I usually have some quinoa in my pantry—and for a long time, I used it as a base for different kinds of salads, adding veggies, crumbled cheese, olive oil, herbs and seasonings. I still enjoy quinoa salads, but my new favorite way to use this grain is to make cakes.
I like to incorporate quinoa into my diet because I enjoy the taste and texture, and because of its incredible health benefits. According to the website The World’s Healthiest Foods, quinoa was once called “the gold of the Incas,” because this group recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors.
Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. It’s an outstanding source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium and phosphorus.
Making quinoa cakes is actually quite simple. Just finely dice up whatever veggies you have on hand, and cook them with the quinoa using stock. Throw in some herbs if you have them. After everything’s done cooking, let the mixture cool, add egg and bread crumbs to form cakes, and then cook them in a bit of oil. For complete instructions, plus ideas for other ingredients to add, check out Quinoa-Zucchini Cakes with Summer Herbs.
These cakes can act as a main course with sides, as a side in themselves, and as an appetizer or even just a snack. I’ve had mini-cakes setting out as snacks at parties, and they were a huge hit. The cakes hold well at room temperature.
Need more ideas for cooking with quinoa? Take a look at this Baked Eggplant with Quinoa recipe.
Photo by Emily Heller