Meatless Monday: Quinoa Cakes Two Ways

Several years ago (when I was eating a lot of frozen dinners and such) I was obsessed with these “veggie patties” made by Morningstar Farms. They took about a minute to microwave, only had about 100 calories, and tasted pretty decent. Then when I moved to Chicago, I never found them in a grocery store ever again. Did I have any idea what was in them? No, but the point is – they were easy, low-cal, and marginally tasty. I wanted them back!

I seriously don’t have any idea what was in those Morningstar Farm patties, but I think these quinoa cakes are somewhat similar – only a zillion times better. And they’re incredibly versatile! Once you get the quinoa-egg-bread crumb ratio down, you can dress these up any way you want. The first ones I made had basil and Parmesan in them, and I ate them on a bun like a burger. The next time, I got creative and ditched the basil and Parmesan in favor of buffalo sauce, blue cheese, carrots and celery. Doubly delicious. I’m sharing both recipes below, but seriously, get creative with these guys. I think I may do a Southwestern version next…

BASIC QUINOA CAKES (adapted from Cate’s World Kitchen)

2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
4 eggs, beaten
1 tsp sea salt
1 cup bread crumbs (plus extra as needed)
olive oil for frying
Add-ins as desired

  1. Stir quinoa, eggs, and salt together in medium bowl. Add your choice of add-ins and mix.
  2. Stir in the bread crumbs and let stand so the crumbs can absorb some moisture. The mixture should be easily formed into balls without falling apart. If needed, add some more bread crumbs and let stand a little longer.
  3. Heat olive oil (enough to coat bottom of pan) in skillet over medium heat. Pat the mixture into patties and cook in batches, about 3-5 minutes on each side.

For PARMESAN BASIL QUINOA CAKES, mix in 1/2 cup chopped basil, 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, and 1 tbsp mixed garlic.

For BUFFALO BLUE CHEESE QUINOA CAKES, mix in 5-6 celery sticks, finely chopped, 5-6 carrot sticks, finely chopped, 2-3 green onions, chopped, 2/3 cup blue cheese crumbles, and 2 tbsp hot sauce.

I loved both versions of these. If you have cooked quinoa on hand, these are very quick and easy. I can’t wait to come up with new variations!

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