Quinoa Salmon Cakes

I love burgers. Who doesn’t, right? Burgers are awesome. Simple, flavorful and fairly easy to add your own healthy twist to, they tend to be a go-to favorite in our house.

When most people think of burgers, they think of juicy, tender, meaty burgers, oozing with what seems like blood. Appetizing, isn’t it? Yeah, I don’t think so either.

Since doing my cleanse four months ago, I have stopped eating red meat completely. I thought it was going to be hard, but you know what? I’m really enjoying it. Those steaks, lamb chops, and sausages that I used to enjoy, now make my stomach turn. Just the thought of going back to eating red meat makes me cringe.

And so, I’ve found alternatives. Delicious and healthy alternatives.

Think you may be limited in the burger world without eating red meat or gluten? Don’t worry, there are TONS of options out there. Trust me, the burger world is your oyster.

Like my gluten-free and vegan chickpea quinoa burgers or butternut squash and green lentil burgers. They’re both vegan, both totally delicious and both use quinoa, making them naturally gluten-free. What more could a non-red meat eating, gluten avoiding person ask for?

But today we’re not talking about bean and veggie burgers. We’re talking about fish burgers.

More specifically, Salmon Cakes.

Healthy, all natural, made with whole grains and totally gluten-free. These are quinoa salmon cakes to be exact.

When I started experimenting with these salmon cakes, the texture was my biggest concern. We played around with the amount of quinoa, tested different ingredients, experimented with binding agents until finally, we had the perfect salmon cake.

And here I give to you my most favorite fish cake recipe on the planet. Truly the best, I promise. You’ll never look at another salmon cake the same.

Quinoa Salmon Cakes

Moist, easy to assemble, and deliciously nutritious, these salmon cakes have now become a staple for us. You can whip them up in minutes and they are sure to be a crowd pleaser. (I made them for my parents the other night and they were a huge hit!)

Quinoa Salmon Cakes
serves 6


  • 3 cans wild caught, no salt added Atlantic salmon
  • 1/2 cup dry quinoa
  • 1 bunch green onions
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh dill, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

Prepare the quinoa by placing 1 cup water on the stove to boil. When the water is ready, add the quinoa, cover and turn down to simmer for 10 minutes, or until the water has been absorbed.

While the quinoa is cooking, debone and remove the skin from the salmon. Place in a large bowl and break it up with a fork. Set the bowl aside.

In a food processor, fit the metal s-blade, add the green onions, lemon zest, dill, salt and pepper. Process in about 5 – 6 one second pulses, until the onions are minced.

When the quinoa is done cooking and has cooled slightly, add this and the salmon to the food processor and pulse until a dough begins to form and all the ingredients are combined, about 10 pulses. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl as you’re blending.

Crack the egg into the bowl that the salmon was in. Add the contents of the food processor and mix the everything together with a wooden spoon. Sprinkle with a touch more salt and pepper if you wish. Form the dough into patties and set aside.

In a cast iron skillet or saute pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Place the salmon cakes into the skillet and cook for 2 – 4 minutes per side, or until they are heated through.

Serves these cakes with a side of fresh sweet potato fries and topped with a touch of hot sauce (we used Frank’s Red Hot) – yum!

  • DrChristine

    What size cans of Salmon do you use? While I occassionally eat fish, my spouse is totally vegetarian. Neither of us eat grains or legumes as we cross react. Have you ever experimented with a vegetarian Quinoa and/or Buckwheat based burger?

  • The Queen of Quinoa

    Thanks for visiting. We use 7oz cans of salmon – I haven't been able to find larger cans that are wild caught and natural. I have done a ton of experimenting using quinoa as a binding agent in burgers and meatballs. Here are a few of my posts!

    Vegan Quinoa Burgers: http://queenofquinoa.blogspot.com/2011/10/vegan-quinoa-burgers.html

    Butternut Squash & Quinoa Cakes: http://queenofquinoa.blogspot.com/2012/01/gluten-free-quinoa-butternut-squash.html

    Gluten-Free Asian Turkey Meatballs: http://queenofquinoa.blogspot.com/2011/09/gluten-free-asian-turkey-meatballs-with.html (Not vegetarian but soo good!)

  • Anusia Govindasamy

    Hi there. I stopped eating red meat and poultry 3 months ago and like you, have not looked back. I do eat eggs and cold water wild fish. I am not gluten intolerant, but often cook and eat meals that are gluten free. I am intrigued by these salmon cakes. I'll have to do some burger experimenting and let you know how it goes on my site http://savagecabbage.org. Cheers – and thanks for the post! Great idea.

  • The Queen of Quinoa

    Hi Anusia! It warms my heart when I hear stories of other's health successes. Don't you just feel so much better now that the animal meat is out of your system? Please do let me know how the burgers turn out for you. I visited your site and it's beautiful – the pictures are great! Keep up the awesome work!

    xo Alyssa

  • Unknown

    Wow, finally got a chance to this dish and it was awesome!!! I didn't have dill so I used cilantro instead (which I prefer anyhow). I also ended up using fresh salmon that I bought from the store, skinned the fillet myself and cut it into pieces prior to adding to the blender (approx 20 oz). I had the salmon cakes with a side of spring salad drizzled in home made vinagrette and feta.

    There is a bit of prep work on the front end, but definitely a great dish to serve when a few ppl are over, not to mention how healthy it is.

    I'll be sure to see if I can try a couple of variants of this recipe and see if I find anything else that tastes as good. Thank you again for the recipe, you're awesome!!


    • Jen

      Did you cook the raw salmon before processing it?

      • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

        The salmon is actually canned, so it’s pre-cooked. No need to worry about that! If you want to use fresh salmon, I would advise using cooked :)

  • The Queen of Quinoa

    Hi Rumin,

    This is so exciting!! I'm so happy that the recipe worked out for you. I've been dying to try it with fresh salmon, so this is good news it works. Your salad sounds delicious as well.

    Please do let me know if you try other versions / variations. I'm thinking of trying this with another kind of fish (maybe halibut) and see how it goes. I'll keep you posted and keep me posted on your experiments as well!

    xo Alyssa

  • j-dranks

    these sound amazing! i'm a huge fan of salmon and quinoa, what more could i ask for?! thanks for sharing :)

  • The Queen of Quinoa

    Glad you like the recipe! Salmon and quinoa are two of my favorite things as well :)

    This is my very favorite salmon recipe: http://queenofquinoa.blogspot.com/2011/10/gluten-free-cinnamon-and-pecan-crusted.html

  • Brittany

    Is there a way to make this recipe without the eggs? It sounds delicious and I would like to try it. However, along with gluten, dairy, and shellfish I’m also sensitive to eggs…any suggestions?

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Hi Brittany! I have not tried this without eggs, but I would suggest trying a flax egg ( 1 tbsp flax meal + 3 tbsp warm water, let rest for 10 minutes or so). It might bind it, but I can’t guarantee it :) You might want to take the amount of quinoa down slightly as well to compensate for the lack of egg. Let me know how it turns out!

      xo Alyssa

  • Cate

    I tried this recipe and substituted fresh boiled crab for the salmon…. amazing! Great recipe, thanks!! Keep up the delicious inspirations! :)

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      That sounds delicious! I will definitely need to test it out. I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!!

      xo Alyssa

  • gb

    it’s like we’re constantly having the same food cravings. i’ve been eating salmon cakes & homemade black bean burgers all week! we should definitely make these when we’re at das lakehaus, as i am not the hugest real burger fan either (but i doooo love hot dogs…). i haven’t made salmon burgers with quinoa so i will def try it next time i whip up a batch!
    have you tried making tuna croquettes or zucchini cakes?

  • Kosherspam

    I like to poach fresh salmon and use the poaching stalk to cook my quinoa.

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Wowsa, that sounds awesome!! I’m definitely going to have to give that a try. Thanks for sharing :)

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  • Brenda

    Are these recipe’s free to use?

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      They’re free to cook! Not sure what you mean by use, but if you would like to feature the recipe somewhere, please email me at: alyssa@simplyquinoa.com


  • notb4coffee

    Just tried this tonight, but subbed white tuna for the salmon and my family loved them! Also, I omitted the dill since daughter #1 detests it, but added a few tablespoons of unsweet almond milk and a little extra quinoa to bulk the patties up a bit. I browned them in grapeseed oil rather than olive since it has a higher smoke point and lighter taste and they turned out great! I served them with last night’s leftover Lentil Stew along with an assortment of fresh veggies on the side. THANK YOU for this recipe; it’s definitely a keeper!

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Wow, so happy this turned out so well with the tuna. I’m definitely going to have to give that a try! I’m always partial to salmon, but that sure does sound delicious :)

  • Maria

    I loved that I didn’t have to make my own breadcrumbs because quinoa is so easy to make. I added a bit of Dijon mustard which added much needed acidity…but why bother taking out the skin and bones??? They are so nutritious and they practically disintergrate when you mix them.

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Perhaps you’re right, I think it just makes me a little nervous 😉 Maybe next time we’ll try it with the bones and skin!

  • Renate

    Do you have a version of this recipe for those who do not have a food processor?

    • http://www.simplyquinoa.com Queen of Quinoa

      Yes! You can just mix it in a bowl with a wooden spoon :)

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  • Busso

    I just knew I would find a salmon patties recipe on your site. I have cooked s piece of fresh salmon and thought if I could use quinoa instead of potatoes. Figured you could help me. I will make them tomorrow evening.