These Crispy Quinoa Cakes are flavored with fresh herbs, garlic, and parmesan cheese, then pan-fried in olive oil until golden brown and crispy on each side. It’s a great side dish for dinner!
If you’ve got leftover quinoa that you don’t know what to do with, this is a great way to use it up.
Quinoa has a reputation as one of those expensive trendy healthy foods, but I have to say that I really love it.
Some grains can be relatively flavorless granules of starch, but quinoa has a really nice nuttiness and flavor to it, and has a wonderful fluff in its texture.
And it can also be mega crispy if you toast it or fry it in some olive oil. A local chocolate shop a couple blocks from my apartment has an award-winning quinoa chocolate bar, where the toasted quinoa gives it a Crunch-bar-like texture comparable to crispy rice!
These crispy parmesan quinoa cakes give you the best of both worlds in quinoa — that crispy, crunchy golden brown top, and a fluffy quinoa exterior.
My favorite part about quinoa cakes has to be the versatility. I have made these many, many times, and each time I make it the mix-ins are slightly different. Give it any flavor theme you want, and use your favorite herbs and cheeses.
Though this rendition has a parmesan herb theme, a Greek-style quinoa cake with feta, olives, and tomatoes is a close second.
You can really play around with the ingredients.
How to Make Quinoa Cakes:
First you need some cooked quinoa.
You can either use leftover quinoa, or take 15 minutes to cook some fresh (instructions are in the recipe box, but basically just quinoa, water, and a pinch of salt):
While the quinoa cools, we’re going to prep a few mix-in ingredients.
A scallion, parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, and garlic:
Add those to the quinoa:
Then stir in panko bread crumbs, salt, and pepper:
Finally, add 4 beaten eggs to the mix:
Stir this all together until the quinoa is evenly moistened:
Pack the quinoa mixture into a 1/4 cup measuring cup very firmly, then tap it on a flat surface to release each cake:
Pan-fry the quinoa cakes in olive oil for 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown and crispy:
Crispy Parmesan Quinoa Cakes
- 1.5 cups raw quinoa*
- 1 scallion sliced
- 2 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley
- 2 tbsp fresh chopped oregano
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 4 large eggs beaten
- olive oil for pan frying
- black pepper
- To cook the quinoa, rinse it well in a strainer with cold running water for a minute, then place in a saucepan with 3 cups water and a pinch of salt, and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce to a simmer over medium low heat, and cook for 15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork or spatula, and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
- Add the scallion, garlic, parmesan cheese, parsley, oregano, and panko bread crumbs, 1/2 tsp of salt, and 1/2 tsp black pepper to the quinoa, and toss to combine. Then add the beaten eggs, and stir until the quinoa is moistened.
- Using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, pack the quinoa mixture very firmly into the cup, then tap the cup on a flat surface to get the quinoa cake to release. Repeat with the remaining quinoa mixture.
- In a large nonstick skillet, heat enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan over medium heat, then fry the quinoa cakes for 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove the quinoa cakes to a paper towel to drain. Serve immediately, and enjoy!
Post updated August 2018 with re-edited photos, more writing, and new tips. Originally published February 2016.