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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 rightβ€”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.

Pesto Quinoa & White Bean Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes Recipe

Bean, Pesto, and Quinoa Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes

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
Servings: 4 servings


  • 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


  • Preheat oven to 350Β°F. Spray two rimmed baking sheets with oil or line with parchment paper.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Serve tomatoes over cakes and sprinkle with basil.


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


Serving: 3cakes + tomatoes
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  • Reply
    May 7, 2013 at 9:11 am

    hi- can you tell me the best way to make this without the egg? thanks!

    • Reply
      May 7, 2013 at 9:48 am

      I actually tried making this eggless, but the cakes didn’t stay together very well.

    • Reply
      May 8, 2013 at 3:14 am

      You could try pulsing a small portion of the mixture in a food processor (maybe 1/2 cup) until its almost a paste, and then adding it back in with the rest. This might make it sticky enough to hold together without egg.

      • Reply
        May 8, 2013 at 7:43 pm

        Thanks for the suggestion! πŸ™‚

    • Reply
      June 12, 2013 at 5:33 pm

      you could probably use flax eggs: 1 flax egg (1 T flaxseed meal + 2.5 T water) let sit for 3-5 minutes before using

    • Reply
      September 24, 2014 at 8:33 am

      Egg substitute: 1 Large egg = 1 Tbsp ground flax seeds and 3 Tbsp water

  • Reply
    May 7, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    I made last night. Spur of the moment after getting your email. The cakes looked horrible BUT were delicious. They didn’t stick together very well!!! I will work on that! More panko? Then a girlfriend came over, so I made a “proper” dinner out of this by running back to the store and getting regular potatoes and cauliflower and lemon. So we had these awesome cakes with the tomatoes, mashed potatoes and roasted cauliflower. I followed your roasted cauliflower and kalamata olive recipe sans the olives. Total success! Thanks.

    • Reply
      May 8, 2013 at 8:04 pm

      Well, I’m glad they tasted good! Sometimes these cakes need a little extra shaping and pressing and patting because they’re not inclined to stick together. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    May 7, 2013 at 7:24 pm

    Mmm… this sounds delicious! I just have one clarification question: is the 1/4c of quinoa a quarter cup of COOKED quinoa or a a quarter cup of UNCOOKED quinoa, cooked? Lol, I know it sounds funny, just want to make sure I’m doing this yummy looking recipe justice!

    BTW, I’ve never commented before, so I just want to say now that I absolutely love your site. I’m not a vegetarian (more of a “flexitarian”) but I try to eat more vegetarian meals as often as possible, and your site, recipes and pictures are amazing inspiration! Thank you!

    • Reply
      May 8, 2013 at 7:58 pm

      Sorry, sometimes I feel like no matter how I write those kinds of ingredients, it’s still a little ambiguous! It’s 1/4 cup of uncooked quinoa that you then cook. πŸ™‚

      And thank you so much for your comment! πŸ˜€

  • Reply
    The Wimpy Vegetarian
    May 7, 2013 at 8:17 pm

    This looks fantastic. Pinned it to make this week !!

  • Reply
    Honey What's Cooking
    May 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm

    this looks so good.. I once made quinoa patties with parm cheese and breadcrumbs, pesto is like a whole new world of flavor.

  • Reply
    May 10, 2013 at 2:43 am

    I plan on veganizing this recipe. I will post if it is a success. Thanks for the recipe.

    • Reply
      May 13, 2013 at 9:54 am

      Let me know how it works out!

  • Reply
    May 10, 2013 at 11:24 am

    These sounds like such a good summer meal, especially as a vegetarian option that non-vegetarians would love too! I don’t think I’ve ever seen a vegetarian patty recipe that includes pesto, but I’m sure it would make them even more flavourful. I wish I had your problem of having too much homemade pesto to use up!

    • Reply
      May 13, 2013 at 9:47 am

      I should send you some of mine! πŸ˜€

  • Reply
    May 10, 2013 at 1:35 pm

    Kiersten, this looks absolutely delicious!!! All the things I love and they are in this little cake. Can’t wait to try it.

  • Reply
    Kelly @ Texas Type A Mom
    May 12, 2013 at 11:46 pm

    I’m in need of some appetizer style recipes – this definitely looks filling and out of the norm for what other people will bring.

  • Reply
    August 3, 2013 at 5:55 pm

    This look so delicious, however I am not seeing a full recipe. Is there a link that is not working? I can throw all these ingredients together and see what I can come up with but help! I don’t want to ruin dinner.

    • Reply
      August 3, 2013 at 9:42 pm

      I’m sorry for the annoyance–I had a major technical issue today and my recipes were down for about an hour. And you just happened to be on my site during that time! πŸ™‚ It should be up now. If it’s not, let me know!

  • Reply
    July 11, 2014 at 5:39 pm

    This recipe is awesome! I used marinara sauce instead of roasted tomatoes and it turned out really well.

    • Reply
      Kiersten Frase
      July 14, 2014 at 4:35 pm

      Thanks for your comment – I’m glad you enjoyed it!

  • Reply
    January 16, 2016 at 4:11 am

    Ok I don’t know what I have done wrong or maybe it’s just my oven, but the cakes are really soft and not cooking, when I try to flip them they’re just like mush and just get completely wrecked :/

  • Reply
    April 8, 2016 at 1:26 pm

    Made these yesterday and eating some for lunch. Very tasty! I had a batch of cooked Marcella beans from Rancho Gordo that I used instead of the canned beans.

    I simmered a can of fire roasted tomatoes with a splash of balsamic for the topping instead of roasting.

    Also I used a 1/4 cup measuring cup to mold and shape the patties.

    Freezing some for later. It’s a keeper – thanks!

    • Reply
      April 12, 2016 at 9:13 am

      I love Rancho Gordo beans! I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe. I’ve been meaning to make this one again too. πŸ™‚

  • Reply
    July 11, 2016 at 10:41 pm

    I tried these tonight and I actually cooked the quinoa first (didn’t read the comments) and my SO commented that these seem like a really good substitute for chicken, and I think he’s right! We wound up slathering them in yogurt dill dressing and we’re going to try “buffalo chicken” with it next.

  • Reply
    December 12, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Can you freeze these if so, how do you cook them when taking them out of the freezer, do you thaw them first or just pop them in the oven frozen.
    Thank you

    • Reply
      Katie Trant
      December 14, 2017 at 4:08 am

      Hey Theresa, I haven’t tried freezing these but I don’t see why not. I’d pop them in the oven still frozen and add a little extra baking time. Let us know how it turns out if you do try this!

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