These crisp quinoa cakes spiked with smoked salmon and topped with lemony sour cream make a lovely appetizer.

Maria Speck
Source: EatingWell Magazine, November/December 2012


Recipe Summary

1 hr 45 mins


Ingredient Checklist


Instructions Checklist
  • Bring water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer, cover and cook until the water is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and spread out to cool, about 15 minutes.

  • To prepare lemon sour cream: Combine sour cream, lemon zest and lemon juice in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.

  • To prepare quinoa cakes: Add salmon, eggs, breadcrumbs, scallions, chopped dill, lemon zest and pepper to the quinoa. Using your hands, thoroughly combine and squeeze the mixture to bring it together. Using 2 rounded tablespoons of the mixture for each and keeping your hands damp, form 32 small cakes, about 3/4 inch thick and 2 inches wide, pressing firmly to help them hold together. Place the cakes on a large baking sheet and/or a large plate. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes (or up to 6 hours).

  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Reduce heat to medium. Gently add about one-third of the cakes and cook, carefully turning once with a spatula, until golden brown, 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Repeat twice more, wiping out the pan between batches, if necessary, and reducing the heat if the pan gets too hot. Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with 1 1/2 teaspoons each lemon sour cream and a sprig of dill, if desired.


Make Ahead Tip: Cover and refrigerate quinoa (Step 1) and lemon sour cream (Step 2) in separate containers for up to 1 day. Form quinoa cakes (Step 3) up to 6 hours ahead.

Tips: Rinsing removes any residue of saponin, quinoa's natural, bitter protective covering. Most quinoa available in the U.S. has been “scrubbed” of its bitter outer coating--check the label to see if you need to rinse it first.

To make coarse dry breadcrumbs, spread crumbs on a baking sheet and bake at 250°F until dry, 10 to 15 minutes. One slice of bread makes about 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs or about 1/3 cup dry breadcrumbs. For store-bought coarse dry breadcrumbs we like Ian's brand, labeled Panko breadcrumbs. Find them at well-stocked supermarkets.

To Make It Gluten-Free: Substitute homemade coarse dry breadcrumbs made from gluten-free bread in place of the whole-wheat breadcrumbs.

Keep It Warm: If you need to cook in batches, keep your first batch warm by tenting it loosely with foil. Tenting lets steam escape, preventing sogginess while keeping food warm.

Nutrition Facts

51 calories; protein 2.8g; carbohydrates 4g; dietary fiber 0.5g; sugars 0.3g; fat 2.7g; saturated fat 0.9g; cholesterol 16.2mg; vitamin a iu 78.1IU; vitamin c 0.7mg; folate 11.1mcg; calcium 14.3mg; iron 0.4mg; magnesium 10.9mg; potassium 56.7mg; sodium 62.7mg.

Reviews (3)

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5 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 0
  • 4 star values: 4
  • 3 star values: 1
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
I thought these were really good. I used them as a main dish instead of an appetizer. But there was way too much dill for my taste. I will make these again but I think I'll just try using only half the dill. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Crispy outside creamy inside This recipe was very easy to make and very favorable with all the fresh herbs. be sure to rinse your quinoa. I made mine for dinner with three or four cakes on top of a salad. Delicious! Even my very picky mother enjoyed this dish! Pros: Easy to make Cons: Be sure to rinse quinoa Read More
Rating: 4 stars
Make these at least once a month I make these quinoa cakes usually once a month. I use half the cakes for dinner and then freeze the remaining half (uncooked) for dinner another night. I also serve these as a lettuce wrap. I use Bibb lettuce a few slices of avocado and the lemony sauce (made with yogurt) and it is always a huge hit! I do tend to use less dill than the recipe calls for and often times use dried dill rather than fresh (reducing the quantity to compensate for the dried version). Even my 3 year old will eat them! Read More
Rating: 3 stars
I really enjoyed these but there was a bit too much dill for my taste. I will make these again but I'll use1/4 to 1/2 cup of dill. I think also that I'll try a yogurt based sauce. Read More
Rating: 4 stars
A hit at Thanksgiving I couldn't find fresh dill so they may have tasted even better had I used the correct ingredient. That said these were very very tasty! and well liked by all at Thanksgiving. I used a tri-color quinoa that was pre-rinsed. I thought the recipe had a lot of steps but considering it was the only thing I had to make for Thanksgiving it was well worth the time and effort. Pros: Tasty relatively easy Cons: A lot of steps Read More