Air Fryer Cod Fish Cakes

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A new, healthy, and delicious recipe to try on fish-fry Friday!

Make up a batch of these cod fish cakes whenever your fried food cravings strike!

Making your own cod fish cakes might sound intimidating, but they require just a few pre-cooked components. Our recipe uses quinoa and cauliflower to provide structure while the nutritional yeast, green onions, and lemon amp up the flavors. We went with the air fryer as our preferred method for crisping up the cakes because of its overall ease of performance. However, these babies bake or fry exceptionally well, so go ahead and make this healthy fish cake any way you can!

Fish Cakes Feature Cod As The Star

Simple ingredients combine to create a seriously delicious appetizer or main course.

Cod is a favorite for a multitude of reasons. In addition to its flaky texture and mild flavor, we appreciate cod’s healthy aspects. First of all, cod ranks lower in mercury than other fish. Whereas swordfish, tuna, halibut, and bass have higher levels due to longer lifespans, cod ranks relatively low. Next up, fish in general are heart-friendly and good for the waistline and brain. Finally, cod isn’t currently on the overfished list, and it’s making a comeback in terms of sustainability. If this is a true concern, Pacific cod is a better choice than Atlantic cod. 

Choosing wild fish over farm-raised fish may cost more money, but it’s a better health choice. Fish in the wild are privy to all sorts of naturally occurring nutrients while farm-raised fish may contain dangerous levels of mercury, antibiotics, and microbials. If you aren’t familiar with the farm on the label, then choosing wild is always better for you.

Quinoa and Cauliflower Are Healthy Fillers

Healthy fish cakes made with cod, quinoa, cauliflower, and more!

A lot of fish patty recipes rely on bread crumbs or potatoes for bulky sustenance. Quinoa and cauliflower, however, add a great deal more nutritional value than those other starches. We picked quinoa because it tastes amazing with fish and also adds an interesting texture. Additionally, quinoa has some of the omega 3 fatty acids that cod doesn’t, thereby contributing to better brain health. 

As a cruciferous vegetable, cauliflower is the mildest tasting and easiest to steam. Broccoli works here, too, so feel free to make the substitution if you prefer the taste of broccoli. Most nutritionists recommend five servings of cruciferous veggies a week, and enjoying these cod cakes is a great way to get a few servings in!

How To Keep Fish Patties Together

Our fish cakes make an excellent appetizer or light lunch or dinner.

Because of the moisture found in both fish and cauliflower, creating a patty by hand and hoping it won’t fall apart isn’t enough. Your best bet is to dredge. For this recipe, we determined two egg-whites followed by a light coating of flour works best.

These fish patties taste amazing on their own, but we also love them inside a sandwich with lettuce, tomato, and pickle. Or try them topped on a bed of dressed greens to tick off more vegetable intake boxes and keep you lean and mean. Enjoy this healthy version of a fish patty and please let us know if you took any different steps or short-cuts in the comments.

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Air Fryer Cod Fish Cakes

These delightful air-fried cod fish cakes are healthier than deep-fried versions but just as tasty!
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Resting time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Yield 8 People
Serving Size 1 Patty
Course Dinner, Lunch, Main Course
Cuisine American

Ingredients

  • 1 pound cod fillets
  • 1 1/2 cups cauliflower florets
  • 1 cup quinoa cooked according to box instructions
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 eggs mixed
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • 1/4 cup green onions sliced
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

Breading

  • 2 tablespoons almond flour or any other flour
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Instructions

  • Pour about an inch of water into a skillet or wok and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Put the cauliflower in a steamer basket. Set the steamer basket over the boiling water and cook until tender, 4 to 8 minutes. You can use a sieve for this if no steamer basket.
  • Once the cauliflower has cooled enough to touch, chop it coarsely so it can mix well. You may chop it finely, but bigger chunks create more texture. Too big won't mix in well, either.
  • Bake cod 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Let cool and then shred with two forks.
  • Mix the flaked fish, the cauliflower and the rest of the ingredients together well by hand. If the mixture is too crumbly, add another half egg. If too sticky, add quinoa or breadcrumbs.
  • Form patties by hand. Set up three bowls with each of the coating ingredients: flour, egg-white, breadcrumbs. Coat each of the cakes, rolling in the flour, then the egg-whites and then the breadcrumbs. Place the prepared fish cakes on a tray. They can be cooked after cooling in the refrigerator or stored for later use.
    If you have time, allow patties to rest in the refrigerator from one to 24 hours. This will help keep the shape.
  • Place in air-fryer and air-fry at 400 degrees for 10 minutes. Flip and cook for another five minutes.

Notes

Cauliflower softens up well in a microwave also, but it takes nearly the same amount of time as stove-top steaming. 
Can be frozen. We recommend making the patties, placing parchment paper in between each one, then freezing in an airtight container or freezer ziplock bag. Defrost and cook! 
To bake: In a preheated oven at 350, cook one side for ten-15 minutes. Flip, and cook for another 10-15 minutes. Spraying the patties with cooking spray will provide a nice crisp on the edges.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1Patty | Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 381mg | Potassium: 498mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 117IU | Vitamin C: 11mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 2mg |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 4
Keywords Air Fryer, Kid-Friendly, Seafood

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Try Salmon-Lentil Patties for another tasty fish patty.

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Alison Borel

Alison Borel came into the culinary world by owning and operating three family restaurants with her husband in San Diego. During that time, she tested, wrote, and taught all the recipes used by her team. She also led cooking classes for small groups. Familiar with vegan and vegetarian cuisine from working in an organic cafe and camp, her preference lies in a plant-based whole foods diet. Alison knows eating for longevity and nutrition not only tastes good, but feels good too.

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