sesame one is really good too. Both are terrific on soba with julienned vegetables. They’re all great recipes though!
Have you played around with Yotam Ottolenghi’s Plenty? It’s on my list. Too many cookbooks, too little time!
Also I saw this in last week’s New York Times and totally thought about our mutual love of eggs!
That is awesome! I somehow missed it, so thank you so much for the link! I love Bittman’s graphic recipes/unrecipes. They really emphasize that cooking is more about having a good idea and making it happen than having a precise recipe and the exact ingredients it calls for.
I thought that this was so much fun! Like an egg matrix. It definitely breaks down how easy it is to come up with something delicious and nutritious without sweating!
You’re so right about vegetarian dishes lacking a main event on the plate! These would definitely be great for that.
Do these travel well? Or do they kinda crumble? We’re leaving for the beach for a few days and would love something like this that can be wrapped and taken on the go.
Either way, they look delicious!
They do travel well! In fact, I seem to remember Heidi Swanson posting on 101 Cookbooks that she makes them specifically to take on trips. Enjoy, and have a great vacation!
After I wrote this I kept thinking about them & I made a big batch last night. Turns out that doubling the recipe makes a LOT! I was just eating them for breakfast–and will be eating them for days to come. :)