Mini Quinoa-Chickpea Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream Sauce

These scrumptious little mini cakes are not only going to please your palate, but also pack a nutrient-rich power punch. I combined quinoa and chickpeas as the base of these cakes which added firmness, moisture and a great texture. Quinoa also has a creamy, nutty and somewhat crunchy texture that always makes it a great addition to this recipe. Quinoa is a complete protein that provides all nine essential amino acids and it’s a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron and cooper to name a few. It has lysine, which is essential in helping the body grow and repair tissues. It’s been shown to help ease migraine headaches, prevents clogging of the arteries, and is low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Then we have our garbanzo bean a.k.a. chickpeas, a yummy legume that is a valuable course of fiber and protein. Garbanzo beans contain antioxidant rich nutrients like vitamin C, E, and beta-carotene.  Garbanzo beans aid in detoxification, build immune defenses, aid in digestion and are good for the heart. Such a great addition to your diet and super yummy too.
I also threw some of my favorite veggies in there; zucchini, red pepper, and celery and it’s all topped off with a heavenly cashew cream sauce that is bursting with flavor. 
This recipe has had a well-needed makeover. =) The original recipe contained diced onion and I had to remove it because it was stopping these from holding together. I also added some bread crumbs and a little more vegan mayo. Make sure when you dice your red pepper and celery, you have very fine small pieces, too chunky and it will mess with the results. I took some new pictures for you so you can see how awesome these are.
Mini Quinoa-Chickpea Cakes with Roasted Red Pepper Cashew Cream Sauce
Recipe type: Appetizer
For the Roasted Red Pepper Sauce: makes 1 cup
  • ½ cup of raw cashews, soaked in water for 4 hours
  • 1 tsp dried dill weeds
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1½ tsp horseradish
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ cup diced roasted red pepper
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 4 tbsp unsweetened almond milk
  • fresh black pepper to taste
  • pinch sea salt
For the Cakes: Makes 24 cakes
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal plus 6 tbsp warm water, set aside for five minutes until thickened
  • 1 (15 oz) can low-sodium garbanzo Beans
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ¼ cup finely diced red bell pepper
  • ¼ cup finely diced celery
  • 1 tsp vegan worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ cup vegan mayo
  • ¼ cup whole wheat bread crumbs
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • ¼ tsp mustard powder
  • ¼ tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • fresh black pepper to taste
  • sea salt, to taste
  • fresh scallions or chives, thinly sliced for garnish
For the roasted red pepper sauce:
  1. Drain cashews; add to a food processor or blender with remaining ingredients. Puree until creamy and smooth. Serve either chilled on top of cakes or you can warm it on the stove.
For the cakes:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Cook quinoa according to package instructions. While quinoa is cooking, mix 2 tbsp ground flaxseed meal with 6 tbsp warm water and set aside until thickened. Drain and rinse garbanzo beans with cold water. In a large mixing bowl, add garbanzo beans and mash with potato masher until chickpeas are no longer whole and blended. Add all remaining ingredients and stir until well combined.
  3. Lightly spray a non-stick mini-muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon batter into each muffin cup filling almost to top. Press down firmly with back of spoon and fingers. Place in oven and bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown and crisp. Cool for five minutes. Run knife around edges and gently remove from pan.
  4. Place on a serving platter with some cashew sauce on top and garnish with chopped scallions or chives.
  5. These can be made a couple of hours ahead. Let stand at room temperature. Rewarm in 350°F oven 6 to 8 minutes.
If you do not have a mini-muffin pan, you can line a baking tray with parchment paper. Spoon mixture onto parchment paper and form them into 1½ inch cakes. Take your time with these and make sure they are firm. The batter will seem very moist, but I assure you they will cook just fine.
Adapted from Epicurious 
Happy healthy eating!
xoxo, Jen

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  1. The Lunch Lady says

    This looks great! I love quinoa and need some new ideas..
    Curious if this would taste okay cold. I'm looking for new recipes for lunch. I pack hubby's lunch everyday and we only eat carb and veggies at lunch. He can't always warm up food since he is on the road for meetings a lot.
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  2. Virtually Vegan Mama says

    Lunch lady,

    I haven't had them cold, but they might taste great that way. I will be making them again. so I will try some cold!

  3. Sue says

    These are amazing! We are trying lots of new recipes trying to find vegan food we can love and these are at the top of the list. Mind did not look as whole as yours and were a bit crumbly, any ideas to help me with that? Can’t wait to try the black bean burgers with apple next.

    • Jennifer says

      Hi Sue, glad you like this recipe…I haven’t made these in awhile and should try it again…you could always add more vegan mayo to the mix to give it more moisture…they’ve worked out well for me each time…you could also decrease the baking temp or time to make them less well done…that might do the trick! let me know if that works for you =)

      thanks for the comment…I appreciate it =)



  4. Nancy Susan Wacker says

    These look fantastic. I want to make these for a party. Do you know how far ahead of time they can be made and still hold up well? Can’t wait to try.

    • Jennifer says

      Hi Nancy,

      I think you could make these a day ahead and reheat in the oven @400 for 5 minutes or so =) hope that helps!!

  5. donna silva says

    Hi Veganmama,
    I was wondering what the flaxseed meal was for. Didn’t see it in recipe. Maybe I need to fix my glasses. The recipe sounds great, and it is something I know my family will love. Thanks for sharing it with the world.
    Donna Silva

    • Jennifer says

      Hi Donna :)

      The flaxseed meal is listed under the chickpea cake recipe and is used as a binder so they hold together better :) my family loves this recipe and I hope you do too :) please let me know how it works out for you thanks so much! :)



  6. Heather Turner says

    Hi, I am confused how much quinoa to use… Do I cook 1 cup according to package directions OR cook it, and then measure out 1c.? I’m am going to try this for dinner and don’t want the wrong amt. Thanks!

    • Jennifer says

      Hi Heather =) It’s 1 cup COOKED…so cook it according to package directions and then measure out 1 cup =)



  7. Brooke says

    I am planning a holiday party menu…do you think these could be made in advance and safely reheated? I would want to prepare them at least one day in advance.

    • Jennifer says

      sorry for the delay in responding Brooke, this was in my spam folder for some reason and I missed it =( These will be fine reheated, I do it all them time, they will get crunchier the longer you cook them, so maybe reduce cooking time by a few minutes if you are going to reheat, =)


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