Quinoa Cake

Quinoa Cake with Tempura Zucchini “Flower” Stuffed with Pine Nut Beet Mash



  • 1½ cup dry quinoa
  • 3 cup chicken stock (or water, chicken stock recommended)
  • 1 red & 1 yellow pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 cooking onion
  • 1 large carrot (peeled)
  • 3 heirloom carrots (for outer rim)
  • ½ celery stock
  • 4 eggs (beaten)
  • 2 tbsp dijon mustard
  • Salt & pepper
  • 2 large red beets
  • 1 medium cinnamon stick
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tbsp pine nuts
  • 4 zucchini flowers (Substitution: 4 thin slices of zucchini – length wise)
  • 100 g tempura flower
  • 20 g flour
  • 500 ml vegetable oil (for frying)


Quinoa Cakes

  1. To cook the quinoa, rinse it well in a strainer with cold running water for a minute, then place in a saucepan with 3 cups of chicken stock or water, add a pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover with a lid, reduce to a simmer over medium low heat, and cook for 15 minutes until the water is absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork or spatula, and let it cool for about 5 minutes.
  2. Dice peppers, orange carrot (not heirloom), onion and celery to small dice. Mince the garlic. In sauté pan start with garlic and onions for 2 minutes then add carrot and celery for 2 minutes, then the peppers. Cook until carrot and celery are semi soft, you want them al dente so there is a crunchy texture to the cake. (If you do not want this sauté vegetables until soft.) If you have a mandolin slice the heirloom carrots thin; if not use a small knife to cut them thin as possible.
  3. In a mixing bowl add quinoa to vegetables and mix. Then add eggs and Dijon mustard until moistened. Using a ¼ cup measuring cup, pack the quinoa mixture very firmly into the cup, then tap the cup on a flat surface to get the quinoa cake to release. Repeat with the remaining quinoa mixture. Then place thinly sliced heirloom carrots around the middle of the outside of the cake to make a nice colourful border.
  4. Pour enough olive oil to coat the bottom of the pan into a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Then fry the quinoa cakes for 5 minutes on each side, until golden brown. Remove the quinoa cakes to a paper towel to drain.

Tempura Zucchini Flower Stuffed with Pine Nut and Beet Mash

  1. In a small pot add water until beets are submerged then add cinnamon stick and bay leaves with salt. Bring to a boil, cover and cook for 20-25 minutes until beets are tender and soft. Once cooked, cool in fridge until you can handle. 
  2. Use a grater to shred the cooled beets finely. Put beets in food processor with pine nuts and blend adding very small amounts of water until it has a lumpy texture (you can make it smooth if you want, but it’s better if the texture is lumpy).
  3. In a small bowl add tempura flour with ice cold water, slowly incorporating the water with a whisk until you have a nice thick batter.
  4. Then using a spoon, scoop the beet mixture into zucchini flowers, roll the flowers in flour then add to the beet batter ensuring the whole flower is coated. Add to frying pan with oil and fry until golden brown.
  5. Alternatively, coat the thinly sliced zucchini in the flour, then add to batter ensuring whole sliced is coated, add to frying pan with oil and fry until golden brown. Place one paper towel patting down so no excess oil and season with salt and pepper. Stack delicately on top of quinoa stack with large dollop of beet mixture.

Tip: Eat with your eyes first! For added décor to your plate, set aside some beet mixture and purée until smooth. Place a festive smear to your plate!

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