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Curried Quinoa Cakes With Spinach

Curried Quinoa Cakes With Spinach

I have a dirty little secret to share. In the past, when I’d make too much quinoa, the leftovers would sometimes sit in my fridge, cold and unappetizing, taking up valuable refrigerator real estate, until enough time had passed and then I’d throw the whole mess into the compost. And then feel terribly GUILTY about wasting good food.

But after trying these quinoa cakes, I don’t think I’ll have any more problems with wasting quinoa.

Quinoa by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2008.

I had been meaning to try these ever since my review copy of Super Natural Every Day arrived and I found myself wiping a few drops of drool off the page with Heidi’s recipe for little quinoa patties. But what with one thing and another (like having a second child) I kept forgetting about them. That’s the thing about having kids, you basically forget everything.

Until my mom-in-law threw together some surprisingly addictive (we all had seconds and some of us went back for thirds) quinoa cakes a few weeks back. Then it was just a matter of waiting until we had leftover quinoa to work with. I finally got my chance last weekend and my whole family was thrilled by the results.

Curried quinoa cake mixture by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2013

Once you’ve got the quinoa base, it’s as easy and flexible as any fritter. I added sauteed red onions, garlic, spinach, fresh cilantro and parsley, garam masala, ground cumin, sea salt, black pepper, parmesan and used eggs and bread crumbs as my binder.

I was short on time when I made these for our dinner so mine were fried but you can also bake them with great results. The ones my mom-in-law made were baked and they were very tasty and a little lighter, of course.

Curried quinoa cakes frying by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2013

You can also add anything else you think would be tasty to these fritters – black beans, red pepper, subsitute kale or chard for the spinach, etc.

Curried quinoa cakes post-frying by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2013

Serve warm (or cold) with an herby cucumber yogurt sauce for maximum yum factor and enjoy the knowledge that you have a wonderful way to use up leftover quinoa for the rest of your days.

Curried Quinoa Cakes by Eve Fox, Garden of Eating blog, copyright 2013

Curried Quinoa Cakes with Spinach adapted from Martha Rose Shulman’s recipe in the NY Times and Heidi Swanson’s little Quinoa Patties in Super Natural Every Day
Serves 4


For the quinoa cakes
* 2-2 1/4 cups cooked quinoa or 1 cup organic uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained and 1 3/4 cups water or stock (cooking it in broth or stock makes it way more flavorful)
* 3 good-sized garlic cloves, minced
* 1 small onion, chopped
* 1 can black beans, rinsed and drained (*optional) – but if you do add them, use Eden Organic since their cans are BPA-free
* 2-3 big handfuls of spinach, chard or kale leaves, washed, dried and roughly chopped (unless you’re using baby spinach in which case no chopping is necessary)
* 3 large eggs, beaten (pasture-raised are the best kind if you can get ‘em)
* 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
* 1 Tbsp garam masala or curry powder
* 1/2 Tbsp ground cumin
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
* Olive oil (4-5 Tbsps)
* Breadcrumbs or flour, optional (if your mixture is too loose)

For the yogurt sauce
* 1 cup whole milk yogurt
* 1/2 garlic clove, minced
* 1/2 small-medium cucumber, peeled and diced (optional – but it gives a nice crunch)
* 1 large handful of fresh cilantro leaves, washed, dried and chopped
* 1 small handful of fresh parsley leaves, washed, dried and chopped
* Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
* 1-3 Tbsp milk to thin the sauce, if desired


1. If you don’t already have leftover cooked quinoa – your first step is to make some! If you do, skip to number 2 below. Bring the water or stock to a boil, then stir in the quinoa, lower the heat and reduce to a simmer. Cover for 15-20 minutes until done – you’ll know the quinoa is ready when you see the little white “tail” of the germ around the outside edge of each seed. If you’re starting to see the little white tails but the quinoa seems too soggy, remove the lid for the last few minutes of cooking. You can also just drain the quinoa if that doesn’t do it. And if the water is all gone but the tails are not visible yet, add a little more water and simmer for a few more minutes, covered. Then remove from heat and set aside to cool.

2. In a frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Sauté the onion for a few minutes, then add the garlic and spinach and cook for 2-3 minutes until the garlic is fragrant and the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and let it cool for a few minutes.

3. In a mixing bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, eggs, spices, cheese, salt, pepper and the cooled down onion, garlic and spinach mixture. Mix together until combined thoroughly.

4. Using your hands, form small patties, taking care to make them rather chunky so that they’ll have enough mass to stick together while you’re frying.

5. Heat the peanut, canola or grapeseed oil in a large, heavy skillet (cast iron is ideal) over medium-low heat. Once it is hot but not smoking add as many patties ad you can comfortably fit while still allowing a little room between them so you’ll have space to flip them and cook for 4-5 minutes or until the bottoms are deeply browned (cooking time will depend on how hot the pan and oil were when you started.) Carefully flip the patties with a spatula and cook the second sides for another 4-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Remove from the skillet and cool on a paper grocery bag while you cook the remaining patties. Serve with the yogurt sauce. These are also great the next day – gives the flavors more time to develop.

You might also like:

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Eve Fox

Eve is the creator of The Garden of Eating, a blog about food--cooking it, eating it, and growing it. She has a legendary love of aprons and can often be found salivating over the fruits and veggies at one of the many farmers’ markets near her home in Woodstock, NY. Want even more recipes, photos, giveaways, and food-related inspiration? "Like" the Garden of Eating on Facebook, or follow Eve on Twitter or Pinterest.


+ add your own
5:38AM PST on Jan 25, 2015


2:19PM PST on Jan 22, 2015

Thank you

9:12AM PST on Jan 22, 2015

sounds delicious :) thanks

10:56AM PST on Jan 21, 2015

These do look good!

7:21AM PST on Jan 20, 2015


7:20AM PST on Jan 20, 2015


9:39AM PST on Feb 26, 2014

Yummy! I will try for sure!

6:32AM PDT on May 27, 2013

Love quinoa didn't think to put it into cakes

9:14PM PDT on May 21, 2013

This sounds amazing. Thank you for sharing this!

1:59AM PDT on May 19, 2013

These sound great, will have to try. Also, good with sweet potatoes in the mix.

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