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Chickpea Quinoa Cakes With Pumpkin Seed Salsa Recipe

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Democracy Dies in Darkness

By Joe Yonan

These crispy-edged cakes — like a grain salad in patty form — are light and tasty on their own, and outstanding with spicy, creamy pumpkin seed salsa on top. You may have a little more of the salsa than needed for this recipe, but you can spoon it on any roasted or steamed vegetables, or use it as a sandwich spread or dip. The cakes are too delicate to eat as veggie burgers, but that’s okay; they’re more elegant this way. This is a great use of leftover cooked quinoa, or you can cook some just for this recipe.

Storage: Refrigerate the cakes and the salsa separately for up to 4 days.

From Food and Dining editor Joe Yonan, with recipes inspired by cookbook author Heidi Swanson and Houston chef Hugo Ortega.


measuring cup

Servings: 4 (makes 8 cakes)


Time Icon
30 mins
Total: 45 mins
  1. Step 1

    Make the salsa: Heat a large (12-inch) skillet, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat until just starting to smoke. Add the tomato and jalapeno and cook, turning frequently, until charred all over, 5 to 7 minutes total. Transfer to a food processor.

  2. Step 2

    Add the pumpkin seeds, water, cilantro and lime juice to the food processor, and puree until smooth. Add more water as needed to create a thick but pourable consistency. Taste, and season with more lime juice and salt as needed.

  3. Step 3

    Make the cakes: Position a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a large sheet pan with oil.

  4. Step 4

    In a large bowl, use a fork to very lightly mash the chickpeas. Add the quinoa, panko, tomatoes, mayonnaise, scallions, garlic, lime juice and salt, and stir until thoroughly combined. Taste, and season with more lime juice and/or salt as needed. Divide into eight portions (a scant 1/2 cup each), and form into patties no more than 1/2-inch thick.

  5. Step 5

    Transfer the patties to the prepared sheet pan and roast for 15 minutes, or until lightly browned and crisp on the edges. Flip them over and continue roasting for another 10 minutes, or until deeply browned on the edges.

  6. Step 6

    Transfer the cakes to a serving platter or plates, spoon the salsa on top, and serve hot or at room temperature.


Cilantro >> mint or parsley.
Chickpeas >> white beans, black beans, kidney beans.
Lime juice >> lemon juice or apple cider vinegar.


To cook the quinoa for this recipe, rinse 1/3 cup quinoa and combine with 2/3 cup water in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the quinoa has swelled and absorbed the water, about 15 minutes. Let cool completely before forming the cakes. (You can refrigerate the cooked quinoa for up to 3 days before making the recipe.)

Nutritional Facts

Per serving (2 cakes plus 1/4 cup salsa)

  • Calories


  • Fat

    36 g

  • Saturated Fat

    4 g

  • Carbohydrates

    45 g

  • Sodium

    666 mg

  • Cholesterol

    0 mg

  • Protein

    18 g

  • Fiber

    8 g

  • Sugar

    3 g

This analysis is an estimate based on available ingredients and this preparation. It should not substitute for a dietitian’s or nutritionist’s advice.

From Food and Dining editor Joe Yonan, with recipes inspired by cookbook author Heidi Swanson and Houston chef Hugo Ortega.

Tested by Joe Yonan.

Published July 5, 2024

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