sesame crusted quinoa + kale cakes

If you follow my twitter or instagram feed {or if we are real life friends - hi!} you know that I am currently in Beijing. I've been here since Wednesday and we have packed our days with as much site seeing and touring as a person {who does not particularly like site seeing} could handle. We have two more stops after this, Hong Kong + Tokyo. It's my first trip to Asia, and I am so excited I have finally made my way to the other side of the world. 

I will be sharing photos from the trip, but before I do that I wanted to share these quinoa cakes which I made so Michael and I could have a little snack of something homemade and healthy for our 13 hour flight.

If you read 101 cookbooks, you're probably familiar with Heidi's packing and plane food posts. I am not nearly as organized before a long trip as Heidi appears to be. I'm usually scrambling to pack at the very last minute or running off to the store at some ridiculous hour to buy travel size things, so cooking a meal to pack for the plane ride never crossed my mind. However, after reading Heidi's posts on how she makes and packs these delicious little snacks for long plane rides, I was totally inspired and determined to get myself organized to do it for our next long trip. 

I thought about what I would make, what would be easy to take and eat, but most of all what would be the most satisfying. Michael loves these red bean + zucchini cakes, so I knew that I should stay in that direction. Then I thought, I might as well go with Heidi all the way on this and make the quinoa patties she made recently for a trip to London. I've made them before and they were so good, I knew I would be excited to whip them out mid-flight.

I made a few tweaks, mostly being the addition of the sesame seed crust. In case you haven't noticed, I have been on a bit of a sesame seed kick recently. I cannot get enough of them. Being a sauce kind of person, I wanted something to dip these in, taking into consideration that they would not be able to be refrigerated while in-transit. A tamari based sauce was the perfect solution and compliment to these cakes. 

Thank you Heidi for the inspiration. I was not only able to get myself organized + packing slightly before the 11th hour, but Michael and I were so excited to snack on some home cooked food at 30,000ft while watching hours and hours of Mad Men + The Office. 


sesame crusted quinoa + kale cakes
(adapted from the quinoa patty recipe by Heidi Swanson of 101 cookbooks)

about 12 small cakes


2 cups of cooked quinoa, room temperature
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 a teaspoon of salt
1/2 cup of kale, finely chopped
1/4 cup of cilantro, finely chopped
3 shallots, minced
3 cloves of garlic, pressed
1 teaspoon of cumin
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder
1/2 cup of garbanzo bean flour
1/4 - 1/2 cup of sesame seeds
2-4 tablespoons of grapseed oil, if you are frying 

tamari dipping sauce: 
2 tablespoons of tamari or low sodium soy sauce
1 tablespoon of sesame oil
1 tablespoon of brown rice vinegar
1-2 tablespoons of diced green onion 


  • Pre-heat the oven to 350º.
  • In a medium bowl, combine the quinoa, eggs, salt, and pepper. Add the kale, cilantro, shallots, garlic, and cumin and stir until everything is combined.
  • Then add the baking powder and the garbanzo bean flour. Stir again and set it aside for a few minutes so the moisture can absorb. 
  • While the mixture is resting, make the dipping sauce. Whisk together the ingredients in a small bowl and set aside. 
  • At this point, your mixture should hold together well. If it does not, add another egg or maybe a little more flour, but be careful not to add too much flour as you do not want the mixture to be dry. 
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment and pour the sesame seeds out onto a small plate. Take about a tablespoon or two of the mixture and roll it between your palms and then flatten it out. The cakes should be about an inch or so in diameter. Press each side into the sesame seeds making sure you get a nice coating of the seeds on each side, and then place them on the baking sheet. 
  • Bake for 10 minutes. While they are baking, if you are going to finish them in a pan (which I recommend) heat up a couple of tablespoons of grapeseed oil in a cast iron pan over medium high heat (do this about 3 minutes before they are done baking). If you are not going to fry the cakes, leave them in the oven for another 10 minutes until they are cooked through. 
  • For frying: Make sure the oil is very hot, then place a couple of cakes in the pan. They should sizzle when they hit the pan. If the oil is not hot you might overcook the cakes and they will be dry. Cook for about 2 minutes on each side, just enough to brown the cakes. Continue until all of the cakes are browned. 
  • Serve warm with the tamari dipping sauce. They will keep in the refrigerator for about a week. If you are traveling with them, they will be fine in an air-tight container for 12-24 hours.