While we’re on the subject of quinoa in “cake” format, let’s go all in this time, foregoing flour altogether and making straight up quinoa cakes…
Quinoa cakes have been on our mind ever since we came across them in Maria Speck’s cookbook, Ancient Grains. Back when we were reviewing the cookbook, we were torn between trying Maria’s Buckwheat Feta Burgers and Quinoa Cakes with Smoked Trout and Lime Mayonnaise. In the end, the Buckwheat Burgers won out because we had never cooked with whole buckwheat before and we wanted to try something “new.”
But quinoa cakes stayed in the back of our minds.
And when the time came to come up with 30 different ways to cook and eat quinoa, little cakes (or patties, or burgers or whatever you want to call them) were an obvious choice. Like Maria, We stayed with the theme of quinoa cakes with smoked fish, but rather than mixing chopped fish into the cakes, we topping the cakes with smoked salmon (among other things) to make a sort of “Benedict.”
The cakes are easy to put together. Most recipes we’ve seen use breadcrumbs and eggs as a “binder” but we tried to sidestep using eggs because we were going to be topping each cake with a whole poached egg. However, our idea of using just ground flaxseeds with a little bit of water didn’t cut it. In the end, we had to add a couple of eggs to the quinoa cake “batter” after all.
The rest is self-explanatory: sliced fresh avocado, smoked salmon, poached egg. We thought about Hollandaise sauce to make it as close to Eggs Benedict as we could, but a buttery, yolk-y sauce on a runny egg on top of a cake made with eggs it seemed like too much. Also? We admit we are terrified of making Hollandaise sauce. The runny egg yolk is sauce enough for it all. Chopped fresh herbs and flaky sea salt match the entire dish much better. A little crumbled feta cheese wouldn’t be a bad idea either, especially with the dill in the cakes.
Dill Quinoa Cakes with Avocado, Smoked Salmon, and Poached Eggs
makes about 8 cakes, or 4 servings
2 cups cooked quinoa
1½ tablespoons ground flaxseeds
½ teaspoon water, more for consistency
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 clove garlic, finely minced
zest from half a lemon
2 teaspoons fresh dill, finely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh parsley, very finely chopped
¼ teaspoon salt, more to taste
a few turns on mill of black pepper
oil for cooking (I used grapeseed)
1 avocado, peeled and sliced
fresh chopped herbs like basil, chives, dill, parsley, tarragon
Maldon or other flaky sea salt
Combine cooked quinoa, flaxseeds, water, eggs, garlic, lemon zest, dill, salt and pepper in a bowl. Add more water if the mixture isn’t “sticky” enough. It doesn’t necessarily have to hold its shape on its own, as it will stick together better once it starts cooking.
Divide the quinoa mixture into 8 portions, then shape each into a ball. Set aside while heating pan for cooking.
Heat about a tablespoon cooking oil in large pan over medium heat. Add a few quinoa “balls” to the pan and flatten with spatula, also shaping around the edges to form cakes. Allow to cook through and brown, about 5 minutes. Carefully flip the cakes over and let the other side brown, about 3 minutes. Remove from pan onto paper towels.
Place the quinoa cakes on a plate. Top with a few slices of fresh avocado, smoked salmon, and poached egg. Garnish with chopped fresh herbs, flaky sea salt, and fresh cracked pepper.