quinoa patties

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Probably the most random comment I’ve ever left on someone’s site was when Cara made Moroccan quinoa cakes and I compared them to oolitic limestone. Oolitic limestone, if you don’t happen to have ever taken a stratigraphy class, is a rock formed in the ocean near the shore when waves roll grains of sediment back and forth, and the grains precipitate calcium carbonate in concentric layers. It is made up of perfectly spherical grains, about quinoa-sized, that are glued together by more calcium carbonate.

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In quinoa patties, the spherical grains (okay fine, seeds) are glued together by eggs and maybe bread crumbs. I made the popular recipe from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day, but with all those bread crumbs diluting the quinoa, it didn’t look nearly so oolitic. It still tasted good, flavored with onion and parmesan with crisply browned sides.

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But now I want to go back to that quinoa patty that originally caught my eye. Mostly because I love Moroccan flavors and because it doesn’t have bread crumbs, so the quinoa takes a more central role, but it doesn’t hurt that it looks more like oolite either.

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One year ago: Apple Brandy Hand Pies
Two years ago: Coconut Cream Tart
Three years ago: Sweet Potato Hash
Four years ago: Peter Reinhart’s Pizza

Printer Friendly Recipe
Quinoa Cakes (adapted from Heidi Swanson’s Super Natural Every Day)

Makes 12 patties

1 teaspoon plus 1 tablespoon olive oil
2 large shallots, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup (3.5 ounces) bread crumbs
¼ cup (½ ounce) grated parmesan cheese
4 large eggs, beaten

1. In a medium saucepan, heat 1 teaspoon of oil over medium heat. Add the shallots and cook, stirring occasionally, until just starting to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring constantly, until fragrant, about 30 seconds. Add 1¼ cups water; increase the heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa and ½ teaspoon salt. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes, until the quinoa is tender. Once the quinoa is cooked, drain it if necessary.

2. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and stir in the bread crumbs and ¼ teaspoon salt, then the parmesan cheese and eggs. Divide the mixture into 12 equal portions, shaping each into a patty ¾-inch thick and about 3 inches in diameter.

3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half of the patties to the skillet, cover, and cook for 7 to 10 minutes, until the bottom is browned. Flip the patties and continue cooking for 7 more minutes, until the second side is golden brown. Transfer the patties to a wire rack to cool slightly, then repeat with the remaining patties, adding more oil if necessary.

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  1. I have never tried quinoa and I am wondering if I should. Maybe I can start out by making something like this? What would you suggest?

  2. I love the idea of serving these with eggs as you have pictured, in place of a sausage patty. I’ve ALMOST bought veggie sausage patties so many times, but hesitated because of the price tag. With all of my cooking, I never thought of using quinoa to create a similar effect. Great idea! Thanks 🙂

  3. bridget says:

    Jennifer – This would be a good place to start, but my standard use for quinoa is in grain-based salads. My favorite is this black bean quinoa salad with tomatillo salsa.

  4. Ha! So funny that you remember that. Now I want to go back to that recipe too 🙂

  5. I have made this recipe before and it is great.
    I love how dorky you are.

  6. bridget says:

    branny – Aw, that’s sweet.

  7. That looks amazing. Also, as a former science major, I love the analogy to oolitic limestone! I may try to turn those fun little patties into the base of an Eggs Benedict with bacon, spinach and poached eggs layered on top. I’m hungry now.

  8. Julie says:

    Bridget, I really would like to make these quinoa patties. They sound delicious! But we have recently gone gluten free in our household and I can’t use breadcrumbs. Any ideas for some substitutes for the breadcrumbs? I was thinking maybe ground oats or almond meal? We do not use gluten free replacements so it would have to be more “raw” if that makes any sense. Thanks!

  9. bridget says:

    Julie – I think oats would work, especially if you grind them to a powder first. They might not be as “glue-y” as flour, but if you let the patties sit for 30 minutes or so, the oats will soak up the liquid and bind the patties together. Let me know how it goes if you try it!

  10. Epsie says:

    How do you get your cakes to stay so uniform? Mine become a crumbly mess when I go to flip them in the pan. Love your blog!

  11. bridget says:

    Epsie – By the time you flip the patties, the bottom side should be cooked enough to hold together. It’s the egg and bread crumbs that bind the mixture. Have you made this specific recipe? If the one you use has different amounts of binders, that might be a problem. Otherwise, maybe make sure you’re cooking them long enough to make the bottom side firm and crisp.