Savory Pumpkin Quinoa Cakes

Discover the surprising health benefits of pumpkin and enjoy a delicious Fall recipe for this savory gluten-free and vegetarian dish.

While pumpkins decorate our tables and jack-o-lanterns line our doorsteps, the pumpkin is often overlooked as a fantastic, inexpensive source of valuable nutrients. We may bake this it into pies, breads and desserts, but this humble squash offers a host of healthy benefits and is well-suited for savory dishes, like this delicious vegetarian pumpkin quinoa cake.

Halloween happens to be one of my favorite holidays – the time of year, the excuse to dress-up, get crafty and creative and yes, the pumpkin!

I’ve never been much of a pumpkin pie fan (unless it’s my pumpkin chocolate pie) but pumpkin seeds, bread and bars – that’s another story. These tasty little cakes make a perfect appetizer or vegetarian entrée.

There are wonderful benefits to eating seasonal, local foods. The pumpkin is no exception. Filled with vitamins A, C and E, pumpkins are high in fiber and low in calories. The pumpkin’s brilliant orange flesh is the result of its rich concentration of carotenoids. These phytonutrients have been linked to eye health, cancer prevention, heart health and more.

With all of the healthy reasons to be eating pumpkins this season, let’s get cooking! I recently prepared this recipe during my cooking demos at The Healthy Living Festival, Del Mar and my class at Whole Foods Market. It’s become one of my go-to favorites.

And why wouldn’t it be? This is truly a Hip, Simple, Fabulous™ recipe as it’s packed with flavor, uses protein-rich quinoa and cooks up in minutes. Whether you’re searching for a quick and fun Fall meal, creative sides for Thanksgiving or a flavorful vegetarian dish to wow your gathering friends – Savory Pumpkin Cakes are a fast favorite.

I'm enjoying a glimpse of Fall weather in NYC this week - leaves turning, squirrels gathering and a crisp tang in the air! How do you know when Fall has begun in your neighborhood?

May your Fall season be filled with blessings and many reasons to celebrate,


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Makes 18-22 3” cakes


  • 2 cups cooked quinoa (cook in high quality vegetable broth)

  • 1 cup roasted, seasoned pumpkin, pureed (fresh or canned)

  • 2 eggs, beaten

  • ¼ cup onion, minced

  • ¼ cup carrot, minced

  • ¼ cup celery, minced

  • 1-2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon + ½ tablespoon olive oil (or sub unflavored coconut oil)

  • 1 teaspoon fresh sage, finely chopped (or sub dry rubbed)

  • ½ teaspoon rosemary (fresh or dry)

  • ½ teaspoon thyme (fresh or dry)

  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • Sea salt and pepper to taste


  1. In the medium mixing bowl, combine quinoa, pumpkin and eggs. Thoroughly mix.

  2. Toss ½ tablespoon oil, onion, carrots, celery and spices into pan over low heat. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and allow vegetables to sweat 2-3 minutes.

  3. Remove lid and increase heat to medium. Cook until onions are lightly browned.

  4. Remove vegetables and spices from heat and slowly stir into quinoa mixture until well mixed.

  5. Lightly oil a pan over medium high heat.

  6. Place rounded tablespoons of mixture onto pan and allow to cook 3-5 minutes per side or until lightly browned and firm and cooked through the center.

  7. Serve warm over greens or with a sprinkle of pumpkin seeds.


© Copyright Clea Shannon 2009-2012

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