These crispy little Quinoa Cakes are filled with spinach and sharp cheddar cheese and are served with a cool and creamy buffalo sauce. This makes for a fantastic base for a meatless meal that everyone will love!

You wouldn’t know it from the paucity of recipes here, but I’ve become a huge quinoa fan over the past couple of years.  The very first recipe I tried was 4 or 5 years ago – a breakfast recipe – and honestly, I wasn’t blown away. 

The next recipe I made was probably 2 years after that – a quinoa burrito bowl.  Very similar to my chicken fajita burrito bowls but with seasoned quinoa in place of the rice, this recipe was the quinoa game-changer.  It was this recipe which introduced Kyle to the world of quinoa and though I was super nervous to serve the boy something similar to couscous (which he claims he hates), he completely got on board.

So fast-forward to this past weekend.  I know I shouldn’t have been, but I was a little nervous about what he’d think about these spinach and cheddar quinoa cakes with creamy buffalo sauce.  It’s the reason why I’ve had them on my list of meals to make for, oh, the better part of 9 months. But since he asked to eat more meatless meals recently, I threw this one into the ring.

And…he loved it! No less than 3 times during dinner did he say – without my asking! – how much he was enjoying the meal. 

How to Make Quinoa Cakes

The recipe itself is a simple one to throw together and because you’ll saute fresh spinach with some shallots and garlic, you don’t have to squeeze the liquid from a package of frozen spinach, which I abhor doing. I cooked some farro with the quinoa and adored the slightly toothsome bite the farro gave to these cakes which may otherwise have be a little lacking in texture.

The cheese, of course, isn’t required but really, why wouldn’t you add it?  I’ll consider using feta in place of the cheddar in the future and maybe topping the quinoa cakes with a garlic-yogurt-cucumber sauce in place of the creamy buffalo sauce I made this time around.

And so it goes. I suppose we’ll be seeing lots more quinoa as we phase animal-based protein out of our diets and I can’t see why these spinach and cheddar quinoa cakes, and variations on this theme, won’t be happening more frequently in the future. 

The perfect springtime, family-pleasing, weeknight meal?  I’ll say so!

Cakes for Dinner? Bring it on!

There’s something so fun about eating crispy little cakes for dinner, isn’t there? For a seafood classic, I love Ina Garten’s Crab Cakes. And if you want to take crab cakes to a new level with some green tomatillo sauce, try these Green Chile Crab Cakes!

These Black Bean Cakes are another vegetarian option that the whole family will rave about! They’re quick and so satisfying!

Corn cakes are an outstanding way to take advantage of fresh summer corn and paired with a taco pasta salad, you’ll have an amazing dinner pulled together in almost no time.


Spinach and Cheddar Quinoa Cakes

Spinach and Cheddar Quinoa Cakes

Yield: 3-4 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Spinach and Cheddar Quinoa Cakes with Creamy Buffalo Sauce are a terrific vegetarian meal for any time of the year! The cakes are packed with quinoa, farro, spinach, shallots, garlic, and cheddar and are shallow-fried until crispy. Then you'll make a quick buffalo yogurt sauce for dipping. Just watch them disappear!


For the quinoa cakes:

  • ¼ cup dry quinoa
  • ¼ cup dry farro (quick-cooking)
  • 1 cup water
  • 2-3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • ¼ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil

For the buffalo sauce:

  • ¼ cup plain non-fat Greek yogurt
  • 2 tsp buffalo hot sauce


  1. To make the quinoa cakes: Rinse the quinoa and farro in a mesh strainer under cold water; drain well before transferring to a small sauce pan. Add the water to the pan along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Bring the water to a boil over medium-high heat, stir, reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook for 16 minutes. Transfer the quinoa and farro to a large bowl to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a 12-inch skillet set over medium heat. Saute the shallots for 1 minute then stir in the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds. Drop the spinach into the pan, stir it into the shallots and garlic, and cook, stirring, until wilted, about 1-2 minutes. Turn off the heat, transfer the spinach mixture to the large bowl with the quinoa and farro, return the skillet to the stove, and allow the spinach to cool for 5 minutes before adding the rest of the ingredients.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs and milk together. Add this mixture along with all of the breadcrumbs and the cheese to the bowl. Stir the mixture together until well-combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Shape the mixture into round patties, about 2-3 inches in diameter and place them on a cutting board or plate as you form them. You should get 8-10 patties.
  5. Heat 1 tablespoon oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add 5 patties to the skillet and cook for 3 minutes per side - they should be nicely browned; repeat with remaining patties, adding additional oil if needed. Transfer the cooked cakes to a paper towel-lined plate and loosely cover with foil to keep warm until you're ready to serve.
  6. To make the buffalo sauce: Stir the yogurt and buffalo sauce together until well-combined. Serve on top of the warm quinoa cakes.


adapted from Running to the Kitchen

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Leave a Comment

  • March 26, 2015 at 8:41 AM

    Holy delicious! Perfect for a yummy side dish!

    • March 27, 2015 at 4:39 PM

      Oh yeah – a salad on the side of these cakes would be perfect!