Cauliflower-Quinoa Cakes with Creamy Mushrooms, Spinach, & Caramelized Onions


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Elegantly styled food is kind of a secret passion of mine, which is why I couldn’t wait to plate this meal. The whole time I was cooking, I knew exactly how I wanted to style it for presentation. Ooh, sounds so fancy, huh?! What can I say, I’m just really drawn to elegant food. Steve, on the other hand, loves a full plate of messy goodness—so anytime I present him with a pretty plate of food, he jokingly says I feel hungrier already. Haha!

Cauliflower-Quinoa Cakes with Creamy Mushrooms, Spinach, & Caramelized Onions | Love.Bake.Read

While this may not look like a lot of food, it’s actually quite satisfying. It starts with a hearty mixture of mushrooms, spinach, and caramelized onions made creamy with a splash of unsweetened almond milk and a handful of parmesan cheese. We were blown away by how incredibly delicious this side dish was. The richly flavored caramelized onions really shine through, as do the meaty mushrooms. The wilted spinach is the feel-good food in this dish, since dark leafy greens are so good for you. But, what really set this side dish on fire was the almond milk and parmesan…such creamy perfection!

Next up is a completely unique quinoa cake made with cauliflower and a few other ingredients, including garlic and ground oats. The cakes also pack a hint of heat from red pepper flakes and a nice zesty kick from some lime juice. See what I mean when I say these are unique? Heck of a flavor combination. The quinoa cakes are actually really easy to make and they are as sturdy as can be, meaning they hold together really well thanks to the chia egg (just chia seeds soaked in water).

Cauliflower-Quinoa Cakes with Creamy Mushrooms, Spinach, & Caramelized Onions | Love.Bake.Read

Now onto the dollop of cashew sour cream on top of the quinoa cake. I learned how to make cashew cream from The Oh She Glows Cookbook and have made it numerous times since then simply because it’s soooo good. It paired beautifully with this entire meal, so don’t skip it! As a finishing touch, I added some green onions, but avocado slices are equally as good, so choose whichever sounds better to you. 

At first glance, this meal might look kind of fussy, but it all comes together quite effortlessly. I used a food processor to finely chop the cauliflower and garlic as well as to process the oats into oat flour. Once all that is done, you add in the remaining ingredients, form the mixture into patties, and pop them into the oven to bake. While the quinoa cakes bake, you make the side dish and cashew sour cream, and you’re good to go. Easy enough, if I do say so myself!

Cauliflower-Quinoa Cakes with Creamy Mushrooms, Spinach, & Caramelized Onions | Love.Bake.Read

You can elegantly style this meal as I did, or you can pop it all onto a soft bun if you so wish…like Steve did, of course. 

Cauliflower-Quinoa Cakes with Creamy Mushrooms, Spinach, & Caramelized Onions

Yields about 7 servings (14 cakes + 4 cups creamy mushroom mixture)

Ingredients

For the cauliflower-quinoa cakes

  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 6 tbsp. water
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 clove garlic—peeled
  • 1 medium cauliflower—cut into florets
  • ¼ cup lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil
  • ¼ – ½ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 1¼ tsp. salt

For the creamy mushrooms, spinach, & caramelized onions

  • 2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil—divided use
  • 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
  • 2 onions—thinly sliced
  • 2 (8 oz.) containers of white mushrooms—sliced
  • 4 cups fresh spinach
  • Splash of vegetable stock or water
  • 2 tbsp. unsweetened original almond milk
  • ¼ cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

For the cashew sour cream

  • 1 cup cashews—soaked for 3-4 hours, then drained & rinsed
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp. of salt
  • ½ cup water
  • Optional toppings: sliced green onions or avocado slices

Directions

For the cauliflower-quinoa cakes

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large baking sheet (or 2) with foil and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside until ready to use.

Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Note: I cooked 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of water for 20 minutes.

Add the chia seeds and water to a small bowl. Stir and set aside for 10 minutes.

To the bowl of a food processor, add the oats and process into a fine flour. Pour the oat flour into a large bowl. Add the garlic to the food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the cauliflower florets and process until finely chopped (you’ll probably need to process the florets in two batches). Transfer to the bowl with the oat flour. To the same bowl, add the cooked quinoa, chia seeds, lime juice, EVOO, sesame oil, red pepper flakes, and salt. Mix until well combined. 

Using a ½ cup measuring cup, scoop out some of the mixture and use your hands to shape the mixture into a patty. Place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until you’ve used all the mixture. You should have 14 cakes.

Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Carefully flip each cake and bake for 20 additional minutes, or until golden and crispy.

For the creamy mushrooms, spinach, & caramelized onions

Heat 1 tbsp. EVOO and the butter in a large skillet set over medium heat. Add the sliced onions and stir to coat. Cover and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring once or twice. As soon as the onions begin to brown, turn the heat to medium-low. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 20-30 more minutes, or until the onions are deeply golden, but not burnt. Tip: Every time you lift the lid to stir the onions, let the water from the lid drip back into the pain to help keep the onions moist. Transfer the onions to a bowl. 

Add the remaining 1 tbsp. EVOO and mushrooms to the same skillet and sprinkle with salt. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes. The mushrooms will release some liquid during this time. Cook for a few more minutes, until the liquid cooks off.

Add the spinach along with a splash of vegetable stock or water. Cover and cook until the spinach is wilted, stirring occasionally. 

Return the onions to the skillet. Add the milk and parmesan cheese and stir to combine. Cook for 2-3 minutes, or until thickened. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

For the cashew sour cream 

To a blender, or single-serve blender cup, add the soaked cashews, lemon juice, apple cider vinegar, salt, and water, and blend until completely smooth.

To assemble

Add about a ½ cup of the mushroom mixture to the center of a plate. Top the mixture with 1-2 quinoa cakes. Dollop the cakes with a generous spoonful of cashew sour cream. Garnish with sliced green onions or avocado slices.

Note

Leftover quinoa cakes can be stored in the freezer for later use. 

Sources

  1. Cauliflower-Quinoa Cakes slightly adapted from Blissful Basil
  2. Mushroom Mixture adapted from Julia’s Album
  3. Cashew Sour Cream from The Oh She Glows Cookbook
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