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Quinoa-Black Olive Cakes with Baby Greens and Roasted Red Pepper Sauce


Serves 6 as an appetizer or 3 as a main course

  • by from Cookfresh, Fall 2013

Love quinoa but want to expand your repertoire beyond the usual grain salad or pilaf? These crisp-crusted quinoa cakes provide a mild canvas for the bold flavors of olives, peppers, and greens. With white beans to give them some heft and heartiness, they make a terrific meatless main course.

  • 1 cup white quinoa
  • 2 cups lower-salt chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 cup cooked white beans (from a 15 oz. can), drained and rinsed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 peeled medium cloves garlic, 2 minced, 1 left whole
  • 2 tsp. finely chopped fresh thyme
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup coarse fresh white breadcrumbs (see below)
  • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/3 cup pitted kalamata olives, finely chopped
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped roasted red peppers
  • 5-1/2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. sherry vinegar
  • 5 oz. (5 lightly packed cups) baby kale, baby arugula, or other baby greens
To make fresh breadcrumbs, rip slices of slightly stale bread into pieces (remove the crusts first if your bread is very dense) and fill your food processor or grinder about halfway full; any more can jam up the blades. Pulse until you get the size crumb you like. Make breadcrumbs ahead and freeze them in a zip-top bags; thaw when needed.

Rinse the quinoa under cold water and drain.

Line a medium rimmed baking sheet with parchment. In a 2-quart pot, bring the broth to a boil. Add the quinoa and simmer, covered, over low heat until the broth is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a medium shallow bowl and spread out to cool to room temperature.

Put the white beans in a large bowl and mash with a potato masher or a fork. Add the eggs, minced garlic, thyme, 1 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper and stir with a fork to combine. Add the breadcrumbs, parsley, olives, and cooled quinoa and stir to combine. Form the mixture into six 3-inch-wide patties about 1/2-inch thick, and transfer to the lined baking sheet.

Put the roasted red peppers, 2 Tbs. of the oil, the vinegar, the whole garlic clove, 1/4 tsp. salt and a few grinds of pepper in a blender and blend until very smooth, about 1 minute. Transfer the sauce to a small serving bowl.

In a heavy-duty 10-inch skillet, heat 2 Tbs. of the oil over medium heat until shimmering hot. Carefully add half of the patties to the pan and cook, flipping once, until browned on both sides, about 5 minutes total. Transfer to paper towels to drain and repeat with the second batch of quinoa cakes.

Toss the greens with the remaining 1-1/2 Tbs. oil and salt and pepper to taste. Serve the quinoa cakes over the greens with the red pepper sauce on the side for drizzling.

nutrition information (per serving):
Calories (kcal): 410, Fat (kcal): 19, Fat Calories (g): 170, Saturated Fat (g): 3, Protein (g): 14, Monounsaturated Fat (g): 12, Carbohydrates (mg): 45, Polyunsaturated Fat (mg): 3, Sodium (g): 970, Cholesterol (g): 60, Fiber (g): 5,

Photo: Scott Phillips

These were fantastic and all of the discerning vegetarians in my family (3) loved them. As a non-vegetarian, I thought they were amazing. Press the moisture out of the Kalamatas and make sure your cooked quinoa isn't holding onto a lot of liquid. All of my patties held together perfectly. Yum!

We were impressed by flavor and texture of the the 'cakes', like with other reviewers, the pepper sauce is a hit. Tastes great as sandwich spread, dip with chips...

I was not expecting to like this as much as I did! The kalmata olives gave the patties a wonderful flavor but my favorite part of this dish was the red pepper sauce. I accidentally put all of the olive oil for the recipe in with the red peppers but it still tasted wonderful. I also doubled down on the garlic to give it a nice sharp flavor. There was red pepper sauce left over after the meal so I made an egg white and cheddar cheese omelette the next morning and poured some of the sauce over that. Delicious!

I enjoyed this recipe a lot. I've been making the roasted pepper dressing for other dishes as well. I did try freezing the quinoa cakes before frying and didn't have the greatest success with that because they got overly moist and didn't hold together. They hold together fine if cooked immediately.

I am so happy to have prepared these burgers. We tried eating only one but the blend of spices coupled with the crispness of frying makes them way too tasty ! I am saving the other two in a sealed container in the cooler for later use. Looks like a reheat in the broiler should do it but I want to try a vegetable tray preparer on the grill. Thanks for the recipe.

The cakes are super yummy and the sauce is great for a dipping sauce.

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