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Bean, Pesto, and Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes

Pesto Quinoa & White Bean Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes Recipe

Pesto Quinoa & White Bean Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes
I got the idea for this Bean, Pesto, and Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes recipe in a roundabout way. Now that I have basil growing in the garden again, I’m on a quest to use up my frozen pesto because I’ll be able to make it fresh whenever I want to. If making a big batch of pesto and freezing it for fall and winter marks the end of summer for me, then frantically trying to use up that pesto is a sure sign of spring. It happens every year, like clockwork.

It’s a good thing this recipe took a few tries to get right—I think I used half of my pesto supply perfecting it. The first time I made it, I only used cannelini beans. It was not good. I’ve realized that I only like cannelini beans as a component of a dish, not as the main ingredient. White bean cakes with just white beans, pesto, panko, and egg were definitely meh. So then I used half the beans and more ingredients each subsequent trial. Cheese! Why not? A zucchini? Of course! And then quinoa. Sometimes less is more, but sometimes more is more. And this is a more is more recipe. But even with more, it’s still not a lot.

Pesto Quinoa & White Bean Cakes
If you make this, don’t skip the roasted tomatoes on top. I say this because I am always the person who skips making the sauce or topping when I’m making recipes like this. So don’t skip the tomatoes! It would be like making a peanut butter and jelly sandwich without peanut butter. Trust me, I made this recipe enough times to know. But all that effort was worth it, because the end result is delicious.


Bean, Pesto, and Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes

Pesto Quinoa & White Bean Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes Recipe

Delicious little cakes made with white beans, quinoa, zucchini, and pesto and topped with oven-roasted tomatoes.

  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 50 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x


  • 1 (15 oz) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed (or 1 1/2 cups dried cannellini beans, cooked)
  • 1/4 cup quinoa, cooked according to package
  • 1 small zucchini, julienned
  • 1/4 cup prepared pesto
  • 1/4 cup panko
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 4 roma tomatoes, diced
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves, coarsely chopped
  • olive oil mister or cooking spray


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with oil or line with parchment paper.
  2. Combine beans, quinoa, zucchini, and pesto in a medium bowl. Use wooden spoon to smash beans a little bit. Fold in panko, cheese, and egg. Form mixture into 12 patties and place each one on first baking sheet.
  3. Transfer tomatoes to second baking sheet. Spray with oil and season with salt and pepper. Place both baking sheets in oven and bake for 25–30 minutes, or until bean cakes are golden brown and tomatoes are just beginning to brown. Halfway through cooking time, stir tomatoes and flip over bean cakes.
  4. Serve tomatoes over cakes and sprinkle with basil.


I use Simply Recipes’ Fresh Basil Pesto recipe, but any basil pesto will do.


  • Serving Size: 3 cakes + tomatoes

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  • Reply
    Averie @ Averie Cooks
    May 6, 2013 at 7:33 am

    you NAILED those white bean cakes! bean anything like that can be tricky to get to stick together and be the right texture and consistency and they look perfect!

  • Reply
    Marta @ What should I eat for breakfast today
    May 6, 2013 at 8:01 am

    I definitely agree that sometimes more is more. I love your recipe, I’ll make it for sure for one of my breakfasts and I won’t skit tomatoes on top 🙂

  • Reply
    Liz @ A Nut in a Nutshell
    May 6, 2013 at 9:23 am

    I am so making these and I wouldn’t dream of skipping the tomatoes!

  • Reply
    Cassie | Bake Your Day
    May 6, 2013 at 10:18 am

    I love quinoa cakes…definitely adding white beans next time. These look so wonderful!

  • Reply
    Alexis @ Hummusapien
    May 6, 2013 at 10:28 am

    Mmmmm this almsot looks like a fresh, healthy spin on pizza all wrapped up in a burger! Roasted tomatoes, mozzarella cheese AND pesto–what’s not to love? Can’t wait to try these!

  • Reply
    dixya| Food, Pleasure, and Health
    May 6, 2013 at 10:51 am

    yummilcious – these bean cakes are making me hungry

  • Reply
    Kiran @
    May 6, 2013 at 11:11 am

    I could never skip tomatoes on this delicious cakes! YUM 😀

  • Reply
    Kare @ Kitchen Treaty
    May 6, 2013 at 11:26 am

    I’m so glad you kept at it because these look phenomenal!

    I’m so jealous you already have basil in your garden. We have to wait for at least another month here. The weather is ideal for it right now (it’s unseasonably warm) but in a week it’ll be back down to 45 and bye bye basil.

    • Reply
      May 7, 2013 at 10:08 am

      They start selling transplants in early April here. It’s insane. I’m still getting used to the seasons here!

  • Reply
    [email protected]
    May 6, 2013 at 11:59 am

    As soon as I saw this title, I said ‘yes!’ to myself. Quinoa, white beans, pesto, roasted tomatoes…it sounds perfect and like something I would love. Miraculously, I have every ingredient in the house right now, yay!

    Also have basil growing, and hoping the plants thrive like they did last year! Good luck with yours 🙂

    • Reply
      May 7, 2013 at 10:06 am

      I just went out to get basil for another recipe yesterday and something is eating my Genovese basil! I hope it rebounds, but there’s not much left. :/

      • Reply
        [email protected]
        May 7, 2013 at 10:28 am

        Oh no, that’s awful :\ We just spotted some rabbits for the first time in awhile in our garden- luckily my husband put the basil in a pallet garden, so they can’t reach it. He’s hoping some hawks get to the (adorable) rabbits :\

        I’ve never tried this, but I read that spreading coffee grinds around the garden might help as a deterrent; also rabbits and deer don’t like strong scents of things like soap- literally chunks of soap at various points in the garden apparently keep them away!

        • Reply
          May 7, 2013 at 10:34 am

          Thanks for the tips! I never see animals around here (not even squirrels!) and I’m guessing it’s because of all the construction in our neighborhood. But we’re a few houses away from the woods, so I KNOW they’re lurking. 🙂 They must come out at night!

  • Reply
    Laura (Tutti Dolci)
    May 6, 2013 at 12:07 pm

    Your cakes look so good, love the roasted tomato topping!

  • Reply
    [email protected]'s Recipes
    May 6, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    These pesto cakes look so tempting, Kiersten.

  • Reply
    Twingle Mommy
    May 6, 2013 at 1:46 pm

    These look so fresh and yummy. I will try them soon.

  • Reply
    Joy //For the Love of Leaves
    May 6, 2013 at 1:52 pm

    These look delicious! I love roasted tomatoes!

  • Reply
    Alissa N
    May 6, 2013 at 3:40 pm

    I tried making veggie burgers with cannelini beans a while back, and it was a total fail. I still haven’t really perfected the recipe, but looks like you got it perfect here.. yum!! I love that you say not to skip the tomatoes too, I totally would have 🙂 Loving the flavor combos here, I can’t wait to try it!

    • Reply
      May 7, 2013 at 10:02 am

      Veggie burgers are so tough! I am working on a recipe now that just isn’t coming together. Sigh.

  • Reply
    Rachel @ Bakerita
    May 6, 2013 at 4:14 pm

    I’m totally drooling over here…this sounds so so amazing!! The addition of roasted tomatoes sounds phenomenal. I love roasted tomatoes with pesto! Pinned (:

  • Reply
    Maria Tadic
    May 6, 2013 at 5:24 pm

    These look yummy. I love pesto and love having it stockpiled in my freezer! Adding to burgers and whatnot just adds such a big fat hit of basil-ly freshness. Love it! Can’t wait to try this.

  • Reply
    Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily
    May 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    Just when I think I’ve seen every imaginable veggie burger out there one like this pops up. I literally can not wait to make this one. Oh, don’t get me wrong, I love veggie burger recipes but am just a bit bored with the usual 😉

    • Reply
      May 7, 2013 at 10:00 am

      Yeah, I eat veggie burgers a lot so I definitely know what you mean! 🙂

  • Reply
    Sommer @ ASpicyPerspective
    May 6, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    Love bean cakes! Yours look delicious!

  • Reply
    Miss @ Miss in the Kitchen
    May 6, 2013 at 9:54 pm

    I have kept my basil plants alive in my kitchen window all winter and this is the perfect excuse to make another batch of pesto!

    • Reply
      May 7, 2013 at 9:59 am

      Maybe I should try that next winter! I hate having to buy basil in the colder months.

  • Reply
    May 6, 2013 at 10:10 pm

    I hate tomatoes! Anything else I could sub?

    • Reply
      May 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

      If you like tomato sauce, that works. If not, an aioli would be good, or even some sauteed veggies. 🙂

    • Reply
      May 7, 2013 at 9:57 am

      I mean like marinara tomato sauce. Not tomato sauce out of the can. Just to clarify!

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ henry happened
    May 6, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    You know my weakness for pesto! I just bought some today – to go with white beans ironically – because it’s the perfect food for babies who will only eat with their fingers nowadays. If I had any darn quinoa I would be making this tomorrow!

    • Reply
      May 7, 2013 at 9:56 am

      Sam eats pesto and white beans?! Fancy! 😀

  • Reply
    Natalie @ Once Upon a Cutting Board
    May 6, 2013 at 10:59 pm

    Cheese always makes everything better but I love that you also squeezed a bunch more healthy ingredients into these like the quinoa and zucchini… Looks like all the hard work paid off! These look like they would be great as a burger or in a pita too!

    • Reply
      May 7, 2013 at 9:55 am

      You could definitely make these into burgers! 🙂

  • Reply
    Lisa @ Greek Vegetarian
    May 7, 2013 at 4:03 am

    Oh wow, thanks for doing all the hard work for us, perfecting the recipe for those quinoa cakes! I’ll be making these for sure, and when I do, I promise to make the roasted tomatoes!

  • Reply
    Daniela @ FoodrecipesHQ
    May 7, 2013 at 5:11 am

    I am absolutely in love with these cakes! I have recently made Quinoa patties myself and haven’t use eggs as a binder so I had to incorporate some flour in them. I’ll try with eggs next time!

    • Reply
      May 7, 2013 at 9:53 am

      I couldn’t get these to stay together without egg. I think there’s just too much stuff in them!

  • Reply
    May 7, 2013 at 7:12 am

    This pretty much combines all my favourites (pesto! white beans! roasted tomatoes!) in one dish. Perfect summer eating.

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