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Quinoa & Wild Garlic Cakes

Yotam Ottolenghi
September 30, 2014
September 30, 2014

As anyone who reads her 101 Cookbooks blog will know, Heidi Swanson is the very lovely champion of all things vegetarian. She is also the source of inspiration for these quinoa patties, which are great with just a squeeze of lemon but work like a dream with the salbitxada sauce. Tara, who errs away from bread crumbs whenever she can, makes the cakes with ground flaxseeds instead, for those who want a gluten-free option. Make more than you need of the wonderfully versatile salbitxada, a Catalan sauce similar to romesco. Store it in the fridge for up to a week to have ready to serve alongside any rice-based dish or grilled vegetables, meat, or fish.

Quinoa And Wild Garlic Cakes With Salbitxada Sauce


Serves 4 (makes 16 cakes)

  • 1½ cups/250g quinoa
  • 16 wild garlic leaves, thinly sliced (1½ oz/40 g), or 6 green onions, white and green parts, thinly sliced (2/3 cup/60 g)
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced (about 1 cup/100 g)
  • 2 eggs, lightly whisked
  • 2 green chiles, seeded and finely diced
  • ½ cup/120g cottage cheese
  • 1 oz/30g aged Cheddar, coarsely grated ½ cup plus 1 tbsp/60g dried bread crumbs
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ cup/60 ml olive oil
  • 1 large lemon, cut into wedges (optional)
  • salt and black pepper

Salbitxada sauce (optional)

  • 1 medium red pepper (5 oz/150 g)
  • 2 red chiles
  • 5 cloves garlic, skin on
  • 1/3 cup/40 g sliced almonds, toasted
  • 4 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and coarsely chopped (scant 1½ cups/250 g)
  • 2 tsp sherry vinegar
  • 7 tbsp/100 ml olive oil
  • salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 425ºF/220ºC.
  2. First make the sauce. Place the red pepper, chiles, and garlic cloves on a baking sheet and roast for 10 minutes. Remove the chiles and garlic, turn the red pepper, and continue cooking for another 20 minutes. Once the skin is blistered and the pepper roasted, remove it and place in a bowl covered with plastic wrap. When cool, peel and seed the pepper. Do the same with the chiles and also peel the garlic.
  3. Lower the oven temperature to 400ºF/200ºC.
  4. Place the almonds in the bowl of a small food processor and grind to a coarse powder. Add the pepper, chile, garlic, and tomatoes and continue to process to a paste. Add the sherry vinegar and ¼ teaspoon salt and then slowly pour in the oil until you have a thick sauce.
  5. Throw the quinoa into a saucepan with plenty of boiling water and simmer for 9 minutes, until tender but still with a bite. Drain in a fine sieve, refresh under cold water, and set aside until completely dry.
  6. Place the garlic leaves, red onions, eggs, green chilies, cottage cheese, Cheddar, bread crumbs, cumin, 1 teaspoon salt, and a good grind of pepper in a large bowl. Add the quinoa, stir well, and form the mixture into 2-oz/60-g patties each about 2½ inches/6 cm wide and ¾ inch/2cm thick.
  7. Place a nonstick pan over medium heat and add half the oil. Fry the patties in batches for 3 minutes on each side, until golden, adding oil as needed. Transfer to a baking sheet and finish off in the oven for about 8 minutes. Serve hot with a squeeze of lemon juice, or with the sauce spooned on top or alongside.
Yotam Ottolenghi author page.
Yotam Ottolenghi

Yotam Ottolenghi is the author of Plenty, and co-author with Sami Tamimi of Ottolenghi and Jerusalum, which was awarded Cookbook of the Year by the International Association of Culinary Professionals, and Best International Cookbook by the James Beard Foundation. All three books were New York Times bestsellers. He lives in London, where he owns an eponymous group of restaurants and a high-end restaurant, Nopi.