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Quinoa Cakes with Capers and Lemon Zest

March 5, 2012

For those of you who have never heard of it, quinoa is a grain that is cooked in water (not unlike rice or couscous). It’s hearty, nutty, and full of protein. Yum. Plain quinoa, much like plain rice is boring and flavorless. I had some quinoa sitting around because I feed it to the munchkin regularly, and I was looking for something to do with it. I surfed the net until I found a recipe that looked perfect. I found this recipe and was intrigued. It looked like something that could be cooked up in a hurry, and it looked delicious. This recipe exceeded my expectations. It was so good I had a hard time getting enough quinoa cakes to the table to take a photo of them. I’ve been dreaming of them ever since. The capers and zest give a tartness and a zing to the cakes, and the quinoa has a great texture when it’s fried up like this. Serve with lemon or sour cream.

The only “tip” I have about this recipe is that like other types of “cakes” (potato pancakes, risotto cakes, veggie burgers, etc.) They don’t hold together well. Try not to overwork them or add any extra liquid. Once they’re in the pan, leave them alone until they are ready to flip, and flip once (and with confidence) If you don’t your cake may break in to many delectable little crunchy pieces that you snarf up before even bringing them to the table. Not that it happened to me, of course. 😉

I imagine that this recipe is highly adaptable, too. Try it with scallions in place of the onion. I think I will try it with feta instead of Parmesan too. The important thing when adapting, however, is not to add too much liquid.

Quinoa Cakes with Capers and Lemon Zest, Adapted from Running to the Kitchen


  • 1 1/3 cups cooked quinoa
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon capers, drained and patted dry
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • juice of 1/2 a lemon
  • 3-4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, for frying


  1. Combine all ingredients except olive oil in a large bowl and mix until fully combined.
  2. Heat skillet with the olive oil over medium-high heat.
  3. Form in to small, thin patties, being careful not to overwork the batter
  4. Place patties in skillet and pan fry 2-3 minutes per side until golden brown, adding additional olive oil as needed
  5. Blot off extra oil with a paper towel and serve with lemon or sour cream.


3 Comments leave one →
  1. March 5, 2012 6:36 pm


  2. Patricia Kehoe Clark permalink
    June 19, 2012 7:59 pm

    oh my gosh! I made these and they were fabulous!


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