About two years ago, I picked up a box of quinoa on a whim. We are white rice addicts, and I was trying to incorporate some new, healthier options into my diet (just me, Shane was not on board for this little experiment). Quinoa was all the rage at the time (it's a superfood, after all), so I decided to give it a shot. And truthfully? I hated it - bitter (even though I rinsed it well) and flavorless were two words I would use to describe it. I was confident no amount of tinkering with other combinations of ingredients would make it palatable for me. That box of quinoa quickly made its way to the back of the pantry, and wasn't seen again until just a few weeks ago when we completely emptied the pantry to clean it.
Discovering that quinoa got me thinking that maybe it was time to try again. I do this periodically - reintroduce foods I think I don't like just to confirm I'm still not a fan. I've found myself converted on coconut, red peppers and grapefruit, to name just a few. Why not quinoa? I picked up a new box the last time I was at Trader Joe's and got to work looking for ideas. I remembered these cheesy quinoa bites Shanon of The Curvy Carrot had recently posted about and decided to try a take on them. When was adding cheese to a dish not a good idea?!
These are really super simple and highly adaptable. You combine cooked quinoa with your favorite cheese and veggies and a few eggs (to bind it all), drop tablespoons of the mixture into in a mini muffin pan and bake. And then, cross your fingers, take a bite and hope you now like quinoa so you didn't just waste all that time chopping and shredding :) The good news is that I did enjoy these - they were a filling lunch for me quite a few days. I'm still not on the quinoa bandwagon though. For now, it's something I'll eat occasionally because I know it's a healthy choice, but all things being equal I'd still pick the white rice 99.9% of the time. Baby steps, I guess.
I served the quinoa bites with the only dressing I had in my fridge, ranch. I definitely liked them better dipped in the dressing. Also, I froze the leftovers after baking, and reheated them in a 350 F oven (simply on a cookie sheet, I didn't bother popping them back in the mini muffin pan), which worked great.
Cheesy Quinoa Bites
adapted from So Very Blessed
2 cups cooked quinoa
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 medium carrot, shredded
2 scallions, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
Preheat oven to 350 F. Lightly spray a mini muffin pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Stir all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined. Use a small cookie scoop or tablespoon to divide the mixture evenly among the wells of the pan - you can fill them all the way to the top. Lightly press down to make sure each well is packed.
Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the bites are golden and set. Remove from the wells and serve, with dipping sauce if desired.
Makes 24 bites