Pesto Quinoa Patties

June 19, 2013

Pesto Quinoa Patties

Let’s be completely real with ourselves, healthy food is not exactly “gangsta” or “cool”.
You’re never going to see quinoa served at a gathering of the Russian mob. Probably because you’re never going to be invited to a gathering of the Russian mob. And if you do get invited and things ever get hectic chances are you would not be making out in one piece to recount what food was served. But trust me on this one, quinoa is not going to make it on the menu.
The same goes if you ever go to a rock festival (and I’m talking about badass rock festivals here).
After jumping and dancing your heart out you’re probably going to eat something like a pulled pork sandwich with cheese fries. And wash all that grease down with a pint (more like 3 pints) of beer. Green juice? I really don’t think so.

Pesto Quinoa Patties

HOWEVER, I do believe that healthy food can be R-A-D (and “gangsta”). And so do the guys at It’s a website/blog that uses some real hip-hop type dialogue to talk about healthy food. It’s hilarious (probably not your mom's kind of humor) but very funny. Do check it out. If you ever had the inclination that healthy eating wasn’t “gangster,” (guilty as charged), this might just change your entire perception on it. Trust.

Quinoa, quinoa, quinoa!!!!

Since we’re always cooking healthy food over here (and we do love our quinoa); today we’re making some awesome pesto quinoa patties.
These little patties are packed with basil, so much fun to cook, and make the perfect meal when paired with a salad. If you’re a “Meatless Monday” follower, they are the perfect item to add to your menu.
The egg and quinoa base is a great source of protein. Basil, garlic and onions are full of health benefits.
Their mild flavor makes them easy to eat; I’m sure even your kids will fall in love with them.

Making quinoa patties is so much fun
Pesto Quinoa Patties                                                                                           Print this recipe!

Note. The pesto used to make these patties is not pesto in the strictest sense, as there are no pinenuts involved. Plus there’s the onion. It’s kind of a milder pesto with a oniony taste that I believe complements quinoa much better than regular pesto.

Makes 35 bite size patties (or 18 larger ones)

2 ½ cups / 12 oz / 340 gr cooked quinoa (you’ll need to cook a little over 1 cup of quinoa)
4 eggs, beaten
1 small onion, quartered
2 cloves garlic, peeled
½ cup fresh basil leaves (about 2 handfuls)
⅓ cup / 0.5 oz / 15 gr grated Parmesan-Reggiano cheese
1 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 gr whole wheat breadcrumbs
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1 tablespoon olive oil


Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add garlic and onion and boil for 2 minutes. Use a slotted spoon or strainer to fish the garlic and onion from the water and transfer them to the bowl of a food processor. Add basil, parmesan, salt and 2 tablespoons of water and process until it reaches a pesto like consistency (it will be a bit watery, that’s what you want).
In a medium bowl combine quinoa and eggs. Add pesto and stir until evenly mixed. Stir in breadcrumbs and let sit for 15 minutes so that breadcrumbs can absorb the moisture.
Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon (or 2 tablespoons for larger patties) of quinoa mixture and with dampened hands form patties.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet with a thick bottom. Add patties leaving some room between each. Cover and cook on medium to low heat for around 6 minutes or until the patties are browned.
With the help of a spatula, gently flip the patties and cook on the other side for 7 minutes. If there’s no browning, turn the heat up and cook until golden.
Remove from the skillet, cool on a wire while you cook the other patties.
Serve hot, warm or cold with a tasty sauce (such as Sriracha) on the side.

Nutrition facts

One bite size patty yields 40 calories, 1 gram of fat, 5.2 grams of carbs and 2 grams of protein.


  1. Any advice on what to use instead of eggs for vegans?

    1. I think that mashed potatoes could work. 1 egg = 1/4 cup mashed potatoes (so in this case you'll need about 1 cup). Flavor-wise potatoes and pesto work like charm.
      In the pesto sub the Parmesan with nutritional yeast.

  2. Can't wait to try these patties!

  3. I can't do wheat... any sub for the breadcrumbs?

  4. Hi Mike - I'm a triathlete, too! Just did my first Olympic distance this summer. I'm working on a blog post about quinoa for kids and was wondering if I could link back to this post and I was wondering if you'd be interested in my kids' reactions to this recipe. You did mention 'even your kids will fall in love with them' and I'm living with 3 boys ages 8, 6 and 3. If you want to talk over email about details that's fine too!

    1. There's nothing quite like your first Tri: Great job Liz!

      Feel free to share this recipe. I love it when people are excited about my food — that’s why I do this, after all!
      And by all means let me know your kids' reactions (hoping that it's a positive one!)

    2. HI Mike...I tried this recipe over the weekend...fed it to my kids...the results are in! I posted about it on my blog and Pinterest, I do hope you get a chance to check it ouy.

  5. quick question, my kids are GF, can I replace bread crumbs with GF bread crumbs for the same results??

    1. Absolutely, I do it all the time. I use Gillian's gluten-free breadcrumbs, they're super good!