Quinoa Cakes With Lemon, Olives and Feta

One of my favorite parts of growing up is that you can eat whatever you want whenever you want. Cake for breakfast? Ain’t no one there to tell you no. Cereal for dinner? Sure, why not? I grew up eating three square meals a day with healthy snacks in the afternoon (boring!), so naturally my oh-so-rebellious self (not.) completely abandoned every single eating rule I was ever taught.

Unfortunately, aforementioned stomach ailments have forced me to at least try to shore up my diet a bit, as has that actual diet I was on (remember that? Me neither). So instead of breaking the “no dessert for breakfast” rule, I’ve started to focus on breaking the “no breakfast food for dinner” rule — a rule that shouldn’t even really exist.

Let me tell you, there’s nothing so satisfying as eating “breakfast” foods later in the day. And since, in my world at least, a runny egg is all I need in order to feel like a rule-shirker, anything from asparagus hash to Spanish migas to stewed lentils works, to say nothing of the baked eggs and omlettes and frittatas that I like to pass off as dinner.

These quinoa cakes are the perfect intersection of breakfast and dinner. They’re bright and herby, thanks to the lemon and dill, salty from the feta and olives, slightly spicy from the red pepper. While they’re a great bed for a fried egg, they’re also a delicious topping for a pile of baby spinach. The recipe comes from Life Tastes Like Food, the blog of a friend I met at the FoodBuzz Festival. Her pictures are gorgeous, so you should definitely check it out!

Quinoa Cakes With Lemon, Olives and Feta
Adapted from Life Tastes Like Food

– 3 cups quinoa, cooked*

– 1/2 large yellow onion, finely chopped

– 4 cloves garlic, finely minced

– 1/2 cup crumbled feta

– 1/4 cup dill, chopped

– 1/2 cup Greek olives, chopped

– zest of one medium lemon

– juice from one medium lemon

– 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs

– salt and pepper, to taste

– 4 large eggs, beaten

– 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes

– 2 tablespoons olive oil

1) Drizzle some oil on a lined baking sheet and preheat the oven to 400°F. Mix the quinoa, onion, garlic, feta, dill, olives, lemon zest and juice, Panko, salt, pepper and crushed red pepper flakes together. Add the beaten eggs and mix until everything comes together.

2) Add the oil to bind the mixture together — everything should be moist that word I don’t like, so that the patties don’t dry out in the oven. Using your hands, form 1-inch thick palm-sized patties from the mixture and place them on the sheet.

2. Bake for 12 minutes, then flip and bake on the other side for another 12 minutes, until the cakes are slightly browned. Remove and serve warm.

*To cook the quinoa: Rinse 1 cup of raw quinoa under cool water, then add it to a saucepan with 2 cups of water. Let the quinoa come to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. You can tell the quinoa is cooked when the small, white sprout shows.

Note: It’s a little faster (though slightly more labor-intensive) to pan-fry the quinoa patties. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large skillet, and add 3-4 patties (depending on the size of the patty and the size of the skillet). Cook on medium heat for 5-7 minutes on each side, until the patties have browned.

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