Simple and delicious salmon quinoa cakes make the perfect weekday dinner that's that little bit special. Enjoy as an easy salmon pattie as is, make a salmon quinoa salad, or stuff the little patties into a burger bun and enjoy with all the fixings. Perfect for meal prepping as they can be made ahead of time and simply reheated in the microwave or air fryer when needed.
Similar to fish cakes, but a little bit fancy, these salmon quinoa cakes take inspiration from my Sweet Potato and Black Bean Burgers.
Poached Salmon Quinoa Cakes
Would you believe that a regular ol' salmon burger is one of the first dishes I made from the first cookbook I ever bought?
It was the first meal I ever tried out that made me think 'oh wow, I can totally do this cooking thing!'
So, what is so special about these little burgers?
Well, we have gotten rid of the breadcrumbs and loaded them up with quinoa instead, which is just perfect as it bulks them up enough to make them super filling, but still packs a nutritional punch.
The salmon is poached in milk which makes them retain a bucket-load of moisture and gets rid of that overly fishy smell salmon can have.
Plus they can be done and on your dinner table in twenty minutes from start to finish.
You are going to need:
- Salmon fillets: look for skin-off wild salmon fillets as this makes for easier prep;
- Milk: using milk to poach the salmon cooks it really gently and removes any overly fishy smell. It also makes the salmon so perfectly cooked it will flake apart with a fork after poaching;
- Quinoa: you can use regular or tri-color quinoa. Be sure to thoroughly rinse the quinoa before cooking, or it can have a bitter taste;
- Spring Onions;
- Mayonnaise: you can use whatever store-bought mayo you prefer or make your own using a recipe like this one.
- Dijon mustard;
- Lemon zest and juice;
- Plain flour: this is used to bind the salmon burgers together, feel free to sub in almond flour to reduce carbs or make the salmon patties gluten-free;
- Salt and black pepper of course.
Depending on how you want to serve the quinoa salmon burgers, you may need some burger buns, lettuce leaves, tomato slices, onion slices, and extra mayonnaise.
How To Make These Healthy Salmon Patties
Although fairly easy to make, I do have a few tips and tricks to make the best little salmon patties around.
Poach the salmon.
I do this in milk as I find it cooks the salmon just perfectly, and also gets rid of that super fishy taste which can be so off-putting for many people (especially kids).
To poach we are simply going to heat the milk in a saucepan with a lid over medium heat.
Once hot, but not boiling, add in the fresh salmon, pop on the lid and let sit for about 5 minutes, or until the salmon is cooked through.
TIP: if you have a thicker salmon fillet you are going to need to allow it to cook for longer to be cooked through.
Once the salmon is poached, take it out of the milk and flake it into nice chunks with a fork.
If the salmon isn't cooked enough when you remove the lid, just put the lid back on and pop the saucepan with the milk and salmon still in it onto the stove-top on medium heat for 1-2 minutes, then try again.
Pop the flaked salmon into a large bowl with all of the other ingredients.
Mix until everything is well combined.
Form Into Salmon Patties
Next we are going to form the quinoa salmon mix into evenly sized patties.
There are two little 'cheats' here I was to share with you:
- Use a mini pie-maker to get all of the patties the same shape and size. This works perfectly, however as you can only cook 4 patties at a time, it can be a little time consuming;
- Use a ¼ cup measuring cup lined with plastic wrap, fill with the quinoa and salmon mixture, add to the hot pan and gently flatten with a spatula or fish slice.
Of course, if you don't care about perfectly sized burgers then you can just skip this step and form by hand.
Once you have your patties ready we are going to fry in some olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until golden brown.
Tips Tricks and Substitutions
If you are following a gluten-free diet: sub in some gluten-free flour or almond flour in place of the plain flour used.
If you prefer to keep your meals lower in carbs: sub in some almond flour for the plain flour used.
If you want an egg-free version then simply replace the egg with a chia egg by mixing 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 3 tablespoon of water, letting sit for 5 minutes, and then using as the egg is used in the recipe.
Now for the substitutions.
The good news is, these little salmon quinoa cakes are super versatile, so feel free to change things up.
Why not try:
- a sprinkling of green onions;
- some really finely chopped bell pepper;
- fresh dill, corriander/cilantro, or whatever other fresh herbs you have;
- use leftover salmon from the night before instead of fresh salmon;
- use leftover cooked quinoa from the night before;
- use canned red salmon instead of fresh if that's what you have;
- add a pinch of cayenne pepper or chilli flakes or chopped fresh chillis if you like your salmon cakes with a bit of kick.
Can These Be Meal Prepped?
If you would like to make these ahead of time at the beginning of the week for quick and easy lunches and dinners I have got you.
Simply make them up according to the instructions and store them in the fridge.
To reheat simply pop them in the air fryer for about 8 minutes or on a rack in the middle of the oven for about 10 minutes.
You can also reheat in the microwave if you are desperate, but they may become a bit soggy rather than crispy.
How To Serve Up Salmon Quinoa Cakes
The great thing about these easy salmon cakes is that they are super versatile.
There are so many ways to enjoy them:
- Eat as is, straight from the pan, with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice and some mayo;
- Eat as a salmon burger - loaded into a burger bun with some red onion, tomato, , lettuce and some extra mayo;
- As a salmon quinoa salad - just pop the salmon burgers on top of some salad greens, add some creamy dressing, and you are good to go;
- Serve with a dollop of sour cream in a pita pocket for an easy lunch;
- As a wrap with whatever veggies you enjoy.
Need More Salmon Recipes?
Need some more salmon-based recipes in your life? Try these out:
- 4 Ingredient Teriyaki Salmon
- Sundried Tomato and Salmon Alfredo Pasta Bake
- 6 Ingredient Teriyaki Salmon Rice Bowl
- Salsa Verde Baked Salmon
- Creamy Barley and Smoked Salmon Brunch Bowl
Quinoa and Milk Poached Salmon Cakes
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- 1 cup milk
- 1 lb fresh salmon
- 1 ½ cups cooked quinoa completely cooled
- ¼ cup plain flour
- 2 green onion white and light green part only, sliced
- ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
- ⅓ cup mayonnaise
- 1 ½ tablespoon Dijon mustard
- 1 egg
- 2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- cooking oil for cooking I use avocado oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- lemon wedges to serve
- In a small saucepan with a lid, bring the milk to a boil. Remove from the heat, pop the salmon into the milk and put the lid on. Leave for about 3-4 minutes before removing the salmon and flaking it with a fork and setting aside to cool (if you have a thicker cut, you may need to turn the filet over halfway through). Throw the milk away.
- Once the salmon has cooled be sure to pour away any extra liquid that has gathered in the bowl as the salmon cooled.
- In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, plain flour, green onion, parsley, mayonnaise, mustard, egg, lemon juice, lemon zest and paprika. Stir to combine. Once cooled, add in the flaked salmon and season with salt and pepper to taste.Give it a mix until everything is combined
- Heat a little oil in a medium sized pan. Once hot, add heaped tablespoons full of the salmon mixture to the pan and cook for about 4 minutes on each side
- Once cooked, remove from the pan and serve with squeeze of lemon
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.