These Gluten Free Quinoa Fish Cakes can be made with salmon or tuna and are the perfect baby, toddler and kid-friendly recipe for baby led weaning (BLW).
If you follow my BLW baby meal planner for reducing allergens and introducing foods, you know that I am a big fan of fish cakes for babies. Not only are they easy to pick up, and they’re pretty safe as far as fish goes (because you can pick through it to remove any bones), but because you can sneak in lots of healthy ingredients. These gluten free quinoa tuna fish cakes are no exception. They are packed with nourishing ingredients like whole grain quinoa and oat flour, high protein and iron canned fish, riced veggies for fibre and flavour introduction, and some cheese to seal the deal. I mean, I don’t know about your kid, but mine will eat most things pretty quickly if there’s cheese involved.
what do i need to make these gluten free quinoa fish cakes?
This recipe comes together with a handful of pantry, freezer and fridge staples in my house. You will need:
- Canned light tuna or canned salmon
- Oat flour (OR oats processed into flour in a food processor)
- Old cheddar cheese (I suggest a nice flavourful one)
- Frozen riced veggies (I like sweet potato cauliflower for the sweetness but plain frozen riced cauliflower works too)
- Quick cooking oats
- Olive oil in an oil atomizer
- Salt and pepper
how do i make these kid-friendly tuna cakes?
These tuna fish cakes are super easy to pull off. I simply mix together the quick cooking oats with half of the finely grated cheese and set aside. Then I mix all of the other ingredients together in a bowl, including the remaining cheese and cooked quinoa (prepared according to the package). Make sure that you let the quinoa is cooled and dry so it’s not holding any excess moisture and also that all of the liquid is drained from the tuna so it’s not too wet. I also suggest putting the frozen veggies into the bowl straight from the freezer (don’t thaw or heat them). Don’t worry, they will thaw so quickly once you start to cook the quinoa cakes.
Then form them into small 2 tablespoon patties and coat in the oat cheese mixture. Spritz them generously with olive oil in an oil atomizer and bake them at 425 F, flipping and spritzing with olive oil half way through until golden brown.
Is canned tuna high in mercury and safe for babies?
When making these tuna cakes for babies (or pregnant women), I suggest using LIGHT or SKIPJACK tuna which is low in mercury. Albacore tuna has a moderate amount of mercury so it should be enjoyed in moderation. Here are some facts about tuna fish and mercury.
- Canned white, or albacore (0.32 parts per million of mercury). Children under six can eat up to one 3-ounce portion a month; children from 6-12, two 4.5-ounce portions a month. Adults, including pregnant women, can safely eat this kind of tuna up to three times a month (women, 6-ounce portions; men, 8-ounce portions).
- Canned light or skipjack, the safer choice (0.12 parts per million of mercury). Children under six can eat up to three 3-ounce portions per month. Older children and adults can safely eat it once a week. But look out for “gourmet” or “tonno” labels. They are made with bigger yellowfin tuna and can contain mercury levels comparable to canned white.
If you’re concerned about the mercury in canned tuna, you can also use canned salmon. I prefer CHUNK canned fish, and also one that is low in sodium and a sustainable fish brand (check out this list of sustainable canned fish here).
are these BLW friendly fish cakes high in iron?
Yes! Canned fish is a great source of iron plus omega 3 fats which are incredibly important for baby’s and toddler’s brain development. There’s also some iron in eggs, quinoa and oats, making these baked quinoa fish cakes ideal for young kids.
what dip do you recommend I serve with these quinoa tuna or salmon fish cakes?
I find that young kids enjoy everything more with dip, and so that’s why I created a whole post of some of my go-to toddler friendly baby led weaning safe dips! These are perfect for encouraging even picky eaters to try something new. If you don’t want to create a dip from scratch, a nice plain yogurt or sour cream with a little lemon zest and dill is great, or tartare sauce is also always a hit!
can these baked fish cakes be made in advance and frozen for batch meal prep?
I batch prep these fish cakes and then let them freeze for an hour on a lined baking sheet before transferring them over to a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Then, when I’m having a week that’s low on food, I simply pop a few in the fridge to thaw, then throw them in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm through. Cheesy and delicious!
do you have any other easy baby and toddler friendly healthy meal ideas?
Of course I’ve got lots of easy toddler and kid friendly meals. Check out my list here for some inspiration for your family:
Now loves, tell me – what are some of your kids favourite high iron meals? Do your kids and toddlers like fish? Have they tried these baked quinoa fish cakes?
Leave me a message below with your thoughts!
Gluten Free Quinoa Fish Cakes
- 1 cup quick cooking oats gluten free if needed
- 2 cups old cheddar cheese finely grated and divided
- 1 ½ cups cooked and cooled quinoa
- 1 x 5 oz can salmon or light/ skipack tuna preferably chunk, drained really well
- ¼ cup oat flour or oats processed into a flour, gluten free if desired
- 1 cup frozen riced veggies I like sweet potato cauliflower, kept frozen until time to use
- 4 large omega 3 eggs
- 2 shallots minced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- Zest of 1 lemon
- ¼ cup Dill minced
- 6 tbsp Parsley minced
- Olive oil in an oil atomizer
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425 F and grease a nonstick baking sheet. Allow the baking sheet to preheat for 5 minutes in the oven.
- Mix together the quick cooking oats with half of the finely grated cheese and set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix the cooked, cooled and dry quinoa (prepared according to the package), the frozen veggies, half the cheddar cheese, canned fish, oat flour, parsley, dill, eggs, shallots, garlic, lemon zest and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly.
- Form them into small 2 tablespoon patties and coat in the oat cheese mixture. Spritz them generously with olive oil in an oil atomizer and bake, flipping and spritzing with olive oil half way through until golden brown. 10 to 15 minutes.
- Serve with your favourite dip!
Updated on July 22nd, 2020
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.