Broccoli & Quinoa Patties {Finder’s Feast}

Broccoli & Quinoa Cakes | In Jennie's Kitchen

I’ve forever finding ways to use up every morsel of food that comes into the house, and broccoli stems have the potential to be a big culprit of food waste. Slaws and soups are easy ways to put them to tasty use, but my girls are not fans of either. Honestly, some nights I wonder why I even bother to cook (insert cranky mom face here), but as we know by now, eating and cooking are more about feeding our emotional hunger, and I love sitting down to a homemade meal with them every evening.

The idea for these Quinoa & Broccoli Patties was inspired by the frozen food aisle of all places. I’d bought some Dr. Praeger’s broccoli pancakes recently. While I’m known for fresh-cooked hot lunches, it’s good to have an easy back up for busy mornings. I knew Isabella would be a no-go here. She loves broccoli, but has her limits. Virginia was the intended recipient. The morning I heated them she commented how good they smelled. That’s as far as her praise went. She came home hungry that day, and said they didn’t taste nearly as good as they smelled.

All the while, the gears in my development brain kept turning. She was obviously open to the idea of a broccoli pancake—could I make something she’d like, that would also tempt me enough to eat them?

These Quinoa & Broccoli Patties were a homerun, but they were initially met with some resistance.

Broccoli & Quinoa Cakes | In Jennie's Kitchen

The night I brought them to the table, she raised an eyebrow. Isabella almost flipped the table because I’d written Pork Fried Rice on the blackboard menu for dinner that night. I assured her fried rice was in the works, too. Neither of them like quinoa, so while the expectation for Isabella tasting them was lower than low, I still had high hopes for Virginia.

And I was right. She approached the first bite with a lot of skepticism. And then had a Green Eggs & Ham moment, eyebrows raised again, this time with happy surprise, as she exclaimed, “wow, these really are good, mommy!”

Broccoli & Quinoa Cakes | In Jennie's Kitchen

Victory was mine as she dove in her second patty. She urged Isabella to taste a bite, and her sister obliged, then immediately chased it down with a tall glass of water. No sweat for me, since I hadn’t expected her to even try them.

It might seem tedious to first sauté the broccoli, carrots, and onions, but I think they add an extra layer of flavor that just adding them to the mixture raw wouldn’t. I justify this extra step because at least the same pan is used to cook the formed patties, so there are no extra dishes to wash.

I went light on the cumin, so it’s more of a whisper here. If you want really bold flavors, up the cumin to ½ teaspoon, and I think red pepper flakes, or even smoked paprika would be nice here. I might try them this way next time I make a batch. Best part? These taste amazing hot or at room temperature, so take them straight from the fridge, and pack them in your kiddo’s lunchbox—or your’s if you bring lunch to work, as I do on days when I substitute teach. On one such occasion one of my kindergarten students asked what I was eating, and said “I love quinoa!” I offered half a patty, and he loved it, which was the proverbial icing on the cake.

Broccoli & Quinoa Cakes | In Jennie's Kitchen

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This recipe is now part of my new site, Simmering. It can be found by searching the archives here.







  • Constance

    These look great and I’m putting them on this week’s menu. As for the broccoli stems, one thing I like to do with broccoli is cook it all (stems as well as florets) till just tender and whiz it in the food processor with your delicious fat of choice (olive oil, butter), Parmesan or Romano, salt, pepper, maybe some half and half or cream to achieve your preferred texture. I love leftovers warmed up over rice or orzo for lunch.

  • Marilyn

    These look great! We eat zucchini fritters while the plants are producing all summer. These will be a nice addition for the fall.

  • Kathy H

    5 stars
    Thank you so much for this recipe, it’s the bomb. Made them last night, added some leftover roasted cauliflower and made a sauce of whole grain Dijon mustard, horseradish and sour cream to dip them in. They disappeared like magic.

  • Constance

    I made these last night and loved them. I added more cumin and paprika as well. Instead of panko I used breadcrumbs I had on hand from homemade semolina cheese bread. My husband was less enthusiastic but that was a foregone conclusion Thanks for a great recipe – I’ll be making it again

  • Amy Sigmon

    Made these tonight and loved them! I added some smoked paprika and I think they’d be really good with any sauteed veggie – mushrooms, leeks, whatever. I’m not a huge fan of quinoa, but this was a great vehicle for it! My husband liked it more than I thought he would!

  • Jennie

    Thanks for sharing, Amy. I agree, any veggie would be great. You can use extra odds & ends from the crisper drawer. 😉 -Jennie