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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

Black Bean Quinoa Cakes

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These easy quinoa cakes combine the creaminess of feta cheese with a distinct Mexican flair for the perfect blend of flavor and texture. Loaded with veggies and fiber, these pan-fried crispy patties are great for the whole family. 

Black Bean Quinoa Cakes topped with salsa, served on a white plate

Funny story…these crispy quinoa cakes were kind of a pantry experiment. One with very good results 🙂

It was one of those nights.

Tons of random items in the fridge, cheese on the verge of its expiration date, and a pantry to clean out – with no idea what to make for dinner.

So what ended up happening?

These vegetarian quinoa patties.

They’re the “everything but the kitchen sink” griddle cakes, but for short – we’ll call them Black Bean and Quinoa Cakes since those were the main ingredients.

Latest Recipe Video!

They were originally supposed to be a salad, but after realizing the consistency was too sticky for a salad but perfect for a pan-fried or baked cake patty, the destiny of these ingredients changed.

They are sort of Mexican-inspired with a little bit of Greek flourish thanks to the leftover Feta cheese I had. These cheesy quinoa cakes are spicy and creamy, with just the slightest bit of crunch from the bell peppers and the crust of these cakes.

Oh and the best part? They take less than 30 minutes to make, and you end up with a super healthy, light and flavorful meal.

Black Bean Quinoa Cakes topped with salsa, served on a white plate

How to Make Quinoa Cakes

Note that these patties are not the texture of veggie burgers. They’re loosely bound and fall apart slightly in your mouth. But if you want them to be super tightly bound, then add an egg and breadcrumbs to the mixture before you create patties and cook it!

Recipe Ingredients and Notes

  • Quinoa: Any type of quinoa will work here – I used a tricolor blend.
  • Black Beans: For added protein, fiber and texture!
  • Veggies: I used green onions and red/yellow bell peppers for added color and flavor.
  • Feta Cheese: For creaminess!
  • Spices: Cumin, Chili Powder, Cayenne and Salt give these quinoa cakes great flavor.
  • Salsa: For serving!
  • Eggs & Breadcrumbs: For binding, if you want a veggie-burger like texture for your quinoa patty.

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1: Cook the quinoa according to package directions and chop your veggies. Set aside.

quinoa mixture in a pot

Step 2: Once the quinoa is done cooking, add all of the rest of the ingredients (black beans through salt & pepper) into the pot and mix well. Heat through on low until all of the ingredients and spices have combined. Note: If adding the egg and breadcrumbs, let the mixture cool, and then add in the egg + breadcrumbs and mix well.

veggies added to a pot on the stovetop

Step 3: Using your hands, form small patties using all of the quinoa mixture. Each quinoa patty should be about the size of your palm. Heat a pan over medium heat, spray with cooking spray, and pan fry each patty until both sides are slightly crispy and golden brown.

patties ready to be cooked

Step 4: Once the quinoa cakes are browned on either side, take them off the pan and serve with a bit of salsa, guacamole, or even enjoy them plain. We chose to have ours with a bit of salsa.

Black Bean Quinoa Cakes topped with salsa, served on a white plate

What Makes These Quinoa Cakes Healthy?

  • High in Plant Protein: Quinoa is a complete protein! Just one of these black bean cakes will give you 17 grams of healthy plant protein.
  • High in Fiber: Fiber is super important for keeping you fuller longer. Each of these quinoa cakes has 13 grams of fiber.
  • Antioxidants: Bell peppers, spices and black beans all have a healthy dose of anti-inflammatory antioxidants!

How to Make These Quinoa Patties for Toddlers

I don’t know what it is about quinoa cakes, but little ones just seem to love them. Maybe it’s the shape? Who knows. The original recipe is a little too spicy for immature tastebuds, but it’s super easy to turn these into the perfect quinoa cake for toddlers!

Just leave out (or reduce) the cumin, chili powder, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. You can use garlic and parsley instead to add more, yet subtle flavor. 

And I’d swap out the feta cheese for some shredded cheddar or parmesan. 

Make those simple swaps, and you’ll have the perfect little quinoa cakes for kids

Tips for Serving and Storing Quinoa Cakes

  • Next time I’m going to experiment with making my own sauce to pair with these patties. You may want to try a dijon mustard or even a spicy ranch-style dip. 
  • Quinoa cakes actually make a great topper for salad greens. So fix a salad the way you normally would, but instead of topping it with boiled egg or canned chicken, place one or two of these little patties on top for a super nutritious supper.  
  • Don’t be afraid to customize your quinoa cakes! I chose onions and sweet peppers because that’s what I had on hand, but quinoa is fantastic with other add-ins like shredded zucchini and chopped spinach. For bigger vegetables, consider using a food processor to get them diced as small as possible.
  • Quinoa cakes hold up surprisingly well in the freezer. Just space them out on a baking sheet (so they’re not touching, and place in the freezer. Once frozen through, transfer them to a resealable bag and enjoy throughout the month!
  • If you want these quinoa cakes to really stick together, be sure to add in the egg and breadcrumbs. If you’re gluten free, just use gluten free breadcrumbs! Also, the smaller you dice your veggies, the better the patties will hold together.
Black Bean Quinoa Cakes topped with salsa, served on a white plate

Want More Ways to Use Quinoa?

Check Out These Delicious Quinoa Recipes

I’d have to say these crispy quinoa cakes were pretty good for a random, last minute, thrown together meal! 

It definitely didn’t taste like it was thrown together, and somehow the combination of black beans, feta, quinoa and the Mexican inspired spices really worked well.

I think I might go grocery shopping in my fridge more often! Need quick and easy meal ideas? Check out this post of 30 Minute Vegetarian Meals for Busy Weeknights!

If you have tried this Recipe for Black Bean Quinoa Cakes or any other recipe on my blog, then please rate it and let me know how it turned out in the comments below! You can also FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM, and PINTEREST to see more delicious, healthy, family friendly food!

Black Bean Quinoa Cakes topped with salsa, served on a white plate
Print Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Crispy Black Bean Quinoa Cake Recipe

These crispy quinoa patties combine the creaminess of feta cheese with a distinct Mexican flair for the perfect blend of flavor and texture. Have leftover quinoa? This is a tasty, nutrient-dense way to reimagine it!
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Mexican
Servings: 4 servings
Calories: 311kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 15 oz black beans, rinsed and drained 1 can
  • 6 green onions chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper diced
  • 1 red bell pepper diced
  • 3-5 oz feta cheese crumbled (can use low fat if desired)
  • 2-3 tsp ground cumin or more to taste
  • 2-3 tsp chili powder or more to taste
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • A few squeezes of lemon juice
  • ½ tsp salt more to taste
  • Salsa for serving
  • 1 egg optional for binding, if you want a more "veggie burger like texture"
  • ¼-⅓ cup whole wheat breadcrumbs optional, for binding, if you want a more "veggie burger like texture"

Instructions

  • Cook the quinoa according to package directions and chop your veggies. Set aside.
  • Once the quinoa is done cooking, add all of the rest of the ingredients (black beans through salt & pepper) into the pot and mix well. Heat through on low until all of the ingredients and spices have combined.
  • Using your hands, form small patties using all of the quinoa mixture. Each patty should be about the size of your palm. Heat a pan over medium heat, spray with cooking spray, and pan fry each patty until both sides are slightly crispy and golden brown.
    Note: These patties are not the texture of veggie burgers. They’re loosely bound and fall apart slightly in your mouth. But if you want them to be super tightly bound, then add one egg and breadcrumbs to the mixture before you create patties and cook it.
  • Once the griddle cakes are browned on either side, take them off the pan and serve with a bit of salsa, guacamole, or even enjoy them plain. We chose to have ours with a bit of salsa.

Video

https://youtu.be/qsxxmg3kHRE

Notes

Note: This recipe makes 4 very large patties, or 8 smaller patties. Nutritional info is calculated based on 4 patties, and doesn’t include egg or breadcrumb optional binding.
Tips for Serving and Storing Quinoa Cakes
  • Next time I’m going to experiment with making my own sauce to pair with these patties. You may want to try a dijon mustard or even a spicy ranch-style dip. 
  • Quinoa cakes actually make a great topper for salad greens. So fix a salad the way you normally would, but instead of topping it with boiled egg or canned chicken, place one or two of these little patties on top for a super nutritious supper.  
  • Don’t be afraid to customize your quinoa cakes! I chose onions and sweet peppers because that’s what I had on hand, but quinoa is fantastic with other add-ins like shredded zucchini and chopped spinach. For bigger vegetables, consider using a food processor to get them diced as small as possible.
  • Quinoa cakes hold up surprisingly well in the freezer. Just space them out on a baking sheet (so they’re not touching, and place in the freezer. Once frozen through, transfer them to a resealable bag and enjoy throughout the month!
  • If you want these quinoa cakes to really stick together, be sure to add in the egg and breadcrumbs. If you’re gluten free, just use gluten free breadcrumbs! Also, the smaller you dice your veggies, the better the patties will hold together.

Nutrition

Serving: 1large patty | Calories: 311kcal | Carbohydrates: 45g | Protein: 17g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 25mg | Sodium: 888mg | Potassium: 793mg | Fiber: 13g | Sugar: 5g

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