Salmon Quinoa Cakes, two ways

My obsession with Costco continued last weekend with the purchase of a 4-lb. bag of red quinoa.

Salmon Quinoa Cakes // The Pancake Princess

I’d only ever tried white quinoa before, but figure red was pretty much the same. This assumption is false. It’s a little more bitter (and yes I rinsed it) and harder–as in, it took a little longer to cook and even when I simmered it past the point of what looked like doneness, there’s still more of a chew to it. I kind of miss my white quinoa, but on the plus side, red quinoa holds its shape better, so it’s great in veggie burgers, salads, soups, etc.

Quinoa Salmon Cakes // The Pancake Princess

On another note, I’m totally hooked on America’s Next Top Model. This is my second season and though I’ve never been into reality shows, I’m just fascinated by the modeling process. I’m not kidding, some of the modeling tips totally applies to food photography. In one episode, Tyra is critiquing a photo and notes how dark Jeremy looks in the photo. “You have to find the light!” She says, twisting in her chair to show him how to catch the light on her face. The same is true with food—you have to focus the light just right on the food you’re photographing, or else the shot is pointless.

Salmon Quinoa Cakes // The Pancake Princess

Okay now I feel ridiculous. Side note: over. So these burgers are reeeeally easy. At Costco, I also picked up a 6-pack of canned wild salmon. This pre-cooked and portioned stuff makes it so easy to throw together really quick burger-shaped things. Cook up some quinoa real quick and you can make salmon cakes two (or a million) ways. I tried one with aspirations toward a traditional crab cake flavor profile with parmesan, lemon and a dab of mustard. The other just uses teriyaki sauce (a family favorite) and omg for a three-ingredient creation, it was SO GOOD. Secretly my favorite of the two.

I tried making these in the food processor, and then realized mashing by hand works just as well. I ate these for a week, crumbled over salad in a miso dressing, in a wrap, with tons of roasted vegetables—any way you eat these, I hope you love them like I did.

Salmon Quinoa Cakes


  • For the parmesan version:
  • 6 oz. salmon (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 ¼ cup cooked red quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
  • juice from half a large lemon or 1 small lemon

  • For the teriyaki version:
  • 6 oz. salmon (about ¾ cup)
  • 1 ¼ cup cooked red quinoa
  • 3 tablespoons your favorite teriyaki sauce


Add all ingredients to a large bowl and mash together. Heat a skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add a teaspoon or two of oil and swirl to coat the bottom. Using a quarter cup, measure out ¼ cup of the salmon mixture, dump it into your palm and flatten and shape into a flat circle using your fingers. Invert your hand over the pan (don’t touch that hot pan, smarty!) and let the mixture plop into the hot skillet. You should hear a sizzle (if not, your pan isn’t hot enough). Repeat twice more (don’t cook more than 3 patties at a time, depending on the size of your pan). Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, or until browned. I lightly re-greased the skillet after each batch, you can try without re-greasing. If the oil starts to smoke, lower the heat. EAT!

For other really simple recipes, give these a try:

A 1-ingredient sweet potato hash!

Sweet Potato Hash // The Pancake Princess

Sardine tartines: If I had to pick a fish, it’d be a toss-up between salmon and sardines. So high in calcium, protein, and other essential nutrients–and so versatile!

{Detox} Sardine Tartines

Sweet potato veggie burgers

Sweet Potato Veggie Burgers // The Pancake Princess

Broccoli Bean Salad


{Detox} Broccoli Bean Salad

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16 thoughts on “Salmon Quinoa Cakes, two ways

  1. laurasmess

    There’s no such thing as Costco here *sob* but I’d have bought the quinoa if I saw it on sale like you did! Awesome idea to make savoury cakes/patties with it. Aaron loves salmon so I might just give these a go. Healthy plus delicious equals win-win! xx

  2. Lilly Sue

    I like this fun, creative recipe! I also had an addiction to America’s Next Top Model but when it first started lol. I like the idea of taking tips for food photography though :)

    1. erika Post author

      Haha me too…the show is so ridiculous sometimes, but it’s great entertainment for sure. Especially now that they added guys to the show!!

  3. Alex @ Brain, Body, Because

    This looks so good! We have a sort of Costco thing here and I love stocking up on my favorites.

    I don’t think I have ever tried red quinoa before? I also had assumed it was basically the same thing.

    Have you started the LiveFit program yet? I think you’ll really like it! If you have never done much strength training before, you’ll see HUGE gains in the beginning, which is really exciting and encouraging. Keep us updated :)

    1. erika Post author

      Yay! I know, I thought it would be logical to assume red quinoa is essentially the same, but beware! Textural differences!

      Yes, I skipped a day of rest and so I’m on day 9 now! Bahh I was SO SORE in the beginning, but I’m actually kind of…liking lifting weights. *gasp* (even though I’m probably doing it all wrong)

  4. rika@vm

    4-lb. bag of red quinoa from COSTCO?! Are you joking me? I live about few minutes away from Costco (actually, I’m not home yet until Nov), so I will be sure to check it out!

  5. Nancy @ gottagetbaked

    Lol I used to watch ANTM religiously but stopped a few seasons ago when it started getting a bit ridiculous (like that season with both American and UK models – no thanks!). Thankfully our food doesn’t need to smize (my favourite made-up Tyra word). I’ve never had red quinoa before. Maybe next time I’m at Costco I’ll pick up a four pound bag so that I can make these yummy salmon cakes. I love making patties with canned salmon – so easy and delicious!


    Oooh Erika I have a quinoa crab cake recipe too…minus the salmon, haha! Yours sounds delicious too! Salmon was one of my alltime favorite seafoods before going vegan. Sadly we don’t eat it anymore because of my hubby, but it sure is delish! This looks super yummy and simple! Oh, and we pretty much only use red quinoa…we actually love the stronger texture of it. No lie, we eat it at least 3 times each week, lol! :) We have deemed it the superfood against my hubby’s gout :)

    1. erika Post author

      The salmon or quinoa? I’d say both are pretty good buys…ugh Costco. SO GOOD. And haha that’s actually a cloth scrap that I was using for some sewing project–thanks! :)


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