Spinach and Cheddar Quinoa Cakes with Creamy Buffalo Dip

These spinach and cheddar quinoa cakes with creamy buffalo dip are packed full of healthy quinoa, barley and spinach. Dipped in a cream cheese buffalo sauce, they’re an addictive appetizer or side!

Last week, after 3 years without cable and thinking I got absolutely no channels on my tv, I found out that basic channels (2-13 and a bunch of Spanish channels) actually come through. I won’t get into how dumb I felt for not knowing that or how many nights I wished for a simple episode of Jeopardy to turn on in the background while making dinner so I could scream at the tv when I actually knew an answer (or more correctly, a question). So obviously, I watched hours and hours of news, bad daytime tv and most importantly, the new episode of Scandal last week to make up for the 3 year hiatus.

Spinach and Cheddar Quinoa Barley Cakes with Creamy Buffalo Dip

Also, I got to watch the Oscars last night.

Quinoa cakes with spinach and cheddar cheese

Normally, I avoid these celebrity gaga fests like the plague. If there’s anything more obnoxious to me than a bunch of celebs strolling down a red carpet while annoying announcers tell them how great they look and gossip over which designer (who 99.9% the population watching will never be able to afford to wear) did their dress, suit or borrowed jewelery, I honestly can’t think of it. But, 3 years without tv will make you do crazy things and subject yourself to that exact kind of torture.

And so here’s my one observation…

When did getting pregnant before getting married in celebrity world become like the “thing” to do? Seriously, there are way more than just the handful of “exceptions” these days. And yes, I realize how old this makes me sound but it’s not that I disapprove or anything (I really couldn’t care less about the reproductive habits of famous people) I just don’t get it. It’s like, “oh, I can totally make my mind up that I want a kid, but marriage? Ehh, I don’t know…” Um, newsflash people, marriage is reversible, kids aren’t. How is the kid decision an easier one to make than the marriage one?? It takes way less commitment to get married than to have a kid. 18 years from now, your marriage could just be a distant memory and an alimony check but that kid will be making a mess of your house and asking for a quarter million bucks to go to college.

Quinoa and barley cakes with a creamy buffalo dip

But I’ll stop bitching about pregnant celebrities and talk about these quinoa cakes. No tough decisions to make with these, they’re packed with quinoa, barley, spinach and cheddar, insanely good, only get better with a creamy buffalo dip and way less of a commitment than kids.

Spinach and Cheddar Quinoa Cakes with Creamy Buffalo Dip

Spinach and Cheddar Quinoa Cakes with Creamy Buffalo Dip

Yield: 4 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

These spinach and cheddar quinoa cakes with creamy buffalo dip are packed full of quinoa, barley and spinach and served with a cream cheese buffalo dip.


  • 1/4 cup quinoa (I used red, but any color will do)
  • 1/4 cup barley
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large shallot, minced
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
  • salt & pepper
  • oil for pan frying (extra virgin, coconut or bacon fat will do)

For the Creamy Buffalo Dip

  • 3 ounces room temperature cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 11/2-2 tablespoons buffalo sauce


  1. Combine the quinoa and barley in a small sauce pan. Add 1 cup of water, bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce to a low simmer, cover and let cook for about 20 minutes until water is fully absorbed. Transfer quinoa and barley to a large bowl.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
  3. Add the shallots, cook 1 minute then add the garlic, cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant. Add the spinach and cook for about 1-2 minutes until wilted. Add the mixture to the large bowl with the quinoa and barley.
  4. Beat the eggs and milk together in a small bowl then add to the large bowl.
  5. Add the breadcrumbs, cheddar and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Stir everything together until well incorporated.
  7. Using the same skillet, add about 1 tablespoon of cooking oil of choice and heat over medium-high.
  8. Shape the mixture into patties and cook for about 3 minutes on each side until golden brown. Transfer to a paper towel lined rack to drain. Add oil to the pan as necessary while cooking the patties.
  9. Serve warm with the dipping sauce.

For the Creamy Buffalo Dip

  1. Combine the cream cheese and yogurt in a small bowl and stir until mixed together and smooth.
  2. Add the buffalo sauce and stir until incorporated.


Please leave a comment & rating below or share a photo on Instagram and tag @runningtothekitchen


filed in: Side Dishes
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  1. Taylor @ Food Faith Fitness

    I definitely won’t be hopping on the “preggo bandwagon” anytime soon. Definitely not ready for that. I also don’t watch the oscars for the same reason.
    However, I can DEFINITELY get into these. Cheddar and buffalo? Everyday. All day. Pinned!

  2. Tina Muir

    YUM!!! Those look fantastic, I love quinoa cakes! They are perfectly kept together too! Yummmmm! I would like some of these to be waiting for me at the other end of my 19 mile run I have today….if they are maybe I can run it in under 7:00 pace average to get there faster :P

  3. Regan @ Cabot Creamery

    As a mom — who struggles OFTEN — to feel “mom like” in that special, caring, patient way… I couldn’t agree more. Marriage is reversible. Kids are not. And they are way, way more of a life commitment than you can really ever realize before you have them. Thinking kids is an easy decision but marriage isn’t, doesn’t compute.

    Quinoa cakes compute :)

    1. Running to the Kitchen Post author

      So glad someone agrees with this! Especially someone who is a mom! I know if I had kids, I’d feel the same way about the “special, caring, patient” side of things. It’s just not me. haha

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  5. Sarah

    Yum! These were awesome! I love the buffalo dip too! Mine didn’t hold together as nicely as yours, but at least looks don’t run the taste!

  6. Heather

    I made these last night and they are awesome!!! Just finished them for lunch – I had it with a really thin bun with hummus and greens. So tasty. And they held together great (I wasn’t sure when I mixed it up, but they did).

  7. Laylonnie

    These are so good! We love them! We even love without the sauce -! Thanks! Just wondering if you happen to know around how much calories per cake. Im just watching my intake and calories.

  8. Tara

    Just put these on the menu for next week – can’t wait to try them! I adore the idea of light and creamy buffalo sauce on top! And from someone who is dealing with infertility, the confusion about the whole celebrity baby-is-my-accessory thing is more enraging than anything else. I couldn’t agree with you more.

  9. darkhorse

    Wow…these look amazing! Any suggestions for a gluten free option? I know I can find GF breadcrumbs…but what about for the barley???


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  11. Melanie

    Just made these – absolutely delicious! I didn’t have quinoa, instead I used bulgar which worked great. I also ended up using about 4 cups spinach and 1/2 bread crumbs. So GOOD.

  12. Melissa

    Thanks so much for the recipe! I’ve made this a couple of times now. I’m so glad I’ve found a vegetarian dish my husband and toddler will both eat (happily). I love the buffalo dip. I will add that last night when I made it, I used frozen chopped spinach successfully, though the first batch was a bit wet and stuck a little to the pan. I think I should’ve squeezed out more water. It did save me a little time since the spinach was pre-chopped. I also used sweet onion because I had it on hand. Thanks for a great recipe. It’s in our regular rotation.

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  14. kelly

    I made these the other night, my changes

    1/4 cheddar & 1/4 mozz
    sub barley for Bulgar like Marley did.
    used frozen spinach but defrosted and squeezed out as much water as I could.

    It was delicious! I ended up using a 1/4 c. to portion them out and froze them for the nights I get too busy to cook from scratch.

    Thank you.

  15. Jeannette

    Yeah !!! now I’ll have tasty AND gluten free (if I stick to just quinoa) apps for the football party/ OR cocktail party

  16. Nancy Cox Marafioti

    Used all barley. No quinoa in the house.
    Frozen spinach instead of fresh.
    Out of garlic.
    Came out fabulously.
    Thank you!


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