Crispy Quinoa Cakes
Stovetop Cheesy Quinoa Cakes Recipe
How to Make Quinoa Patties with Gruyere, Fresh Herbs & Breadcrumbs
This easy, cheesy quinoa cakes recipe is too fun to pass up! Cooked quinoa makes a surprisingly sturdy base for these pan-fried cakes, mixed with creamy gruyere or parmesan cheese, fragrant herbs, and diced prunes for a hint of sweetness. Seriously, these quinoa patties turned out perfectly crisp and so tasty, they were hard to put down—and I’m not even a fan of quinoa!
Typically, I just don’t enjoy quinoa’s flavor or texture very much, and I’ll choose rice over quinoa every time. But then, I tried this quinoa cakes recipe for the first time, and it turned out to be my favorite recipe that I’ve tried in months! The quinoa’s earthy flavor pairs beautifully with the savory cheese and comforting time, and the prunes add an irresistible sweet balance.
Plus, after pan-frying these quinoa patties until deliciously browned on both sides, the texture is just divine. A satisfyingly crunchy crisp on the outside, and a warm, chewy center on the inside! They held together so well, I was even able to pick them up with my hands and enjoy them like fun little appetizers.
So, even if you think you’re a quinoa hater, this cheesy quinoa cakes recipe is worth giving a whirl. It’s nutritious, filling, and super simple to make—whether you cook up a batch of fresh quinoa, meal prep it ahead of time, or use leftovers. And, you can change things up by customizing your quinoa patties with your favorite mix-ins!
Quinoa Cakes Ingredients
1 cup raw quinoa (or 3 cups cooked)
3 cups water + pinch of salt
⅓ cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
⅓ cup gruyere cheese, shredded (or parmesan)
¼ cup parsley
2 Tbsp fresh thyme
1 Tbsp chives, chopped
¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
½ cup diced prunes
½ tsp salt
pepper, to taste
4 eggs, beaten
avocado oil, for cooking
Substitution Notes & Ideas
- Quinoa: I haven’t tried making these quinoa cakes with an alternate grain, so I can’t say for certain how a substitute like rice might turn out. But you’re welcome to experiment!
- Cheese: Creamy, savory gruyere cheese is one of my favorites, but you can also make this recipe with parmesan cheese—or another cheese you enjoy!
- Breadcrumbs: Again, I haven’t made this recipe without the breadcrumbs, so I can’t speak to how it would turn out or hold together with a substitute. If you’d like to experiment with alternatives, you could try using rolled or quick oats, or even crushed corn flakes.
- Eggs: My best guess is that the eggs are a must in this recipe in order to bind the quinoa patties mixture together. Though I haven’t personally tried making this recipe without the eggs or with a substitute, feel free to experiment.
- Herbs: Use whichever herbs you like! I think the parsley and thyme add some delicious freshness and comfort here, but use your favorites.
- Prunes: I highly recommend keeping the prunes because their sweet, chewy bite adds some extra delicious oomph to this recipe—and they’re amazingly nutritious! For an alternative, you can try raisins, dried cranberries, or chopped dried apricots. Or, of course, you can omit the dried fruit altogether.
- Veggies: I stuck with onion and garlic in this version, but you can jazz up these quinoa cakes with all sorts of veggies. Diced sweet potato, chopped carrot, green peas, corn kernels—there are so many ideas that I think could turn out delicious! Whatever you choose, just be sure to chop into small pieces so the veggies integrate well into the quinoa mixture.
How to Cook Quinoa
First and foremost, cook your quinoa as desired or according to your package directions. Personally, I prefer to rinse my quinoa in a sieve with cold water first, then add it into a deep saucepan to toast for 2-3 minutes. This step can help to remove any potentially bitter flavor (which is something that typically bothers me with quinoa), but it’s not necessary.
Whether you decide to toast the quinoa or not, the cooking process is as easy as combining 1 cup of raw quinoa with 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt, then bring it all to a boil. Once it’s boiling, cover the pot, reduce the heat to medium low, and allow to cook for 15 minutes, until all of the water is absorbed.
Finally, fluff the cooked quinoa with a fork and let it sit for a few minutes before moving on with the recipe. This ratio (1 cup raw quinoa to 3 cups water) will yield around 3 cups or more of cooked quinoa. If you need more or less than that, or if you want to make a smaller version of this recipe, adjust your amounts accordingly.
Cooking quinoa is quick, so I don’t mind cooking up a fresh batch on the same day I plan to make this cheesy quinoa cakes recipe. But, you can also meal prep a batch ahead of time—like over the weekend—so you have it ready to cook fresh quinoa patties on a busy weeknight. Or, if you’ve got leftover quinoa in the fridge, you can use that, too!
How to Make Quinoa Patties / Cakes on the Stove
Once your quinoa is cooked, add it into a large bowl with all of the remaining quinoa patties ingredients, except for the eggs, mixing well to combine. Then, whisk the eggs separately and pour them over the quinoa mixture, mixing them in until everything is moistened. Now, all that’s left to do is scoop and cook!
To form the quinoa cakes for this recipe, I recommend using a measuring cup as a scooping and shaping tool. I prefer a steel ¼-cup measuring cup, and I spray it down with cooking spray to prevent sticking. Use that measuring cup to scoop the quinoa mixture, then press it in firmly and level it off.
Next, heat a nonstick skillet over medium heat and add a bit of oil—ideally a high smoke point oil, like avocado oil or light/extra light olive oil. Once heated, flip your packed measuring cup over and tap it with a spatula to release onto the skillet. Repeat as needed without overcrowding your pan, cooking 4-6 quinoa patties at a time.
Once they’re on the pan, cook over medium to medium-high heat for about 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crisped to your liking. Finally, drain on paper towels after cooking, then they’re ready to serve and best enjoyed immediately! I like to serve them with a simple leafy green salad, which I’ve shared below, or pair with your favorite accompaniments.
For more bone-supporting meal ideas like this, watch my Easy Meals for Bone Health video!
Cheesy Quinoa Cakes Recipe
- 1 cup raw quinoa, or 3 cups cooked
- 3 cups water + pinch of salt
- ⅓ cup onion, diced
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- ⅓ cup gruyere cheese, shredded (or parmesan)
- ¼ cup parsley
- 2 Tbsp fresh thyme
- 1 Tbsp chives, chopped
- ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup diced prunes
- ½ tsp salt
- pepper, to taste
- 4 eggs, beaten
- avocado oil, for cooking
Leafy Greens Side Salad (Optional)
- 3 cups mixed leafy greens of choice
- 2 Tbsp grated parmesan cheese
- ½ cup diced prunes
- squeeze of lemon juice
- white cheddar dressing, or dressing of choice, to taste
- Rinse quinoa in a sieve with cold running water. Add to a deep saucepan and toast for 2-3 minutes, until it starts to smell nutty.
- Add 3 cups of water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, cover, and reduce to medium low for 15 minutes, until water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork and cool for 5 minutes.
- Transfer cooked quinoa to a large bowl. Add all remaining ingredients, except for eggs, and mix well to combine. Then, pour in beaten eggs and stir, until the quinoa is moistened.
- Heat oil in a nonstick skillet over medium heat.
- Spray a measuring cup with cooking spray (I used a steel ¼-cup), then scoop the quinoa mixture and pack it in firmly.
- Over your heated skillet, flip the packed measuring cup and tap it to Repeat to form additional cakes, cooking 4-6 at a time. (Don’t overcrowd the pan!)
- Pan fry for 4-5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. (A second spatula can help when flipping.)
- Drain on a paper towel before serving. Best enjoyed immediately!
- Serve with leafy greens side salad or your favorite accompaniments.
- Yields ~20 cakes (using ¼-cup measuring cup to scoop)
To make side salad:
- In a large bowl, combine leafy greens, grated parmesan, diced prunes, and squeeze of lemon juice. Add a drizzle of white cheddar dressing, or your favorite dressing, and toss to coat.
- Serve and enjoy!