I love a good quinoa patty. I've made a few versions over the years, and I've found countless ways to make these with both sweet and savory flavors. This version, so dense from the bread crumbs, is one that even meat lovers could appreciate.

Usually I make quinoa patties without the bread crumbs, so they're lighter and more crumbly. You can modify this recipe to do the same thing. But if you like your patties dense and firm, I recommend keeping them in. I prefer Swiss chard over kale, and if you do too, then it's really easy to make the substitution. Another substitution that works well is using feta with herbs instead of Parmesan. It's a little less sharp and a touch more creamy when hot. This recipe is so flexible you could make all types of substitutions to suit your preferences and still get the same basic result.

Two things to note about how you create these: First, I recommend keeping the patties somewhat small if you want to use them as appetizers. Form them to be about palm-sized, and they'll stay together better in the pan. You could, however, make them a bit larger and then crumble them over a salad instead of keeping them whole. The second note is that you can adjust how much olive oil you use in the pan to get different results. If you have a serious fried food craving, you can use more oil and the patties come out almost as if they were served from a fast-food restaurant. Or, if you like lighter and crispier, you can use just enough oil to keep them from sticking to the pan. Either way works, so just go with your preference. This is an extremely forgiving recipe, so experiment!

This recipe is adapted from the website KCET Food.

Ingredients for quinoa kale patties It's easy to make some basic substitutions to these quinoa kale patties to accommodate your tastes. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 40 minutes

Total time: 50 minutes

Yield: 12-15 small patties

Savory Bite-Sized Quinoa and Kale Patties


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 4 eggs, whisked
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese
  • 3 scallions, thinly sliced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 1 cup steamed kale, chopped (or Swiss chard or spinach)
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • Optional toppings: avocado, cilantro, lemon juice, salsa verde, garlic oil

Cooking Directions

  1. In a medium pot, bring the 2 cups of water and the quinoa to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed all the water. Allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the cooked quinoa, eggs, cheese, scallions, garlic, salt, steamed kale, and breadcrumbs.
    quinoa kale patties
  3. Let everything sit for a few minutes to absorb the liquid, creating a moist (but not runny) batter.
    quinoa kale patties
  4. Heat the oil in a large saute pan over medium-low heat. Form the patties using your hands, and place them into the pan. Leave plenty of room between the patties, and cook them for about 7-8 minutes on one side, or until golden brown. Flip them over and repeat on the other side. When both sides are golden and crisp, remove the patties and place them on a wire rack to cool. Repeat this until all the batter is used.
  5. Serve warm or room temperature with salsa, aioli, or other favorite toppings. Enjoy!

Quinoa kale patties on a cutting board and on a plateIt's easy to make these patties light and crispy or heavy and fried. Either way, they'll still be delicious. (Photo: Jaymi Heimbuch)

Jaymi Heimbuch ( @jaymiheimbuch ) focuses on wildlife conservation and animal news from her home base in San Francisco.

Savory Bite-Sized Quinoa and Kale Patties
This recipe makes a delicious appetizer for a party or game day bite.