This healthy quinoa cake recipe is packed with protein from the black beans, eggs, cottage cheese and quinoa. We like to serve the quinoa cakes with a mouthwatering and incredibly easy blender salsa; if you don't like the heat, leave out the chipotle pepper. We like the look of red quinoa, but any color quinoa will work just as well.

Hilary Meyer
Source: EatingWell Magazine, March/April 2014




Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Coat a 12-cup nonstick muffin tin with cooking spray.

  • Bring water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in quinoa. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the grains are tender and reveal their spiraled germ, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool for about 10 minutes.

  • Add eggs, beans, cottage cheese, scallions, flour, baking powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt to the quinoa and stir until well combined. Divide the mixture among the muffin cups (about 1/4 cup each). Top each quinoa cake with about 1 tablespoon cheese.

  • Bake the cakes until puffed and a little brown on top, about 20 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes. Gently loosen and remove with a paring knife.

  • Meanwhile, place tomatoes, garlic, chipotle pepper and a pinch of salt in a blender and puree until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl and stir in cilantro.

  • Serve the cakes with the salsa and avocado.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate the salsa (Step 5) for up to 3 days; bring to room temperature before serving.

Equipment: Nonstick muffin tin with 12 (1/2-cup) cups

Chipotle chile peppers in adobo sauce are smoked jalapeños packed in a flavorful, spicy sauce. Look for the small cans with Mexican foods at large supermarkets. Once opened, they'll keep for up to 2 weeks in the refrigerator or 6 months in the freezer.

Nutrition Facts

363 calories; protein 18.7g 37% DV; carbohydrates 35.5g 11% DV; exchange other carbs 2.5; dietary fiber 7g 28% DV; sugars 6.4g; fat 16.6g 26% DV; saturated fat 6.3g 32% DV; cholesterol 140.7mg 47% DV; vitamin a iu 904.2IU 18% DV; vitamin c 16mg 27% DV; folate 128.2mcg 32% DV; calcium 283.1mg 28% DV; iron 3.6mg 20% DV; magnesium 74.8mg 27% DV; potassium 526.7mg 15% DV; sodium 656mg 26% DV; thiamin 0.2mg 21% DV.

Reviews (20)

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20 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 9
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 4
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 2 stars
Unfortunately after all the work making it, the cakes have no flavor/taste whatsoever. Definitely needs some spices as indicated in other reviews which I should have read before making this! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I baked these in two Marie Calendar pie pans. The salsa really made these. And day two OMG. As with other reviewers the sky is the limit as to what changes you make. Looking forward to making this again. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
I love that I can eat these for breakfast lunch and dinner and still feel satisfied. A very satisfying vegetarian meal and a really fun way to use quinoa! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
This is one of my all time favorite recipes. Lots of flavor and healthy too. I always make a double batch of the sauce freeze part and use later with another batch of this dish or with other dishes. I have made this recipe a lot is really good. Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Hearty in liquid form Like others I made a few substitutions. Instead of beans I used strawberries. Instead of quinoa and cottage cheese I used protein powder and vanilla yogurt. I skipped the other ingredients which I don't really like. Rather than baking I put these ingredients into a blender with some ice and made a smoothie. It was delicious! My only negative comment is that it doesn't seem very southwest to me. Otherwise a great recipe! Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious! Following advice from other reviewers I added 2 tsp cumin 1 tsp oregano 1 tsp chili powder 1/4 tsp celery seeds and 1 minced clove of garlic to the cakes and OMG SO DELICIOUS. I also substituted the shredded cheese for crumbled queso fresco. I baked mine in the pan with liners; if you allow the cakes to cool first the liner peels away well and leaves the cake in good shape. Next time I make these I'll be trying the greased muffin pan instead; I'm curious to see if I can get the sides and bottom to crisp up. Pros: quick tasty low carb Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Loved this basic healthy recipe but have a chemistry question As others report these cakes are bland without salsa and need to be modified to suit your taste. I love the healthy ingredients and portability but must use liners. I oiled my almost new nonstick cupcake tins and when removed the nonstick surface peeled off onto the bottoms and sides of almost every cake. Using liners taking out immediately and allowing to rest 10 minutes works. Also 1 cup of black and white quinoa ballooned to over 2 cups cooked. Makes 24 cakes easy. Will continue to make and freeze these! Pros: convenient portable can be tailored to individual preference makes way more than 12! Cons: Ingredients caused chemical reaction non stick finish adhered to cakes Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Added more spice like other reviewers and really liked it! I made this recipe adding a little corn chili powder cumin Mexican oregano and just a dash of cayenne. The muffins taste good on their own but the salsa is really good as well. Pros: ease of preparation Cons: without adding some spice it might be bland Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Turned this into a breakfast muffin... I replaced the black beans with a cup of chopped sauteed broccoli and skipped the salsa aspect. I used mozzarella cheese- a little on the bottom and a little on top as suggested by other reviewers. I think using a knife around the edge and allowing to cool for 10-15 min helped the removal process. I have wrapped these individually so I can quickly grab on to warm at work after the gym. My husband stole one beforehand and was totally raving about them. Pros: Perfect post-workout meal! Read More
Rating: 3 stars
A great base to start with I read the other reviews and bumped up the flavour. I added a tbsp. of taco seasoning and approx. 1 tsp of dried oregano. Instead of the pepperjack cheese I found a habernero cheese! Lots of great flavour in the muffins. I had to cook them longer than 20 minutes... almost 30. I will definitely make these again and keep switching up the flavours. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Could use a little perking up! I tried these Saturday night and took the advice of my fellow reviewers - I added corn a tbs of taco mix and a tbs of cumin to give it additional flavor. Since i don't like cottage cheese I used greek yogurt instead - which seemed to work out fine. I thought these mini-muffins were o.k. - they still needed more spice because I don't want all of the flavor in this meal to come from the salsa. Next time I will definitely add more spice; maybe some adobe in the mixture. This is a good basic receipt that you can make your own by adding different ingredients. Pros: Easy to make; makes a lot Cons: A bit bland Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Great non-meat meal Added the suggestions made by other reviewers--adobe chili seasoning cumin & oregano. Shredded additional 2oz jalapeno monterey jack cheese & placed in bottom of muffin tins before adding batter & topping with shredded cheese. This recipe made 16 muffins for me. The salsa recipe is worth the small effort of blending. Pros: Heart healthy palatable texture Cons: I hate rinsing quinoa; look for pre-rinsed quinoa Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Delicious and nutritious! I tripled the batch to serve at two different back to back pot luck brunches. The muffins were a smash hit at the two gatherings. I followed the suggestions of some reviewers and add some additional seasoning to the batter (oregano cumin and ancho chile powder) but what really made the muffins zing was the very easy to make salsa which is part of the recipe. I highly recommend that the muffins be served with the salsa! Since I made these ahead I tossed the avocado with lime juice (to prevent oxidation) and some additional cilantro. Very relish! I will definitely make this again. Pros: Simple to prepare with readily available ingredients Cons: If made in nonstick muffin pans the muffins not slide out easily even if the tins are well greased Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Cakes are good but need some spices I made these twice: once as stated in the recipe and once my way. I found the cakes in the original recipe to be too light on seasoning although they were good with the salsa topping. When I made them the second time I added 1/2 cup medium salsa 1/2 cup raw onion and 1 1/2 tsp taco seasoning. They were so much better! I actually skipped the salsa topping on the second batch since I put it in the cakes. Doing it this way it made 15 cakes instead of 12. I think next time I will add corn also. Pros: Easy to make filling Cons: Not enough seasoning Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Freeze well tasty and hold off hunger I've made this recipe several times although just the cakes and not the salsa. The original recipe is light on spices and I started adding more and playing around with the ingredient amounts. It's a very forgiving recipe and you can add in more items as long as you make sure to keep the binding agents in there (egg cottage cheese). I tried muffin cups but they stuck so definitely go with just the muffin tin and oil it. Also I found they held together better if I put a little shredded cheese on the bottom as well as the top (for flavor). The cheese on the bottom helped it keep its shape and to not fall apart. I've also successfully frozen and then reheated (microwaved and toaster oven) these and they come out very well. Pros: Freeze Well Cons: crumbly Read More
Rating: 4 stars
A light choice i really liked this recipe it was easy to follow i couldn't find black beans so i put red kidney beans and i added 1 tablespoon of tabasco to the tomato sauce instead of the chipotle. However i also added a cup of cilantro because i didnt want it to go to waste and the recipe turned out better than expected. Pros: easy recipe Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Easy and Delicious Cakes were delicious! I made them with red and white quinoa. I also made the salsa which was spicy; any salsa would taste fine with the cakes if you do not have time to make the one in thr recipe. Had cakes for leftovers and they tasted great re-heated. 2 cakes are very filling. Definitely making them again. Read More
Rating: 3 stars
Tweaking recommended I made these and ate them over the course of Monday-Thursday for either lunch or dinner each day. They are portable healthy veggie and easy to make. But I think the cakes themselves could use some more seasoning/spice and they were a bit dry reheated (but the salsa/avocado helped). FWIW I didn't have baking powder so used 1/4 tsp baking soda plus a tsp of vinegar successfully (i.e. cakes still rose no acidic taste). I will be making again to use my the quinoa I bought for these but will be adding some spice to the cakes. Pros: Healthy cute easy vegetarian Cons: Somewhat bland a little dry Read More
Rating: 5 stars
Easy virtuous and delicious A keeper. Delicious especially with the diced avocado and chipotle salsa (I purchased salsa). I used regular (not red) quinoa. Minced jalapenos would be a nice addition. Spicy southwestern turnip greens would round out the meal nicely...fresh mango for dessert. Pros: Easy ingredients can be kept on hand full of good nutrients Cons: Not the most beautiful Read More
Rating: 5 stars
So easy so good so healthy I made these on Sunday and forgot the cilantro and avocado and they were good. I made leftovers today with the cilantro and avocado and they were awesome! Besides using fresh diced tomatoes and dried beans instead of canned and a little extra garlic I followed the recipe exactly (Ok I was a little heavy on the chipotles too because I like spicy!). Even using slightly generous 1/4c for each cake I ended up with 8 servings (16 cakes) instead of 6. I will make these again except I will likely add habanero peppers to the quinoa cakes and I may mix the cheese into the mix instead of putting it on top. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
these were delicious!. followed recipe exactly using red quinoa. they went together quickly and looked so cute!. I used jarred salsa since DH wants mild and I want hot. 2 muffins were a generous serving. Read More