A craving for quinoa and sweet potato cakes

Do you ever have those moments where suddenly lunch becomes the most important event in your life?

Surely, I spend most of my days planning, cooking, and photographing food, but this was different.

I was running around town a few days ago taking care of household matters, such as changing the oil of my car, when I was overcome by this urge to run home and make myself a nice lunch. Not a quick salad like most days when I have to run, but something else. I needed some quinoa and sweet potato cakes in my life.

I had not been planning on styling or shooting anything that day, but I had to return home. I left half of my checklist unfinished and came into the kitchen to tend to this pressing matter – lunch.

This is how these quinoa and sweet potato cakes came about, which took no more than half an hour to make I must add. I enjoyed every morsel and had leftovers for Jon and Miren when they arrived home from school.

How about you? Did you have to drop everything to run to the kitchen to cook that one recipe? Would love to hear.

Quinoa and Sweet Potato Cakes

makes 8 cakes

1/2 cup (90 g) quinoa, rinsed
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for frying
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 cup (150 g) grated sweet potato
1/4 teaspoon coriander
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 eggs
1/3 cup (50 g) gluten-free, panko-style breadcrumbs (make them by drying gluten-free bread slices in the oven and chopping them in food processor)
1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped chives
Greens, radishes, green onions, as garnish

Bring 1 cup (250 ml) of water to a boil in a small saucepan over high heat. Add quinoa and 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Stir, reduce heat to medium low, cover with a lid, and cook for 20 minutes until quinoa has absorbed all the water and it’s tender. Set aside to cool.

Heat a medium saute pan over medium high heat. Add the olive oil and cook the onions and garlic for 3 minutes. Add the grated sweet potato, 1/4 teaspoon salt, coriander, and black pepper, and cook for another 3 minutes. Set aside to cool slightly.

In a bowl, whisk together the eggs, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, and chives. Add the cooled quinoa and sweet potato mixture. Stir to combine.

Heat a large saute pan over medium high heat. Add enough olive oil to cover the bottom os the pan. Spoon 1/4 cup of the mixture and shape it into a round cake. Add enough cakes to the pan without overcrowding it. Cook for 3 minutes on each side or until golden. Finish frying all the cakes. Drain them on paper towels if needed.

Serve the cakes while warm with a green salad with radishes and chopped green onions.

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84 Responses to “A craving for quinoa and sweet potato cakes”

  1. These cakes look wonderful. I am going to have to give them a shot now that I have a new found respect for quinoa.

    My experiences in the kitchen tend to be planned. I’m not as spontaneous as I’d like to be. But I do get very focused on certain recipes that I MUST make.

  2. These cakes look wonderful. I am going to have to give them a shot now that I have a new found respect for quinoa.

    My experiences in the kitchen tend to be planned. I’m not as spontaneous as I’d like to be. But I do get very focused on certain recipes that I MUST make.

  3. Zita says:

    Wonderful and easy meal to make.

    I’m the same like you. If I have suddenly a crave after something, no matter what I have to make it!

  4. Those cakes must taste really good! Wonderful.



  5. mmm looks very delicious, maybe some sause over it, no/yes.
    I must say I find lunch also favorite meal, well actually I enjoy the most preparing food in that time. Onion rings and chicken with Gorgonzola dressing are that one recipe I always want to prepare.
    Love yr blog, btw, so enjoyable<3

  6. tinajo says:

    Usually, I drop everything and run to the kitchen to eat what my hubby makes – but I can get urges like that when it comes to baking! :-)

  7. I love quinoa – I have never made it into a cake/patty though. Sounds like I’m missing out!

  8. Rachel says:

    These look delicious, and perfect for the season. I’m trying them tonight!

  9. Giulia says:

    These look great. I’ll have to try them. When the craving hits for Risotto we usually drop everything…the taste, the texture, the comfort.

  10. Benthe says:

    This looks so good; I so know this feeling! I just love lunch, sometimes even more as dessert.

  11. mcgowankim says:

    what an unusual use for Quinoa… have all the ingredients so will make for supper! Thanks for bringing inspiration to my meals.

  12. Maja says:

    Looks so delicious.
    During exam weeks, I feel especially inspired to be in the kitchen all day,even though I should rather be studying.
    But that way, I baked up amazing oatmeal cookies last sunday. Still can’t believe that procrastination is such a great muse :)

  13. Hilda says:

    Looks great! If I was to use leftover cooked quinoa to make this recipe, how much should I use? 1/2 cup dry quinoa = 1 cup cooked, or more?

  14. Hilda- I believe it was 1 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa. I’m pretty sure.


  15. ileana says:

    These cakes look great! Thank you. And I like that you served them with micro greens. :)

  16. Kristine says:


    What a beautiful and inspiring blog.
    Beautiful pictures!
    This is my first time visiting, and I will be back

    Have a nice day ;)

  17. OH, yes, this happens!! How did you take the time to take a photo? When it happens to me I cook cautiously, but when the dish is ready I want to eat it immediately =)

    It’s a great vegetarina recipe!

  18. Srimathi says:

    We just made this for valentines day dinner. We did not add cheese, eggs and bread but black beans and chips instead. It tasted great.

  19. Anna says:

    Ooh! Sounds delicious, thanks for the wonderful recipe!

  20. Seanna Lea says:

    These look delicious. I love all things sweet potato, so I will have to add the ingredients to my list for my next trip to the grocery store.

  21. kankana says:

    Oh yeah I do that at times but never ended up making something that pretty! A snack bite I must try.

  22. Making quinoa has always scared me for some reason, but yours looks beautiful -might have to give it a try! And cravings, yes!! It’s often meeting a friend for sushi though!

  23. That’s what you do Aran! You make food, style and shoot. For me, I shoot and ignore the hunger. No I finally eat but those pesky errands do get done but I’ll always have a tug to be shooting instead of doing the errands and eating….. oh that’s so bad.

  24. Carmen says:

    Siii a mi también me pasa!! y tambien, lo mas frecuente que veo una receta que me gueta y ya si o si tengo que hacerla al día siguiente o esa semana sin falta, es lo bueno de los lunch que son muy flexibles :D bss. Por cierto llevo dos semanas haciendo las dos cremas de unos post atras…estan super buenas.Bso

  25. Nicole PM says:

    I had to make these the moment I saw them and, my goodness, they are little patties of heaven! The seasoning and texture are just perfect… thanks for sharing this whim of yours so that it might be one of mine.

  26. These look absolutely delicious– filling without being too heavy. I can’t wait to give them a try! What an inspired lunch.

  27. Yelena says:

    Ones, I had a cravings for Bean salad with garlic and cilantro. O my -)) I was running in the park and it hits me. I wont it so bad-))) My run was over, I rush home but I have to stop to buy cilantro.

    The salad was very good-))http://www.melangery.com/2011/09/cherry-tomato-and-bean-salad-with.html
    I love your sweet potato cakes. Will make when I have a chance.

  28. Rebecca says:

    These sound delicious and your spontaneous photo is lovely as usual.

    I know how you feel. Whenever I find really good fresh salmon I have to drop everything and run home to cook it – poached slowly in garlic infused olive oil. Nothing beats it (except maybe your Quinoa Sweet Potato Cakes)!

  29. Nisha says:

    I get the urge to really have to, want to, badly need to cook something especially when I’m reading blogs and seeing photos, especially until late night before heading to bed such as now.

    And it’s at these times when I just don’t have the energy to cook … may be I should start browsing around in daytime!

    But there have been some times when I see a short, quick, and easy recipe, and if I have all the stuff at home I try it!

  30. Love. Love. Love.
    Sweet potato and quinoa are two of my favourite foods, but had never thought to put them together. What have I been missing out on? Will have to try this very soon. Very very soon.

  31. Inés says:

    zelako pinta!!! Ai ama…derrigorrez jaitsi behar naiz zeozer jatera…

  32. Jessica says:

    Always looking for a way to incorporate more sweet potato into my life, and since I don’t care for quinoa (yes, crazy, I know) this might be a good way to hide it!

  33. I need to stop reading your blog when I’m hungry. It all looks so good!

  34. Jim Stark says:

    This one is going straight away to my gluten free, quinoa loving son in San Francisco. He is always looking for ways to make quinoa more relatable to the masses and you knocked it out of the park.

  35. Sara says:

    “Do you ever have those moments where suddenly lunch becomes the most important event in your life? “

    Yes, actually. Every. Single. Day.

  36. Sini says:

    I loved this post. And I’m sure I’ll love the cakes as well.

  37. juliana says:

    son como unas tortillitas? q ricas! ideales para incorporar otras cosas a la dieta!

  38. Yes! I do have those days! Every so often, you just have to treat yourself to a perfect solo meal. Had one yesterday, in fact… an absolute need for a perfect poached egg, some sunshine and my own calm, quiet kitchen. And your quinoa cakes look awesome!

  39. I love the colors and clarity in your photographs.Do you shoot “raw” photos ? What kind of camera and lens do you use ? I had the urge to make Swedish pancakes today,because I am writing about a Swedish village that my family visited in Calif. at Christmas time. Amities !

  40. A former flower child- Do you mean my photo files if they are RAW? In that case, yes. I shoot with a Canon 5D mark II and I believe this phto was taken with the Canon 24-70mm 2.8 lens. And Swedish pancakes… yum!

  41. Super lovely blog!



  42. Jojo says:

    Made it tonight, fabulous! Thank you!!!

  43. Cate Holst says:

    These look amazing and I wish I could muster these up in half an hour

  44. Stephanie says:

    I love a good lunch myself…almost more than I love a good dinner. Yet somehow it can be the most difficult to find time to prepare, yes?

    These look delicious. I would love to bite into one right now.

    p.s. I never tire of looking at your images Aran. Never.

  45. Gracie says:

    lunch the most important part of your day? oh man, welcome to my life!

  46. Yup, I get this every day :-) Sometimes though,work distracts me from eating a nice lunch so I have to wait until dinner time to enjoy a nice meal.

  47. Nicola says:

    These look fab! I must be one of the few people that exist that can’t eat quinoa….I love it but it doesn’t love me! I think I would have to give this a whirl though with with millet or amaranth as a replacement…either way I am sure it will be delish!

  48. sarah says:

    I just made a batch of quinoa cakes last week from Super Natural Everyday (101 cookbooks) and loved the result. That recipe in particular was a bit bland, so I love how you paired it with sweetpotato. I was thinking of curry or cumin myself but they are a terrific snack and have a good crunch and texture. I can’t wait to give yours a shot!

  49. Your first sentence – “Do you ever have those moments where suddenly lunch becomes the most important event in your life?” struck a serious cord!!

    And then to read about quinoa and sweet potato cakes – my kind of food!

    Oh – and your photography is great.

  50. cakespeare says:

    Wow. Those look absolutely delicious!
    I came home from a 12-hour night shift, dragged myself out to the shops and refused to sleep until I had made chewy almond macaroons. Well worth being exhausted for the next shift :-)

  51. What a great looking recipe that I must try. Loved the sweet potatoes.

  52. Lann says:

    I have to be honest… I’ve admired and followed your blog for some time, but I don’t do a lot of gluten-free/vegan baking.
    I am a chef at a local crepe and coffee house, and am finally looking into creating a gluten-free, vegan crepe batter, after getting almost constant requests.
    I don’t see any recipes posted on your site, but would be thankful if you had any tips or advice (maybe even a recipe?!?) to get me started.

  53. Funny that you should post this recipe and then throw out your question. I say this because Friday night I felt compelled to create a recipe that, well let’s just say it is “in development”! One of the components was a Quinoa Cake, which I made using cooked quinoa, crumbled Annie’s Gone Crackers,some egg and…well anyway, it was totally bland! I will have to try this recipe tonight!

  54. NaturaliiZ says:

    Hi! I was awarded with the versatile blogger award and I pass the baton to you, because of you criativity, your fantastic photos and recipes, you totally deserve it. You’ve been awarded with the versatile blogger award! I hope you accept it and pass the award to 7 bloggers too. Acess the link to know what to do: http://www.naturaliiz.com/2012/02/versatile-blogger-award-yay.html

  55. addie says:

    I made these tonight. Delicious. I fried half and baked half to see which was better, the baked ones (20 minutes at 400) worked great and don’t stink up my apartment as much. These are definitely a new favorite! Thanks!

  56. a. maren says:

    mmm, gorgeous and filling! and great combination of flavors!

  57. Lann- It is very simple to make GF crepes, in fact there will be a recipe in my upcoming book using chestnut flour.

    I have never made vegan crepes but I looked at this recipe and it looks pretty straight forward.


    You can basically use any GF flour. Buckwheat, chestnut, quinoa for savory would be great, rice, etc…

    Hope that helps.

    Jill- I hope this recipes works better for you.

    Thank you all!

  58. Anis says:

    Just had these little galettes for lunch and even if I am in a rush today I had to stop and tell you how much we liked them delicious indeed! I really like the addition of sweet potatoes it was a real flavour enhancer
    I like it when you provide recipes in grammes because then the recipes are like a breeze to work with and I can make it les yeux fermes! Are the recipes in your new book in grams also ?
    Many thanks Aran for the lunch inspiration

  59. Anis- that is so wonderful and i really appreciate you taking the time to let me know how much you enjoyed them. makes my day!

  60. When I get food craving it is most often about something I don’t have to cook: I have to eat NOW some oranges, kiwis, grapefruit, occasionally cheese.. . I believe it is my body telling me it needs that substance. More rarely I feel I need to make a recipe, usually a noodle salad with crunchy peanuts. Weird, because that is not the type of food I usually cook.

    Thank you for sharing this lovely inspiration.

  61. Jane says:

    I made these today, they are really good! My thoughts run with putting them into a pita and adding veggies or making them bite size and serving as appetizer! Thanks, I’ll be making these again.

  62. I have made quinoa cakes before but never with sweet potato before. Sounds like a great addition!

  63. El says:

    How beautiful…and delicious.

  64. clairemolo says:

    Made these tonight – the whole family loved them. Next time, I’ll try baking them to make them healthier. A great variation on a latke!

  65. I made these lovely cakes last night for dinner! They were a resounding success. I’m proud to have you on my blogroll, and I shared this recipe on my blog today. Thank you so much for your inspiring work!

  66. Mouthwatering recipe and terrific idea to combine quinoa with sweet potatoes.

  67. Jobie says:

    Just made these for dinner tonight and they were a BIG hit….so tasty and filling!

  68. Charity says:

    I just made these, and I’m afraid I’m going to eat all of them by myself! They are so delicious… very different from what I expected, but better.

  69. nicole says:

    Hi, Do you mind if I post my version of this recipe on my blog?

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  73. Lea Sophie says:

    Is it possible to make these without the bread crumbs? Or will they fall apart?

    This recipe sounds awesome, can’t wait to try it! Also your photos are lovely :)

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