Cooking from scratch often leads to the experience of looking in your fridge or pantry and, despite a wealth of raw ingredients, feeling like there’s “nothing to eat”! This recipe is a great weeknight meal that can come together with very few ingredients you probably have in your pantry already, and very little time. You could even save on effort by baking them in the oven instead of pan frying them, but they don’t get as nice and crispy of a crust. Quinoa cakes are one of those great blank slates that you can add almost anything to and they’ll be delicious. You can do them Southwestern, Mediterranean, Middle Eastern, even Asian, by changing just a few ingredients! I’ll post some suggestions at the bottom of the page on how to change the flavors. I served mine with caramelized carrots and garlic spinach.
Balsamic Mushroom Quinoa Cakes
Serves 4, takes about 1 hour including cooking the quinoa and frying them in 3 batches. If you already have cooked quinoa, and bake them in the oven, you will save about half an hour at least.
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa, any color, plus 2 cups of water or broth (or about 2.5-3c cooked)
- 8oz button mushrooms, or mushrooms of your choice, diced
- 1 small onion, diced
- 1 clove of garlic, pressed (optional)
- 1 TBSP fresh sage, chopped, or 1/2 tsp dried
- 2 TBSP balsamic vinegar
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast or Parmesan Cheese
- 2 TBSP Chia seed plus 1/2 cup warm water, or 2 eggs.
- olive oil for sauteeing the veggies and vegetable oil for frying
- salt and pepper to taste
To cook the quinoa, put the one cup of quinoa in a heavy-bottomed pot and cover with two cups of water or broth. Bring it to a boil and boil covered for 5 minutes. Turn off the burner and leave it to steam, covered, for 15 minutes.
While the quinoa is cooking, combine your Chia seed and warm water in a small bowl and set aside to thicken. Heat a skillet over medium heat, add a few turns of olive oil and then saute your mushrooms and onions (add a pinch of salt) until they are lightly browned and have released their moisture. Add your garlic, if using, and the sage and balsamic vinegar to the pan and cook another minute or two. Add to your quinoa.
Combine the remaining ingredients: breadcrumbs, nutritional yeast, chia gel, and a bit of salt and pepper, with your quinoa and veggie mixture. Pack it into a lump and allow it to chill in the fridge while you prepare your side dishes for cooking and or preheat your oven. You can skip the chilling, but they will hold together better if you do it. Preheat your oven to 250 degrees if you are pan frying (to keep the cooked ones warm) or 400 degrees if you are baking them.
To pan fry: Heat some vegetable oil in a large skillet, then add 3 or 4 1/4c balls of quinoa mixture to the pan, flattening them with a spatula. Let them cook without turning them, over medium heat, for about 5 minutes or until browned on the edges. Flip them over gently and cook for another 5 minutes or until brown and crispy. Transfer cooked cakes to a plate in the oven to keep warm while you finish the rest.
To bake: generously grease a baking sheet and flatten your cakes onto it using about 1/4c of mixture per cake. Spray or brush a layer of oil into the tops of the cakes as well. Bake for 7-10 minutes per side until crispy.
Flavor options for quinoa cakes! these options are instead of the mushrooms, onions, sage and balsamic.
- Roasted red peppers and kalamata olives
- sundried tomatoes and goat cheese
- mint, parsley, and feta cheese
- corn, bell pepper, and onion, with chili powder
- sweet chili sauce, shredded carrot, green onion, soy sauce