Salmon Cakes with Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf

The Super Bowl fell on the Sunday after my birthday this year and while most Americans enjoyed wings, hoagies, chili, and hopefully one of these concoctions, I was ready for something light and healthy after several days of indulging in terrines, foie gras, red meat and cake. After consulting with roommate Alex, we decided to make salmon cakes as well as a quinoa and vegetable pilaf. Unfortunately the local Safeway was missing a few key ingredients for the vegetable pilaf so I had to improvise by substituting snow peas for asparagus and leaving out the mint completely. While the meal turned out really well, Alex commented that the quinoa and vegetable pilaf would have more depth and be tastier if we had made it according to the recipe.

A few weeks later, I decided it was time to make this meal again for a meatless Friday Lenten meal. This time, I was able to find the needed ingredients at Safeway. In addition, I took Friday morning off of work in order to let maintenance men into the apartment to fix the kitchen sink. I had a lot of plans for the morning off, but the only thing I really managed to accomplish was to get some extra shuteye and put together this delicious lunch which also turned into a delicious dinner. All in all, roommate Alex was right, the quinoa and vegetable pilaf was even better with asparagus and mint. The salmon cakes were light and flavorful with little filler and a burst of flavor coming from the capers. I couldn’t stop talking about this filling, meat-free, healthy, and tasty meal.

Salmon Cakes (adapted from

1 pound salmon fillet, skin removed, finely chopped
2 egg whites
5 tablespoons drained capers
1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper


Combine salmon, egg whites, remaining 1/4 cup shallots, capers, breadcrumbs, remaining 1 tsp mustard, salt and pepper in another bowl; mix well; shape into eight 3-inch-round patties.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Cook salmon cakes until bottom is golden, about 6 minutes; flip and cook until golden, 5 minutes more.

Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf (adapted from

1 1/2 cups quinoa, well rinsed
1 cup vegetable broth
2 cups frozen petite peas, thawed, divided
5 tablespoons chopped fresh mint leaves, divided
1 garlic clove, peeled
3 tablespoons butter
1 large leek (white and pale green parts only), halved, thinly sliced (about 1 cup)
3/4 cup sliced shallots
8 ounces fresh shiitake mushrooms, stemmed, thickly sliced
1 14-ounce bunch asparagus, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 1-inch pieces

Bring 2 1/2 cups water to boil in small saucepan. Add quinoa and 1 teaspoon salt; return to boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer until quinoa is tender and water is absorbed, 15 to 17 minutes. Drain if necessary.

Puree broth, 1 cup peas, 4 tablespoons mint, and garlic in blender until smooth

Melt butter in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add leek and shallots; sauté until soft and light brown, about 4 minutes.

Stir in mushrooms, then asparagus; sauté until mushrooms are tender and asparagus is crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Mix in puree and 1 cup peas; stir until heated through, about 2 minutes. Add quinoa; stir to coat.

Divide pilaf among bowls; sprinkle with remaining 1 tablespoon mint and serve with salmon cakes.


One comment on “Salmon Cakes with Quinoa and Vegetable Pilaf

  1. Tannia says:

    You are an amazing cook!!

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