Crispy Quinoa Cakes with Pesto Recipe

3 Reviews / 4.3 Average
Grab your appetite because we've got crispy quinoa cakes made with fresh spinach and basil pesto.
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Clearly, I’m on some sort of “cake” bandwagon at the moment. And not the birthday cake kind, although that’s always yummy too!  I recently shared a Zucchini & Sweet Potato Pancake recipe (and as I look back, I even see that I photographed them on the very same dish—oops), and now today I’ve got a Quinoa Cake recipe for you. However, these aren’t just any Quinoa Cakes…these are crispy quinoa cakes, flavored with super fresh, homemade spinach/basil pesto. Pesto out of the jar is just one of those things that is NOT the same!

My family usually has all sorts of input when I’m trying new recipes, and I’ll make things over a few times to get it right. However, this was one of those (rare) occasions that right out of the gate everyone just said YUM and chowed down. Plus, not only did these patties end up being a hearty addition to a vegetarian dinner night (we do go for meatless meals a couple of nights a week, more on that here), but they were great leftover in the lunch box the next day. I honestly wished I had made more. So, if you’ve got a hungry brood, like me, be sure to double up on this recipe—you’ll thank yourself later!

How to make crispy pesto quinoa cakes

Crispy Pesto Quinoa Cakes on 100 Days of Real Food

Crispy Pesto Quinoa Cakes

Grab your appetite because we've got crispy quinoa cakes made with fresh spinach and basil pesto.
3 Reviews / 4.3 Average
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 12 mins
Total Time: 22 mins
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Print Recipe
Servings: 10 cakes


For the pesto

For the cakes + cooking

  • 1 cup quinoa cooked according to package directions, about 3 cups cooked
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • olive oil for cooking
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • fresh basil optional, for garnish


For the pesto

  • In a mini food processor, blend together all the ingredients until smooth.

For the cakes + cooking

  • In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, eggs, flour, salt, and pesto until well combined.
  • In a large skillet over medium-low heat, add a thin layer of olive oil. With wet hands, form the quinoa mixture into about 10 cakes and add them to the pan. 
  • Cook until golden brown on both sides, about 10 to 12 minutes total. Cover with a lid (if desired) after crisping the sides to help them cook all the way through, adding more oil to the pan if it dries out. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Serve warm topped with extra Parmesan and basil (optional). Also great leftover. 


We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Crispy Pesto Quinoa Cakes
Amount Per Serving
Calories 134 Calories from Fat 63
% Daily Value*
Fat 7g11%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 33mg11%
Sodium 131mg6%
Potassium 140mg4%
Carbohydrates 14g5%
Fiber 2g8%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 4g8%
Vitamin A 250IU5%
Vitamin C 0.7mg1%
Calcium 19mg2%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Crispy Pesto Quinoa Cakes on 100 Days of Real Food

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31 thoughts on “Crispy Quinoa Cakes with Pesto Recipe”

  1. Any ideas for an egg substitute? I’d bet flax or chia would work, but my boys can’t have them. Do you think mashed potato or sweet potato would work?

    1. While we haven’t tried it without the cheese, it should be fine. Many readers have switched up the pesto in so many ways and still have them turn out tasty. – Nicole

  2. Can the prepared cakes be stored in the refrigerator, before cooking them? If so, up to how long? Also, I did see you can freeze them for later. Would you freeze them before or after they cook?

  3. Could you bake these? Maybe spray some coconut or avocado oil on parchment paper on a cookie sheet? When I make any sort of fritter on the stove top, I end up using a lot of oil to prevent sticking/burning – especially when I’m working in batches.

    1. 100 Days Admin

      Hi Brittany, while we haven’t tried this recipe in the oven, you can definitely do so. You just might not get them as crispy as you would on the stove top. Feel free to try it out and let us know how they turn out. – Nicole

  4. I can’t wait to try these, they look delicious…but even more fun is getting my kids to say “Crispy pesto quinoa cakes” 5times fast. It’s a great tongue twister!

  5. I make a nut-free pesto and it is really good (nut allergy in my household)! Also, am wondering if a chimichurri would be good here too. It is basically a nut-free pesto but made with cilantro instead of basil.

    1. 100 Days Admin

      One of our other readers said they used a chimichurri sauce instead and it turned out good. – Nicole

  6. These sound yummy. I’m interested for some ideas- what would you have with it to make a full dinner?

  7. Hi! I’m wondering if there is a substitute for the flour that you’d rely on? My family is in the midst of a candida detox and we can’t have gluten, or most grains. Nut flours are okay – would almond flour work here?

    1. I have not tried that personally, so I can’t say for sure – let me know how they come out! Maybe try it on a small batch first. :)

    2. 4 stars
      Elizabeth & Lisa,

      I just made these with almond flour. I had to play with the amount a little until I had what I thought to be a good firmness to hold the patties together. And they came out great! I did not have basil but had cilantro and made a chimichurri topping. .Am happy to have leftovers to warm up throughout the weekend. My husband, actually, wants me to make them parmigiano-style!

      Thanks Lisa!

  8. I have a question regarding the pesto. My boys have a tree nut allergy…is there anything else I can use in place of pine nuts? I know some restaurants have a nut free pesto but I don’t know what they use in place of nuts. Thanks in advance!

    1. Sunflower seeds would be a great sub for pine nuts if you have nut allergies but can do seeds.

  9. To save money, I sub walnuts for pine nuts in homemade pesto. Can’t wait to try this recipe in the summer when we have basil in our garden.

  10. How much pesto does the recipe make? I have some already made homemade pesto and want to try the recipe using that!

    1. Hi Emily. If you already have pesto made, this recipe uses about 1/4 – 1/3 cup. – Nicole

  11. 4 stars
    I just made these and they are really good! They take a little time if you make the pesto fresh, but well worth it. I think they would be good as an appetizer for a party, made smaller. I wonder if they could be reheated in the oven?

  12. 5 stars
    I just made these and they are delish! Super easy and a crowd pleaser! I used a 1/4 – 1/3 cup of pre-made pesto as I had it on hand. Putting these in the rotation! Thank you Lisa for providing healthy, easy and delicious recipes!

  13. These look delicious! I have never cooked with pine nuts before, but I am eager to try this one! I wonder how they would be if I incorporated broccoli? My 4 year old loves anything with broccoli :)

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