Pesto Quinoa & White Bean Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes

Pesto Quinoa & White Bean Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes Recipe

Pesto Quinoa & White Bean Cakes with Roasted Tomatoes
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.


Pesto Quinoa & White Bean 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


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


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 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. 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

Like what you see? Share it!


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.

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

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.

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. 🙂

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!

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. 🙂

And thank you so much for your comment! 😀

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!

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

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.

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! 🙂 It should be up now. If it’s not, let me know!

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 :/

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!

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.

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

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!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *