Little Quinoa Patties

Don’t disregard this post. Really, don’t! For all that is good and righteous about food, I promise you that I will not lead you astray with what you might consider crazy-people food (quinoa gets a bad rap in many conservative kitchens!). If it makes you feel better about sticking around, I assure you I’m not crazy (well…that’s probably debatable overall but when it comes to food, I’m not crazy, pinkie swear!). These adorable little quinoa patties are so remarkably delicious, even the worst skeptic can be convinced to try them (and most likely love them). Promise.

A beautiful, smart, witty reader, Melanie D., forwarded me the recipe and I was intrigued enough to try them almost immediately (ok, so I’ve never actually met Melanie in person but with a name like that, she’s gotta be pretty cool!). I made them for my four rowdy little boys, my sister and her two little boys, and my mom. With that many kids to please, I was expecting major groans and quite possibly gagging. But these little patties were gobbled up (smothered in ketchup and gobbled up but gobbled up nonetheless) without a shout of complaint. In between shoving bites of them into my mouth in order to even get a taste before they were all snatched, I managed to be completely amazed, especially when my 8-year old loudly exclaimed, “I definitely want these for my birthday dinner!” Huh, what? Who is this kid and how did he get here?

Little Quinoa Patties

In the interest of full disclosure, I set out to try these simply in an effort to incorporate more quinoa (a super healthy food we love in this and this already) into our diet. The salads are great but I wanted something a bit heartier and more savory. I really didn’t even know if I would post these babies, but let me tell you, not only are these post-able but they are going into my “favorite file.” I’m never going to go exclusively meatless, but I could totally see myself setting one of these patties on a bun in the place of a burger and being totally satisfied (dude, who am I and how did I get here?). In the meantime, we’ll continue to enjoy them dipped in ketchup with lots of fresh fruits and veggies on the side!

Little Quinoa Patties

What To ServeTender Grilled Salmon or Maple Pecan Crusted Salmon
Vegetable Saute with Simple Cream Sauce or fresh, cut up veggies
Cranberry-Jalapeno Cream Cheese Dip or Hot Chorizo and Cheese Dip with crackers or chips

One Year Ago: Pumpkin-Maple Hazelnut Bread
Two Years Ago: Classic Marinara Sauce
Three Years Ago: Blue Cheese and Cheddar Scalloped Potatoes

Little Quinoa Patties

Yield: Makes 11-12 patties

Little Quinoa Patties

Note: I like to cook my quinoa in low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth. It adds more flavor. If you choose to cook the quinoa in water, you might need to add a bit more salt to compensate. Also, don't forget to rinse the quinoa before cooking - it makes a huge difference! Also, you can probably tell that this recipe is extremely adaptable. Quinoa works well with nearly any flavor, so feel free to change things around, up the spices, add onions, peppers, different kind(s) of cheese. Really, the sky's the limit here.


  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely minced
  • 1 cup finely crushed saltine or Ritz crackers or bread crumbs, plus more if needed
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil


  1. Combine the quinoa, eggs, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Stir in the parsley, cheese and garlic. Add the cracker or bread crumbs. Stir the mixture until combined. If the mixture seems overly wet, add a tablespoon or two more of cracker or bread crumbs. If it seems too dry, add a tablespoon or two of water or broth. Let it stand for about five minutes so the liquid can be somewhat absorbed. Take small handfuls of the mixture and form into little patties, about 1-inch thick, yielding about 11 or 12 patties.
  2. In a large, nonstick skillet, heat the tablespoon olive oil over medium heat until it is hot. Add a single layer of patties (about half of them if you are using a 12-inch skillet) and cook until the bottoms are well-browned, about 5-7 minutes, adjusting the heat as necessary to prevent burning (or increase heat if the patties aren't browning well). Flip the patties and cook about 5 minutes more until the second side is golden brown. Remove from the skillet and repeat with the remaining patties (adding a bit more olive oil, if needed). Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe Source: adapted from a recipe a reader, Melanie D. sent me, originally from Whole Living

144 Responses to Little Quinoa Patties

  1. Jenny says:

    Thank you for sharing your Quinoa Patty Recipe. We featured it on our blog this week!

  2. Aria says:

    My fabulous sister-in-law sent me this recipe. I just made these in the oven and I’m planning on freezing most of them. They are delicious! Thanks for posting!

  3. Terry says:

    I tried these about a year and a half ago and fell in love with them. I’ve tried several variations and they were never quite as good. I’m coming back to these! They are great as a snack, great to take in the car on a long trip, great as breakfast, great as …..! I can’t stop eating them. You haven’t lived until you have eaten them warm with a poached egg on top.

    • Mel says:

      I make these all the time too Terry and let me tell you, I’m making them again this week just so I can try one with a poached egg. Love that suggestion! Thank you!

  4. Kathryn says:

    These look delicious! I can’t wait to try them with my two very picky children (who *should* at this point be outgrowing pickyness!)–but I have a question. One of my daughters has celiac disease. Any suggestions for how to sub out the cracker/breadcrumbs? Gluten-free baked goods just don’t provide the same softening/binding factor.

    • Mel says:

      Kathryn – I’m not really familiar with gluten free crackers on the market but is there a gluten-free type saltine cracker or other gluten-free cracker you could use?

    • Michelle says:

      I bet you could also use gluten-free corn flakes (just pulse in a food processor or smash up in a plastic bag). You might have to add a bit of salt to taste. I use ground corn flakes in place of bread crumbs when I’m breading things, and it works well!

    • JL says:

      I sub crushed Rice Chex cereal for breadcrumbs all the time, works perfectly! πŸ™‚

  5. Erin says:

    ohhhh….I am SO making these. TONIGHT

  6. Terry says:

    I have been making these since they first appeared on this blog and fell in love them from the start. I earlier stated that I had tried them with different combinations of ingredients and stand by my remarks that this recipe was the best. I also stand by my remarks that these are the best thing to take on a road trip. Absolutely the best! I don’t like ketchup but that is the first dipping sauce I used with them and have found it to be the tastiest, really. Pack these, pack some boiled eggs with some celery salt and cracked pepper and you never need buy chips and dip anywhere. You won’t be sorry! Your tummy will thank you! Thank you, Mel!!

    • Mel says:

      Great ideas, Terry – love the idea of taking these on our upcoming road trip!

      • Terry says:

        You are wonderful! Your patties are wonderful. Have you ever tried the “under-cooked” hard boiled eggs featured in one of Martha’s picnics? They are hard boiled eggs with fully cooked whites and soft, almost runny yolks. To die for! And really easy. Can be found in the July 2012 issue of Martha Stewart Living article “The Good Earth”. You can boil them then peel them up to a week later and they are as perfect as the day you cooked them. Great with sea salt mixed 50/50 with celery seed. I’m going to fix them right now.

  7. Misty says:

    How do you rinse your quinoa? I have tried before and end up losing a bit of it down the drain while pouring off the water. Quinoa is too small for my strainer. I could leave some water in the bowl with the quinoa but that’d throw off my broth measurement?

  8. Terry says:

    Yeah, a new strainer would have worked but I was too lazy and too cheap to buy one πŸ˜‰

  9. Amy Wolin says:

    Sooo yummy Mel! They taste a little like fancy tater tots!

  10. Betty Duncan says:

    These little nuggets of tastiness are awesome! Two patties and two pieces of string cheese are the perfect breakfast before hitting the gym for a workout–they’re light on the tummy and packed with protein. I’ll be making these at least once a week from here on out. Thanks so much for sharing this recipe!

  11. Jessica says:

    Made these tonight and loved them! I actually made the really small, 1 TBS, and loved that they were 2 bite apps. This is my first time using quinoa but will not be my last.

  12. Carrie says:

    My kids loves these. We dip them in ketchup, ranch, or BBQ. Always a hit!

  13. Haley says:

    About how much uncooked quinoa would yield the 2.5 cups of cooked quinoa? Thanks!

    • Mel says:

      Usually quinoa doubles in volume so even if I get stuck with a little extra, I plan on using half the dry amount (in this case, it would be 1 1/4 cups dry quinoa).

  14. Jen says:

    I made these last night, but used only 1.5 cups of cooked quinoa and 1 cup cooked, flaked salmon that needed to be used up. Delicious! Next time, I’ll go a bit lighter on the bread crumbs for this version. I served these with lemon dill Greek yogurt, and my toddler devoured them! I’ll definitely try the veg version in the future πŸ™‚

  15. Annie A says:

    Made this for dinner tonight! Only I made it with broccoli and swiss cheese because that’s what I had. SO yummy and SO fun to make. Thanks Mel for another great recipe πŸ™‚ I am a newly wed and I honestly get ALL of my recipes from you. My husband is especially grateful because everything I’ve made has been delicious. Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

  16. Jennifer S says:

    I posted these on my blog today. I switched them up just a tad, but these are a real favorite in our vegetarian household and are our go-to “burger”. Thank you so so so much for the lovely recipe.

  17. Stephany says:

    I just made these and they are spectacular!!! LOVE them, and so does the whole family. Little kids and all. Thank you!

  18. Courtney says:

    Would/do these freeze well? I’d love to keep some on hand for quick meals!

  19. Courtney says:

    My husband, 2.5 year-old and I loved these tonight! I baked them at 400 for 15 mins on one side (probably could have done a bit less) and then 4mins on the other side. We’ll be freezing the leftovers and are looking forward to having them again. Thanks!

  20. Lizzy D. says:

    I am SUCH a dork. I made these tonight…. well I thought I did. I made them with Cous Cous instead! πŸ˜› For the record, Cous Cous tasted good too. My 6 year old loved them because the Cous Cous really crisped up on the outside. My husband also loved them. However, when I was making them I kept thinking, ,man, these are a little hard to shape and kind of sticky. πŸ˜‰

  21. Trisha says:

    I think I have commented about these before. But they are so good! They are still one of the recipes from your blog that we make the most often. I love the recipe as written but I would love to see a variation if you have tried any other flavor combinations that you love. I made them tonight with hamburger buns from your French Bread Roll recipe (toasted the buns a bit after making them) – kind of like little sliders. So good. I could eat them every week. Thanks for the amazing recipes!

  22. Julie says:

    Hi Mel,
    I just wanted to say that I love your blog and the great recipes you share! Quinoa is new to my family, and I also have some selective eaters – BUT – these were eaten & enjoyed by everyone! (Kids ages 5, 3 & 1, & my meat & potatoes loving husband!) We had them on little Hawaiian buns with ketchup. Thank you so much!

  23. Ruth says:

    I’ve started making these a few weeks ago to feed myself and my twin babies for breakfast… Delicious! I found in the frozen section “quinoa kale” that you microwave so j just use two bags of it in place of the quinoa and parsley and it turns out amazinng every time and saves me a ton of time throwing it together!! Thanks!

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