Last updated January 2, 2015

Savory Salmon Quinoa Cheesecakes from Zestuous

Change up your summer appetizer tray with these Savory Salmon Quinoa Cheesecakes. The morsels of quinoa and flaked salmon are creamy on the inside and slightly crunchy on top with a bright hint of lemon and fresh asparagus.

I hosted another Zestuous challenge on my facebook page this week, asking Zesties to pick the course and ingredients for my next recipe. They suggested I make an appetizer using salmon, asparagus and quinoa.

While creating the recipe, I discovered something really cool. Next time you cook quinoa or rice, add a couple fish filets in the pot with the water and grains, and they’ll steam at the same time.

Savory Salmon Quinoa Cheesecakes from ZestuousIn addition to adding salmon to the pot, I added capers and two lemon halves for bright summer flavor. If you don’t have capers, just leave them out. Adapt the recipe to what you like or what you have on hand.

During my first attempt, I added the asparagus to the pot, too. I’m not a fan of overcooked, mushy asparagus, so I changed the final recipe and added the asparagus at the end, so it still had a bite to it.

Savory Salmon Quinoa Cheesecakes from ZestuousOnce the quinoa is cooked through, you could stop right there and serve this beautiful dish for lunch or dinner, but to take it to appetizer status, I turned the cooked quinoa and flaked salmon into a cheesecake.

Savory Salmon Quinoa Cheesecakes from ZestuousI simply created a cheesecake batter, omitting the vanilla and sugar, and combined that with the quinoa, veggies and salmon. Then, I baked scoopfuls in a mini-muffin pan. I experimented with cooking times. 20 minutes was perfect. The bite was still creamy and the quinoa had a slightly toasty, crunchy finish. If you cook it longer than 20 minutes, it becomes more crumbly, less than 20 and it’s a bit too soft.

I asked my husband to help judge the cooking times and next thing we knew, we had eaten about 20 of these appetizers. #SignofSuccess.

You can make these ahead of time and serve them cold, at room temerpature or reheat them in the oven or microwave and serve them warm.

Thanks for the inspiration Zesties !

Savory Salmon Quinoa Cheesecakes

Yield: 48 appetizers

Savory Salmon Quinoa Cheesecakes


  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • ¼ cup diced red onion
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tablespoon capers
  • ½ tsp. kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
  • 2 5-oz. salmon filets
  • 1 lemon
  • ½ cup chopped asparagus
  • 8 ozs. cream cheese
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese

In a medium saucepot, melt the butter over medium heat. Sauté the onions until tender.

Increase the heat to medium-high. Pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil.

Add in the quinoa, capers salt and red pepper flakes. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and lay into the pot. Cut the lemon in half. Squeeze the juice into the pot using a strainer. Remove any extra seeds from the lemons and place the halves in the pot. Return to a boil. (Note: this picture includes the asparagus in the pot. I recommend waiting to add the asparagus until after the quinoa is cooked.)

Reduce heat to medium. Cover with a lid and cook for about 30 minutes or until the quinoa has absorbed the liquid.

While the quinoa is cooking, in a medium bowl, whisk together the cream cheese, sour cream and egg. It’s okay if it’s lumpy.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

When the quinoa is ready, remove the pot from the stove. Discard the lemon halves and remove the salmon skin.

Add the asparagus. Using two forks, shred the salmon and fluff the quinoa. (You could stop right here and eat this for lunch or dinner.)

Fold in the cream cheese mixture. Place liners in a mini-muffin pan. Scoop the quinoa cheesecake into each liner.

Sprinkle each with Parmesan cheese and bake in a 375-degree oven for 20 minutes.

Serve warm, cold or at room temperature.