Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes (with no eggs, flour or bread crumbs)  topped with Tomato Chickpea Relish-  a healthy flavorful, plant-based VEGAN dinner that is delicious and gluten-free!  It can be made ahead! 
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
What makes this Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes Recipe unique is that they have no eggs, no bread crumbs, no flour of any kind, no binder, or coating, or any other additions other than seasonings. Purely plant-based. I discovered these quite by accident many years ago, and since then they became a godsend at catering events with gluten-free/vegan folks. This is an old recipe that I’ve updated with much clearer instructions. Getting the quinoa to bind can be a little tricky at first, but if you follow the directions exactly- you’ll have no problem! MAKE SURE TO USE WHITE QUINOA (other varieties will not work here!). 

how to make quinoa cakes | 50-second video

What I love about this recipe, besides the “no binder” is how wonderful these are made ahead, stored in the fridge for midweek meals. Perfect for Sunday meal prep.
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
The recipe starts with WHITE QUINOA. Tri-colored,  red, or black quinoa will not work, and will be much more difficult and finicky.
Here is why: The white quinoa grains break down more easily when cooked, and it is this “breaking down” of the grain that acts as the binder or glue- the secret to making these into a patty or cake. Red and black quinoa grains do not break down, or take much longer if at all.
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
Cook the white quinoa according to recipe directions and be very precise with the measuring. Because we are adding a little more water than normal, this will take 25 minutes, rather than the typical 10-15 mins.
Cook quinoa until all the water is gone and visible steam holes appear. You want the quinoa dry, not watery.
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
Then you are going to stir with a fork until the actual grains start breaking apart, about 1 minute.
This breaking apart will be visible to the eye.  STIR FOR A FULL MINUTE!
Look closely at the broken grains here, you’ll see the white edges, actually break apart!
When the grains break, they become sticky like glue.
Hence, the secret to how these are able to bind.
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
Stir in some lemon zest and fresh herbs if you like.
Let this cool on the counter until cool enough to handle with your hands, 15-20 minutes.
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
While the quinoa is still slightly warm, wet your hands, and form 4 balls roughly the size of a tennis ball.
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
With wet hands, flatten and smooth any cracked edges. They are really workable at this point.
Refrigerate 15 minutes to set,  or overnight (or for several days).
You can do all this ahead for meal prep.
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
Then pan sear. You can pan-sear these with no coating at all, or feel free to dip in rice flour or GF panko for extra crispy. But I personally like to pan sear them without any coating at all.
Just make sure to use a well-oiled pan or skillet – and a thin metal spatula -and do not fiddle with them. This is key! Let them develop a crispy crust before moving, which will help them naturally release from the pan.
I like to use a very thin, metal spatula ( more precise) to flip.
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
These can also be baked.
 I toss these in our toaster oven right on the rack for a quick easy meal.
Or bake them in a 400F oven on a parchment-lined sheet pan, until warmed through, about 20 minutes.
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
The fresh tomato chickpea relish with herbs and a simple balsamic vinaigrette complements the crispy vegan quinoa cakes well.
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
For heartier eaters feel free to add crumbled goat cheese– super tasty. Garnish with a balsamic glaze.
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree
Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.
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Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy flavorful vegan dinner that is gluten-free.  #quinoacakes #vegan #veganquinoa #veganquinoacakes #veganquinoarecipes #quinoapatties #glutenfree

Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish

  • Author: Sylvia Fountaine
  • Prep Time: 45
  • Cook Time: 30
  • Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Yield: 4 large cakes 1x
  • Category: vegan main
  • Method: stove top
  • Cuisine: mediterranean

Description

Crispy Vegan Quinoa Cakes with Tomato Chickpea Relish- a delicious, healthy, flavorful plant-based vegan dinner that is gluten-free. Please watch the how-to video to see how to get the quinoa to “clump”.


Ingredients

Scale

Quinoa Cakes ( use white quinoa – tri-colored, or other colored quinoa will not bind)

  • 2  cups  water
  • 1 cup rinsed, white quinoa (rinse and drain!!! DON’T SKIP)
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 teaspoon granulated garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon herbs de Provence  ( or Italian dried herbs)
  • ——
  • zest from one small lemon (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley (optional)

Fresh Tomato Chickpea Relish

  • 2 cups cherry or grape tomatoes, sliced in half
  • 1 cup cucumber, diced
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil ( or flat-leaf parsley, dill,  or mint, or a combo!) chopped
  • 1/4  cup chopped scallions  (or finely sliced red onion)
  • 1 ½  cup cooked chickpeas ( 1 can, drained and rinsed)
  • 3 Tbs olive oil
  • 3 Tbs balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp salt… more to taste
  • 1 small minced garlic clove (optional)
Optional Garnishes: Crumbled Goat Cheese, balsamic glaze

Instructions

  1. Read directions and watch the video before starting- this recipe can be tricky.
  2. In a medium pot, over high heat, add water,  rinsed white quinoa, salt, garlic powder, cumin, dried herbs, olive oil, and stir. Bring to a boil. Cover, lower heat to low, and simmer gently for 20 minutes.  Set timer.
  3. While the quinoa is cooking make the Tomato Chickpea Relish, stirring all ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  4. Check quinoa- making sure all the water is gone. If not, continue cooking covered, 5 more minutes, and until steam holes appear (this usually takes me a total of 25 minutes) and quinoa has soaked up all the water and looks fairly dry.)  It is important that quinoa is dry-ish and not watery. Be patient here, all stoves are different. 
  5. While it’s still warm, stir the quinoa vigorously with a fork, for a one whole minute, until you begin to see the individual grains break apart. This is imperative, to getting the quinoa to bind. Eventually, after a full minute of stirring, the grains will break apart and begin to clump. You can visually see this. Remove from stove, let cool down in the pot to where it’s cool enough to handle with your hands, about 15 minutes.  Stir in the lemon zest and fresh parsley if you like.
  6. Using wet hands, shape into 4 balls, the size of a tennis ball. Place on a plate or sheet pan.  Using wet hands press into a 1 – 1 1/2 inch thick cake (about 3-4 inches wide), smoothing any cracks on the edges, making them nice and tidy. Wet hands is key.
  7. Refrigerate 15 minutes to set. As the quinoa cakes cool they will become even more sturdy. (These will keep 3-4 days if made ahead, just lightly oil them, cover, and store in the fridge.)
  8. Gently Pan-sear the Quinoa Cakes in a well-oiled skillet (using a thin metal spatula to flip) over medium heat.  You can pan-sear them without any coating, or for an extra crispy crust, dredge in rice flour or GF Panko. I often do these without any coating at all. Just be sure to not fiddle with them- letting them develop a good crust before flipping. As then develop the crust, they will naturally release themselves from the pan. I like to use a thin metal spatula to flip (more precise).
  9. You can also bake these in a toaster oven ( right on the rack) or in a 400F  oven ( on a parchment-lined pan) until warmed through, about 20 minutes, but the crust for a skillet gives these the BEST texture.
  10. Divide among plates and top with the fresh tomato chickpea relish.  Spoon any remaining dressing over top and around the cakes.
  11. Garnish with OPTIONAL crumbled goat cheese if you like or a balsamic glaze.

Enjoy!


Notes

USE WHITE QUINOA. Other colors will not work.

Can be made ahead, will keep up to 4 days in the fridge.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 cake with 1 cup relish
  • Calories: 388
  • Sugar: 4.9 g
  • Sodium: 560.1 mg
  • Fat: 17.6 g
  • Saturated Fat: 2.4 g
  • Carbohydrates: 48.2 g
  • Fiber: 9 g
  • Protein: 12.3 g
  • Cholesterol: 0 mg

Keywords: quinoa cakes, vegan quinoa cakes, crispy quinoa cakes, best quinoa cakes, quinoa cakes no eggs, quinoa cakes no flour, quinoa cakes no bread crumbs, gluten free quinoa cakes, gluten-free vegan quinoa cakes

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  1. All your recipes are amazing. We love them all!
    I only have tricolored quinoa, which, as you mentioned, won’t work. Do you think it would work if I used half a cup of quinoa and half a cup of millet?

      1. Thank you for your confirmation! I have been using 200ml for a cup up till now as I am Japanese. When I google it told me there are 2 cup measures in the US, Customary cup and Legal cup. Also metric cup is 250ml which I use for UK recipes, so I thought I should ask.

  2. We loved this. Didn’t have cucumber but did have celery and it was so good I’d use celery again. Loved the crispy cold w the hot.

  3. Hi Sylvia: The cakes are wonderful in texture and easy to make, and we love them as they are, but we hope to change the seasoning a bit. Might you have another seasoning idea for these cakes up your sleeve? We’re thinking of a falafel-type flavor, for example, how could we achieve it? Thank you!!

    1. I think the seasonings could be easily tweaked. I would just have fun and play around with it! Perhaps, Cumin, Coriander, and fresh chilantro for falafel seasonings.

  4. Hi, I made these and they were delicious! I am planning on making these as a wedding entree, and wondering if you had any recommendations for a side to go with it?

    1. Great to hear Lisa! As for sides, I would serve with a veggie- grilled asparagus, green beans, brussels… etc!

  5. This was delicious and filling! My husband loved it as well. I’ll definitely make it again and highly recommend giving it a try!

  6. These were so delicious!! I had a little difficulty in flipping them and keeping them together but that was just me being impatient. Nonetheless, so flavorful!! Thank you, Silvia!

  7. I happened to have all the ingredients for this recipe and make this for dinner tonight. It was super easy and so good! I have leftovers and can’t wait to eat it tomorrow. Thanks!

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Hi, I'm Sylvia!

Chef and author of the whole-foods recipe blog, Feasting at Home, Sylvia Fountaine is a former restaurant owner and caterer turned full-time food blogger. She currently lives in the Pacific Northwest and shares seasonal, healthy recipes along with tips and tricks from her home kitchen.

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