Meatless Monday: Quinoa Cakes with Lemon, Olives, and Parsley

April 8, 2012 · 13 comments

in healthy,rice and grains,vegetarian


A lot of good, healthy grains in this house are called “tiny pasta.”

It’s not that I’m afraid to give Zachary the real names of things (he’s not really to the point yet where he will refuse to try things based on the name) but sometimes, it’s easier. “What’s this mommy?” “It’s quinoa. It’s like…tiny pasta.”

Plus? He’s infallible. The other day, he had bulgur (more tiny pasta) with zucchini.

“What’s this mommy?”
“It’s zucchini.”
“No! Cucumber!”
“Well, you’re right. It does look like a cucumber, but it’s called ‘zucchini.'”


So when something’s called “tiny pasta” I go with it. Here’s a recipe for pasta cakes. Errr…quinoa cakes. And, they’re pretty fabulous. If you haven’t already eaten quinoa, I urge you to try it. It’s delicious, nutty, and incredibly healthy. It’s got plenty of protein and fiber, and will keep you full for a long time.

The flavors mixed into these patties are some of my favorites—lemon, parsley, olives, and of course cheese. I used kalamata olives rather than green because I’m not a big green olive fan. But I’m a BIG kalamata olive fan. They are cooked in just a little bit of oil in the pan and end up  nice and crispy. I added a little cornmeal to them to keep them together a bit better and also to provide some added crunch.

We had these with a salad with lots of feta and Greek-ish dressing. (And I’m sure that the feta would also be lovely actually *in* the cakes, instead of the Romano I used, too.) They paired really wonderfully together and even though the leftovers were not quite as crispy the following day, I still enjoyed them.  Tom particularly liked these, and mentioned again after work the next day how much he liked them and how great his lunch was. That’s always the sign of a winning dish—especially when the meal doesn’t contain meat.

While I adored these with salad, they would also be great for breakfast with an egg on top, which I will definitely try next time. You can keep the mixture in your fridge for a day or two and just cook them whenever the mood strikes you, so go ahead and make a batch up on Friday for dinner and then fry up the leftovers on Saturday morning with a poached egg.

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{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

bellini April 9, 2012 at 4:58 am

I really do need to try these Elly. I need more little pasta in my life.


Joanne April 9, 2012 at 5:36 am

I do that with my parents except I call every grain barley or quinoa since those are two that they recognize and will eat. :P I’ve been meaning to make these quinoa cakes since I got Heidi’s cookbook and this variation sounds excellent! i’m thinking I need to try your fried egg on top idea.


Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar April 9, 2012 at 6:26 am

What a pretty dinner! Love it!


Caitlin April 9, 2012 at 7:03 am

These sound so good (and we call a lot of things “funny rice” at our house)!


Ben April 9, 2012 at 8:33 am

Hahahaha, yes, sometimes arguing with kids about the name of food is a loss battle. I think I could make this with amaranth as well. Thanks for the idea! :)


marla April 9, 2012 at 9:00 am

Perfect for Meatless Monday or any time at all!


Kelsey April 9, 2012 at 12:54 pm

I’m in awe that your child eats quinoa and bulgur. Kudos to you!


Kelsey April 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm

These look so delicious and healthy, Elly. What a great recipe!


Nicole, RD April 9, 2012 at 2:31 pm

These sound amazing! I love “cakes” and quinoa :)


Jessica @ Sunny Side Up April 11, 2012 at 7:51 pm

Tiny pasta it is!

These sound great :)


marcie April 18, 2012 at 12:05 pm

what would you rec as a substitute for olives in this recipe – it looks very tasty! I don’t like olive or beans so I am wondering if they are needed as a binder or if they are just for flavor?



elly April 18, 2012 at 12:15 pm

They are just there for flavor. You can omit them.


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