Salmon Cakes with Quinoa & Vegetables –
Crab Cake’s First Cousins
I’ve had an excellent recipe for crab cakes for many a year. With six cans of wild salmon in the cupboard and nary a flake of crab in the fridge, I had an idea. Perhaps I could replace the crab and make salmon cakes instead. With each bite, we wondered why I hadn’t thought of this before. Sautéed in oil, this first batch of salmon cakes were richly flavored, crispy on the outside and quite delicious. With a bit of refining to make them healthier, they’ve become crab cake’s first cousins.
New life for a favorite recipe
Not even a week later, I came across an unusual recipe for baked crab cakes using cooked quinoa instead of breadcrumbs. Combining the best of both of our recipes, I created Salmon Cakes with Quinoa & Vegetables, giving new life to my favorite crab cake recipe.
This included the original seasonings (plus my favorite, Aleppo pepper flakes), along with baking the Salmon Cakes, replacing the crab with canned wild salmon, swapping gluten-free quinoa for the bread crumbs, adding lightly cooked vegetables and reducing the amount of cheese. The results: Salmon Cakes that are every bit as tasty. Plus, they’re still crispy on the outside with a bit more texture from the vegetables on the inside.
Turn up your smile not your nose
Wild salmon are nutritional powerhouses, rich in protein, omega-3s, and vitamin D3. And sockeye or “red” salmon is the richest known food source of Vitamin D3.
Turn up your smile not your nose at canned Alaskan wild salmon. Having cans of shelf-stable salmon in your pantry is an easy and economical way to always have nutrient-rich salmon on hand. Especially from late fall through mid-spring when fresh wild salmon is unavailable.
Salmon Cakes with Quinoa and Vegetables
Easily made recipe for gluten-free, baked, not fried, Salmon Cakes. Crisp and flavorful just out of the oven. Also nice cold right out of the fridge.
I use canned Alaskan wild salmon, though baked or poached frozen wild salmon would also work. Be sure to let the salmon cool before adding it to the egg mixture.
Inspired by and adapted from my 1987 recipe for crab cakes, and a recipe in the recently published Smart Fat: Eat More Fat. Lose More Weight. Get Healthy Now., by Steven Masley, MD and Jonny Bowden, PhD.
Makes 12 cakes, 4-6 servings Printer-Friendly Recipe
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
1 ½ cups *cooked quinoa (1/3 cup quinoa cooked in 2/3 cup water with a pinch of salt)
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 cup ¼-inch diced onion
½ cup ¼-inch diced celery
½ cup coarsely grated carrot
2 teaspoons coarsely chopped capers, drained (optional)
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon Aleppo or other red pepper flakes
2 large eggs
1 ½ tablespoons mayonnaise (Vegenaise)
1 tablespoon whole grain Dijon mustard or homemade country-style mustard
Zest from half a lemon
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 ounces grated Pecorino cheese
2 6-ounce cans wild salmon, well-drained and flaked (9 ounces drained salmon)
2 tablespoons butter, divided into 12 equal pieces
Lemon wedges for serving
- Heat the oven to 375 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place the olive oil in a small sauté pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, stir in the diced onion. Cover the pan. Cook for 5 minutes.
- Uncover the pan and stir in the diced celery, grated carrot, capers (if using), thyme, salt and red pepper flakes. Cover the pan. Cook about 3 minutes, just until the celery softens. Remove from the heat.
- In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, mayonnaise, mustard, lemon zest and juice.
- Stir in the room temperature quinoa, vegetables, Pecorino cheese and flaked salmon. Gently combine the ingredients using a rubber spatula.
- Use a #12 scoop or 1/3 cup measuring cup to form the salmon cakes. Place them on the prepared baking sheet. Use your fingers to shape each scoop into 2 ¾ -inch cakes. Top each salmon cake with 1 piece (½ teaspoon) of butter.
- Bake for 17 minutes. Switch the oven from bake to high broil. Broil the Salmon Cakes for 2 minutes. Turn the pan 180 degrees and broil for another 1-2 minutes to lightly brown them.
* To cook quinoa: Rinse and drain 1/3 cup of quinoa. Place 2/3 cup of water with a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over high heat. Add the drained quinoa. When the water boils, cover the pan and reduce the heat so the water simmers. Cook 17 minutes. Turn off the heat. Let the quinoa sit in the covered pan for 5 minutes before fluffing it with a fork. Cool the quinoa to room temperature before adding it to the rest of the ingredients