Quinoa and Swiss Chard Cakes

Leftover grains of almost any kind are–to me–an occasion for fritters!  The green quinoa from the other evening’s dinner is the perfect nutty backdrop for some fritters made with swiss chard and parmiggiano cheese.

You need not have made the whole quinoa recipe from my prior post (although the arugula pesto adds greatly to the flavor of the fritters)–you can simply start with plain cooked quinoa.   Adding a bunch of boiled, squeezed swiss chard to the quinoa gives these fritters additional moisture, lightness, and green flavor.

The method to making these fritters is very similar to that of meatballs, using the grain as a substitute for meat.  Combine the cooked grain, swiss chard (cooked, chopped, squeezed), then add bread crumbs (a mix of plain and seasoned) to dry out the mixture sufficiently.  Add cheese, parsley, black pepper, and salt.  Taste and add more salt if necessary.  Add the eggs and mix well with hands.   form into balls and flatten.  Fry in olive oil and eat at any temperature!   They also freeze well–just reheat in a 300 degree oven on a sheet of foil for 15 minutes.

Quinoa and Swiss Chard Cakes

makes about 20 cakes

2 1/2 cups (more or less) cooked quinoa 

1 1/2 lbs. swiss chard, washed and chopped crosswise into 1/2″ ribbons, including stems, then boiled in salted water for about 10 minutes or until stems are soft.  Shocked in cold water, drained and squeezed in small bundles

1/4 c plain bread crumbs (I accumulate stale bread pieces and let them dry out for a couple of weeks (or months), then process them into fine crumbs in the food processor)

1/2 c  seasoned bread crumbs (Progresso is fine but my local gourmet market, Citarella makes very fine seasoned crumbs)

1/2 c grated parmiggiano

1/4 c chopped fresh parsley

1/2 tsp black pepper

1/2 tsp (or more) salt

2 large eggs

approx. 1/2 c olive oil for frying

Mix all ingredients except egg, then taste for salt.  Add eggs, form into balls, then flatten each ball into a patty.   Lay out on foil until ready to fry.


 Gently place in pre-heated olive oil in broad nonstick skillet, then let fry for at least 3 or 4 minutes per side until golden brown.

 These are great hot, warm or cold.  I generally fry the whole batch, eat some hot, then refrigerate or freeze the rest in foil.  Although this evening, I served mine with the arugula, tomato and goat cheese salad in the opening photo, they’re brilliant by themselves as a cocktail snack.

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