Long a staple grain in the Andes, quinoa, with its nutty flavor and high nutritional value, has become very popular in the United States. These pan-fried quinoa cakes can serve as a foil for a wide variety of simply prepared vegetables. The cakes are not large, so plan on having a good quantity of vegetables.
Note: When making quinoa, you should rinse the grain first to avoid any bitterness from the natural saponins (a soaplike chemical) in the seed coat.
Serves 4


  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa (or 2 cups cooked and cooled)
  • 2 cups water (if cooking quinoa)
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 2 tsp. smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. dried oregano or leaves from a couple stems fresh oregano, minced
  • 2 or 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Vegetable oil
  • Flaky sea salt (such as Maldon)
  • Freshly ground black pepper


If using uncooked quinoa, rinse the grain twice in cold water, then drain in a fine-mesh strainer. In a pot or a rice cooker, combine the quinoa with 2 cups water. If using a pot, bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, 15 to 18 minutes. If using a rice cooker, simply use the regular white-rice cycle. Allow quinoa to cool. If you are in a hurry, spread the quinoa in a large, shallow dish and place, uncovered, in the refrigerator.

Combine the cooled quinoa, salt, paprika, cumin, oregano, and 2 eggs. You should have a "dough" that will form a moist ball. If the mixture is still dry and fluffy, add another egg.

Heat your largest skillet or, better yet, a flat griddle pan over medium-high heat. Lightly oil the skillet or griddle pan. Form 1/4 cup of the quinoa mixture into a ball. Place it in the skillet and use a spatula to flatten it into a pancake about 1/4 inch thick. Repeat to make 7 more pancakes, working in batches as necessary. Cook the quinoa cakes until golden brown on one side, 2 to 3 minutes, then flip and brown the other side, about 2 minutes more. Remove from the pan and season with flaky sea salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

From Herbivoracious: A Flavor Revolution with 150 Vibrant and Original Vegetarian Recipes (Harvard Common Press) by Michael Natkin.

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