Spaghetti Squash Quinoa Cakes

Spaghetti Squash Quinoa Cakes made from powerhouse winter squash and protein-filled quinoa.

It seems as though another polar vortex has slammed into the East Coast with full force and we are shrouded in a blanket of bitterly cold temps. I suppose that living in New England for my entire life, I should be accustomed to below freezing weather, but I swear every time that I wake up and see that negative sign before an actual number on my thermometer (aka my iPhone), my heart just sinks.

But what makes this type of weather bearable (and how I survive) is all the comforting recipes that come along with it. Soups, chilis, slow-roasted meats, crock pot meals and other full-bodied dishes that stick to our ribs and fill us with a sense of warmth and happiness.

It’s the only time of year (well besides Thanksgiving) that feeling stuffed to the brim actually makes me smile. For some insane reason, when I’m shivering on my living room sofa, eating three bowls of soup or four spaghetti squash burgers (which we will get to momentarily) seems completely acceptable.

Spaghetti Squash Quinoa Cakes made from powerhouse winter squash and protein-filled quinoa.

Like most of you, I work a full-time job, so quick meals are a staple in my house. I love making big batches of stuff, then freezing the extra portions so that I know if I’m really in a pinch, I can just pull something out, pop it in the oven and dinner is done.

In my freezer you can always find:

During the winter, soups and stews are a given, right? You can whip them up in your crockpot, make a ginormous batch, separate them out into servings, freeze and call it a day. Same goes for chicken and veggies. Just thaw out the chicken, make a pot of quinoa while it’s thawing, chop it up, toss it with some veggies, and serve it over the quinoa with a drizzle of gluten-free tamari sauce.

But it’s the nights when I’m super lazy, and I mean really, really lazy, that the veggie burgers come in handy. You know those nights…the ones where you get home at 7:00, you’re completely famished, your kids are starving (if I had kids I imagine they’d be tugging at my sleeve complaining about how hungry they are) and even those options above seem like way too much effort.

Enter your savior: veggie quinoa burgers.

Spaghetti Squash Quinoa Cakes made from powerhouse winter squash and protein-filled quinoa.

Typically when I make vegetarian quinoa burgers, I use beans to add substance and nutrients. But this time around, I wanted to make a burger that was still rich in vitamins, but skipped on the legumes. Because sometimes I just don’t feel like having beans.

I turned to spaghetti squash for a two reasons. First, its unique texture. If you haven’t tried spaghetti squash, you’re in for a real treat. The texture of this yellow winter squash is just like the name, but in squash form (obviously). It’s stringy like spaghetti, but tastes like squash. And totally in all the right ways, not some weird squishy, squashy, pasta-y mess way like you might be imagining.

The second reason is the fact that spaghetti squash, and most winter squash in general, is loaded with nutrients – everything from vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and even fiber. Plus, like everything else on this site, these cakes have quinoa in them, so you’re not only getting the wellness boost from the squash, but the quinoa as well.

And these Spaghetti Squash Quinoa Cakes are the real deal, my friends. These tender little morsels are crisp on the outside, but soft when you bite into one. They have a gentle sweetness from the squash that is countered with the salty hint of nutritional yeast. Then there’s the quinoa, which helps to break up the texture and add that slight crunch these cakes need.

Plus, they freeze beautifully, so whip up a big batch, eat some for dinner then pop the leftovers in the freezer for a quick weeknight meal when cooking is the last thing on your mind. Trust me, you’ll be thankful you have extra of these wholesome veggie burgers – they’ve quickly become a standby in our house.

Spaghetti Squash Quinoa Cakes

Prep Time: 2 hours

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 2 hours, 15 minutes

Yield: 8 - 10 cakes

Serving Size: 2 cakes

adapted from My New Roots

Ingredients

  • 1 medium spaghetti squash
  • 2 cups spinach, roughly chopped
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free cornmeal (or quinoa flour)
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • Salt & pepper to taste
  • Smoked paprika / chili powder (optional)
  • Oil for cooking
  • Optional sides: sauteed kale, salsa, hummus

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Cut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds. Place squash cut side down in a baking dish and add 1/4" in of water. Roast for 40 - 50 minutes, until a knife can easily penetrate the skin.
  2. Remove from oven, flip over and let sit until cool enough to handle. Scoop out flesh with a fork into a clean, dry dish towel. Squeeze as much water as you can out of the squash. Transfer to a mixing bowl.
  3. Steam spinach in a small saucepan until just wilted. Transfer to mixing bowl and mix with squash until combined.
  4. Add remaining ingredients to bowl and fold to combine. The mixture should start to resemble a soft dough. Form the dough into patties, place on a parchment lined plate or baking sheet and chill in fridge for 1 hour.
  5. Heat oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add cakes and cook until golden on one side, 2 - 3 minutes. Flip and cook for another 1 - 2 minutes. Repeat with remaining cakes.
  6. Serve immediately with a side of salsa / hummus and freshly sauteed kale.

Notes

For Freezing: Let cakes cool completely, then wrap in tinfoil, place in a sealed plastic bag and freeze.

To Cook Frozen Cakes: Heat oven to 300 degrees F. Place cakes on a baking sheet, cook for 10 - 15 minutes, flipping halfway, until heated through.

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About Queen of Quinoa

Alyssa Rimmer is the quinoa obsessed girl behind the gluten-free blog, the Queen of Quinoa. She loves experimenting with nutritious and whole-food ingredients, and seeks to encourage the everyday home chef that cooking and eating gluten-free can not only be healthy, but also delicious and fun. After struggling with stomach issues throughout her college years, Alyssa decided enough was enough and took her health into her own hands. She started by removing gluten from her diet and hasn’t looked back since. Two happy years have passed and her stomach issues have practically disappeared. Living gluten-free has also helped her to truly discover her passion for cooking and she has embraced her new lifestyle with open arms. With the Queen of Quinoa, Alyssa shares her gluten-free recipes, many of which are focused on the superfood quinoa, and discusses her journey to living a more fulfilled and healthy life. She now also cooks refined sugar-free and although not all her of recipes are vegan, she has loved learning and experimenting with vegan baking. She lives in Burlington, Vermont where she is surrounded by fresh, local produce and is always inspired by the fabulous seasonal ingredients that make this state so special. She is excited to share her recipes with you, as she helps to uncover the amazing world of quinoa.
This entry was posted in Allergy Friendly, Burgers, Dairy-Free, Entrees, Gluten-free, Lunch, Nut-Free, Quinoa, Recipe Index, Refined Sugar-Free, Soy-Free, Vegetarian and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

22 Responses to Spaghetti Squash Quinoa Cakes

  1. I love this recipe – combines two of my favorite ingredients. I would have never thought to put those two together in a patty! Definitely trying.
    Ali @ Inspiralized recently posted..Sweet Potato Noodle Shrimp PuttanescaMy Profile

  2. These look delicious! I can’t wait to try them and recommend them to my patients and clients for a balanced healthy meal! Thanks for your great recipes!

  3. Shelley T says:

    I love spaghetti squash cig in half cook an fluff in the she’ll add chopped fresh tomato, fresh basil, pepper and a bit of low fat mozzarella and broil till cheese is melted. Very nummy!! Add chicken to make a hearty meal.

  4. Linda says:

    I know I signed up for emails and thought I could sign in with it but I forgot my password and do not see a link to change it.

  5. Ruth says:

    Is there a substitute for the cornmeal? I can’t eat corn.
    Thanks.

  6. Ruth says:

    Sorry, didn’t see the quinoa flour part! that’s what happens when you do a quick glance. Could quinoa flakes be used in place of the flour or do you need it to help it all stick together? Or could you use ground flax seed?

    • Oops! Didn’t see your second comment, that’s what happens when you work from the bottom up :) I definitely think flaxseed would work and while I think you could use quinoa flakes, I feel like you might need too many and it would end up messing with the texture. In any case, let me know what you end up doing and how it works out for you! xo

  7. Jennifer says:

    These look delicious! I have a question though – if I am not worried about the gluten, I can use regular cornmeal, right? And then would I still need the nutritional yeast? I haven’t used that before, and not totally sure what it’s for in recipes. Still trying to figure all this stuff out! But I have recently become a HUGE fan of quinoa, so I’m loving your recipes!

    • Hi there, yes that would be totally fine for the cornmeal. Still use the nutritional yeast though because that gives it a little bit of a cheese flavor. If you don’t feel like using that however, I’d just substitute it for some parmesan cheese :)

  8. Ruth says:

    I thought by definition that cornmeal was gluten free No?

  9. Brenda says:

    I LOVE quinoa AND spaghetti squash, to have them both in a patty…..how did I get so lucky? I never would have thought to pair them up in a patty. I will definitely be trying this soon, maybe on a bun!
    Brenda recently posted..Hello friends!My Profile

  10. Mmmm love me some squash. This looks great!

  11. Harry Palter says:

    Loving your site. You’re toying with death, though, cutting that spaghetti squash BEFORE you cook it. I bake a LOT of spaghetti squashes — at least once a week — and have found simply pricking the top of it, sticking it whole into the preheated 375 oven for about an hour (or starting to brown and soft to the touch) works just as well… no water, no sliced hands, etc. Cut off the ends, cut in half lengthwise now that it’s soft, and then scoop the seeds out. EZ PZ.

    Cheers…

    Harry “Hap” Palter
    Certified TSFL/Medifast Health Coach
    hapforhealth@gmail.com

  12. Pingback: An Ode to Spaghetti Squash: 11 Divine Recipes - Weight Loss Tips And Tricks

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