Quinoa Cakes with Smoked Trout and Lime Mayonnaise

Makes 8 cakes, to serve 4


1/cups water
3/cup quinoa, well rinsed and drained


1/cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/teaspoon minced serrano chile (remove veins and seeds for less heat)


1/pound smoked trout, skinned and torn into 1/2-inch pieces (about 11/cups)
1/cup finely chopped green onions (about 3)
1/cup finely chopped cilantro leaves
6 tablespoons plain dry whole wheat or regular bread crumbs
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 to 2 teaspoons minced serrano chile (remove veins and seeds for less heat)
1 teaspoon finely grated lime zest
1/teaspoon ancho chile powder
1/teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

To prepare the quinoa, bring the water and the quinoa to a boil in a 2-quart saucepan. Decrease the heat to maintain a simmer, cover, and cook until the water is absorbed, 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let sit, covered, for 5 to 10 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large bowl and spread to cool for about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the mayonnaise. In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise, lime juice and zest, and the serrano chile. Chill, covered, until ready to serve.

To make the cakes, add all the ingredients except the olive oil to the bowl with the quinoa. Using your hands, thoroughly combine, and squeeze the mixture to bring it together.

Level the mixture inside the bowl and divide into 8 equal portions using a butter knife (cut in half like a cake, and then each half into quarters). Moisten your hands with water and form cakes about 3 inches in diameter, pressing firmly to ensure they hold together. Place the cakes on a small baking sheet or large plate. If you have time, chill, covered with plastic wrap, for 30 minutes.

To finish, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat until it shimmers. Cook 4 cakes at a time until golden brown, carefully turning once with a metal spatula, about 4 minutes on each side. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and repeat with the second batch. Serve warm or at room temperature, together with the mayonnaise.

TO GET A HEADSTART: Make the quinoa, as in step 1, ahead (see page 23).

TO LIGHTEN IT UP: Use lowfat mayonnaise or lowfat Greek yogurt instead of regular mayonnaise to make the lime mayonnaise. Bake the burgers instead of pan-frying them (see page 133).

This recipe is reprinted with permission from Maria Speck, author of Ancient Grains for Modern Meals.