Cheesy Veggie Quinoa Cakes
Crispy on the outside quinoa cakes have it all: fresh veggies, whole grains and the melty allure of savory cheddar cheese. The flavor is mild and familiar for kids, but savory and interesting enough for adults.
Cheesy Veggie Quinoa Cakes
Here’s an irresistible way to eat quinoa, and get your kids to eat it, too: turn the ancient grain into a tasty and portable baked lunch cake! These quinoa cakes are a kid friendly lunch recipe that adults enjoy also! No need to make two different lunches!
I’ve been cooking this recipe for my son since he was a toddler, and it’s one of those feel-good recipes that has it all: fresh vegetables, whole grains, and the melty allure of cheddar cheese. The flavor is mild and familiar for kids, but savory and interesting enough for grownups. (I once served them as hors d’oeuvres at a party. They disappeared!)
These quinoa cakes are more than flavorful and delicious; they’re also a hand-held, mess-free dish. This is GREAT for families with toddlers. For us, it means that when my daughter goes careening through the house with her lunch in her hand… I don’t have to immediately chase after her with a roll of paper towels.
It’s the little things.
Ingredients You Will Need
This recipe is fantastic for getting your kids involved in the kitchen. Bigger kids can help with the cutting, grating, and sauteing. You will need:
- Broccoli Florets – I like to use fresh broccoli. This vibrant green veggie is packed with fiber, potassium and as much vitamin C as an orange! I prefer my broccoli cooked, and surrounded by cheddar cheese makes it even better!
- Carrots (not baby) – Carrots a naturally sweet and are loaded with vitamin A and antioxidants which help with healthy skin and eyes.
- Frozen Green Peas – Frozen peas are a cost-effective alternative to fresh and have just as much nutrition as they are frozen soon after being picked and retain the nutrition.
- Quinoa – this amazing grain has twice the amount of protein as rice keeping you feeling fuller longer. It’s also a great source of fiber and B vitamins.
- Cheddar Cheese – cheese adds savory deliciousness to this recipe as well as helps to bind everything together.
How to Make Cheesy Veggie Quinoa Cakes
The key to making these extra delicious and appealing to kids is to make sure that the veggies are chopped small and even. Especially the broccoli.I
I like to cut the broccoli down into pretty small pieces so that you don’t get a huge chunk of broccoli and nothing else in a bite.
If your kids are leary of onions, dice them fine and saute them first until completely translucent and soft. They will almost melt into the recipe and just provide that subtly sweet but amazing flavor.
Then to the fun part of this recipe! Once everything is mixed together, pack the mixture into a measuring cup, and whack it out onto the cookie sheet. It reminds me of making sand castles… with lunch! Who says you can’t play with your food??
When the piping hot, crispy-on-the-outside Quinoa Cakes come out of the oven, we like to serve them with a side of fresh fruit. Choose purple and red-hued fruit and see a complete rainbow on your kiddo’s plates!
Commonly Asked Questions
- Question: Can these be frozen and reheated later? Yes! They freeze beautifully. Make them as the recipe says, cool and freeze in an airtight container. When you ready to reheat, just pop them in the oven for 15 minutes until they are heated through.
- Question: Can I use leftover quinoa in this recipe? Yes – using quinoa that is already cooked is a great way to prep ahead and make this recipe come together fast!
- Question: My child has an egg allergy, what can I use instead of eggs? This recipe definitely needs to eggs to bind everything together. You could try using a flax egg as a binder.
- Question: Are these good at room temp or cold? Wondering about sending in a lunchbox. This is definitely a personal preference, kind of like pizza. My kids have eaten them hot out of the oven, but also in a lunchbox and enjoyed them both ways. Hot out of the oven with a crispy outside and gooey cheese in the inside is definitely my preference.
- Question: Can I use other veggies in this recipe? Feel free to get creative with substitutions and additions in this recipe. I’ve added chicken, corn, and even finely-chopped green beans. Just be sure to keep your total volume of add-ins close to the original recipe, so you have enough egg and cheese to bind it all together.
More Favorite Quinoa Recipes
- How to Cook Super Fluffy Quinoa – great way to cook quinoa for this recipe. Make a big batch and put it in the fridge until ready to use.
- Quinoa Pizza Muffins – another great lunch recipe
- One Pot Mexican Quinoa – super quick 20 minute dinner featuring quinoa
- Quinoa Cookies – a sweet twist on quinoa adding protein and nutrients to dessert!
Cheesy Veggie Quinoa Cakes
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/2 cup, chopped onion
- 1 1/3 cup broccoli, florets chopped small and even
- 2 medium carrots peeled and grated
- 1/2 cup green peas, frozen
- 2 large eggs
- 2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 2 cup Quinoa, cooked 1 cup uncooked
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- In a medium pan over medium heat, warm olive oil, then add onions and cook until translucent and soft.
- To the pan add chopped broccoli, and peeled and grated carrots. Saute until bright and translucent, about 8-10 minutes.
- Stir in frozen peas, then add salt and pepper to taste.
- In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then fold in the cheese, cooked quinoa, and veggies. Add more salt to taste.
- Pack the mixture into a quarter cup measuring cup, then knock the cakes onto a greased cookie sheet, spaced evenly.
- Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, then flip, and bake 5-8 minutes more.
- Cool slightly and serve.
I'm a registered dietitian, mom of 4, avid lover of food and strong promoter of healthy habits. Here you will find lots of delicious recipes full of fruits and veggies, tips for getting your kids to eat better and become intuitive eaters and lots of resources for feeding your family.Learn More about Natalie
I’d love to try this recipe for my little one, but he is allergic to eggs. Can you recommend a substitution?
Hi Nicole! I’ve never tried these without eggs, because they definitely need something to bind them together. You could try using a “flax egg” as a binder. If you try it, let us know how it turns out!
Could these be frozen and reheated later?
Can the quinoa be cooked a day before and use that leftover quinoa? Or does it need to be freshly cooked quinoa?
Nathalie, you can absolutely use leftover quinoa… that’s a great way to prep ahead and make this recipe come together fast!
Is the quinoa measurement before cooked or after? I know 1 cup uncooked may turn into 2 cups cooked.
Hi Beth! The recipe calls for two cups of COOKED quinoa… which is about one cup raw. I usually cook more than I think I’ll need to make sure I don’t come up short. (I throw any leftovers into a soup, stir-fry, or breakfast porridge.) I hope this clears things up!
Like Amy I am wondering about making these and freezing them. My husband is deployed so it is just my 2 year old and I eating things like this, the 9 month old hasn’t gotten this far yet. Thought this might be an easy snack for my daughter but if it doesn’t freeze well I am afraid half of the amount will end up wasted.
They can be frozen. If you read through to the end of the article it tells you how to freeze, reheat etc.
I have a child with a legume allergy. Could you make a recommendation on what would be a good substitute to peas in this?
Hello! The recipe should work if you simply leave out the peas. Or you can increase the amount of carrots or broccoli, if you like. I hope this helps!
I made these tonight for my very picky daughter and she loved them! Great recipe!
Thank you for a wonderful receipe. I substituted the Quinoa with sprouted green lentils and added 1 zucchini – also some bread crumbs. the result: the only veggie cakes my kids and I absultely love
I’d like to make this recipe tomorrow, but I don’t have any frozen peas and don’t plan to go out to get any in the near future. Do you think frozen corn would work as a good replacement for the frozen peas? Thanks! Can’t wait to try it!
Have you ever baked them in a muffin tin?
We haven’t, but I bet it would work great!
Great recepie! My daughter is allergic to eggs, what can i use instead of eggs??
We have some great options in this article: https://www.superhealthykids.com/the-essential-food-allergy-substitution-guide/
What would you use to replace eggs in this recipe? My
son is allergic to eggs. These are for him primarily.
Hi Tricia! You might try using flax eggs instead, so you still have the binding power you need to hold everything in cake-form. We have instructions on making flax eggs here: https://www.superhealthykids.com/parenting/the-essential-food-allergy-substitution-guide/
This is my go to recipe for my 18 month old. I prepare and freeze them! We have added chicken pieces and today I’m adding cooked green lentils! He absolutely loves these and I feel good giving him these.
Thanks so much for sharing Crystal!
Do you freeze before or after cooking? It looks like before from your Article but I wanted to clarify as I am new to freezing and reheating.
Hi Felicia! I freeze these after cooking.
Did your name used to be something else? Like He eats or something? It was a really cute name. I ask because this is the best base recipe for a great quinoa cake. I have been to culinary school since I first saw this recipe (years ago) and STILL do it pretty much the same. I have always used different veggies due to the fact I don’t like mushy broccoli or peas and they just get too cooked in this for me. That’s just personal preference. I sometimes make them bigger and use these as “hamburger patty” substitutes since I don’t eat beef or pork. These are amazing on a hamburger bun with ketchup/mustard and lettuce/tomato/onion! The smaller ones I use for healthy snacking or for light meals paired with fruit and salad. Take two cut in half and roll up in a tortilla. But honestly they rarely get past the snacking stage.
Also for anyone wanting to make these vegan try aquafaba instead of the eggs and cheese.
I find I like baking them much much longer than the recipe calls for. And I would suggest doing so if making them vegan. Maybe also cook them by placing in muffin tins or using silicone muffin liners to give the aquafaba some help holding their shape during baking.
I also cook my quinoa in seasoned water. (I use knorr chicken bullion powder) Gives the quinoa more flavor.
Thanks for your feedback Bella! You have a good memory re: seeing the recipe somewhere else. It was first published on Kid Can Eat, a small personal blog that I ran before I became a contributor for Super Healthy Kids. I’m happy it’s been useful for you all these years!
Hi there, just making these for my 16 month old now but curious about the serving size (he’s not a huge eater so I try to make things as energy dense as possible!). You’ve said 4 servings… that’s got to be quite a few cakes, given that there’s 2 cups quinoa plus veg? I’m thinking it’s around 3 of the ‘cakes’ to match the nutrition info, is that about right? Thanks.
Yes, that’s about right!
Absolutely love the taste of these and love that it’s such a good way to get good healthy veg into my toddler without having to disguise the veg in a sauce or blended fritter or something else.
I’m so glad you like the, Gila!
These are the BEST. My kids love them (including a super picky 3 year old) and I love having them around when I need a power snack for myself. We use whatever vegetables we have on hand and it’s a great way to use up whatever we have in the veg garden. Today I did kale (blanched first), broccoli, carrot, zucchini, peas, onion. The only adjustment we make is sometimes adding an extra egg.
So glad to hear that you and your kids love these! What a great way to use up all those extra veggies. Thanks for sharing!
Could I make these using left over purees? Would I just increase the amount of quinoa?
We haven’t tried that- but I’m sure it would work. Just make sure the consistency is similar and your moisture content isn’t too high- otherwise your cakes won’t hold together. 🙂
So delish, I ended up eating almost half of them right out of the oven!! My daughter enjoys them too and it turns bland quinoa into an interesting, colorful meal. Question – when packing in a lunchbox, do you recommend trying to keep warm in a thermos or just letting them sit at room temp?
You can do either! Our kids are happy to eat them at room temperature. 🙂
I tried making it, it did not turn out as shown in the picture. In fact the egg and the cheese did not even bind everything together.
I’m sorry these didn’t work for you! We haven’t had this issue- maybe you needed more liquid?
Hello, I made the recipe but for some reason the cakes did not stick well together and crumbled while I had them cooking in the oven. Any suggestions to help them bind better the next time? Overall I loved the taste and can’t wait to offer it to my toddler. Thank you for sharing!
Did they seem dry when you were forming them? You could always add a bit more cheese or even another egg to help bind them better.
How are these cold? Any good?
We also like them cold or at room temp! 🙂
My 16 month old daughter loves these. Great recipe!! I generally add a mixture of feta cheese and cheddar.
Yum! Thanks for sharing!
Any suggestions if I am unable to use cheese? It seems like cheese is a main binder in this recipe however we are a dairy free household 🙁
The eggs serve as a binder as well- you could try adding an additional egg. Good luck!
How long to keep in the freezer?
They should be good for up to 2 months.
This turned out so yummy! I was worried it wouldn’t. I added herbamere sea salt to taste instead of regular salt, also some garlic powder. Thanks so much for the recipe!
So glad you liked it!
Really tasty, I made these for my 9 month old and he ate a whole one!
Made these tonight and they are very tasty!
I tried using the measuring cup method but found muffin tins to be easier and less messy.
My main mistake was using frozen broccoli and not chopping into small enough pieces.
Will definitely make these again!
I’ve been making those quinoa cakes since last year. The whole family loves it! Great for a quick snack and perfect to kid’s lunch box. Thank you for great recipe.