These little vegetarian, pizza flavoured quinoa bites are cheesy, herby and great for packed lunches for school or work.
It's spring in New Zealand and it's back to school today for the last term of the year before summer holidays. Can you quite believe how fast this year has gone? I can't. Mine has been a happy blur of sleepless nights, gummy baby smiles and fun times in the kitchen with my camera. What will your lasting memories of this year be? I hope they're happy ones too.
At the beginning of term I always try to make more of an effort with packed lunches for my big girl. Remember last term? I'd love to say that I keep this up all year round, but we'll be back to peanut butter sandwiches before long. Mark my words.
I am always looking for inspiration for little lunch box fillers that are quick and easy to eat (my girl is a dreamer...), healthy and yummy. What's the point if they don't actually eat it, huh? These quinoa bites are easy to make and were pronounced "sooooooooo gooooooddddddddddd!" - not the most descriptive, but heartfelt!
I used sun dried tomatoes (the kind that come in brine, not oil), olives, cheese and herbs to create that pizza flavour. You could probably smuggle some veges in there as well if you wanted to, maybe chopped mushroom, grated zucchini or carrot? If your small people don't like olives, just leave them out.
These pizza bites have a decent amount of protein for little people. My girl had three of these in her lunchbox, with a small container of tomato sauce for dipping, fruit and other bits and pieces. The three quinoa bites provide 7.8g of protein, nearly half the daily requirements for a little person. I'm pretty happy with that.
Naturally, I had a helper in the kitchen. I was on a mission to get them made, fast, so relegated her to note taking this time. Nice job I thought, never mind the spelling.
One cup of quinoa was actually a little more than I needed, so you'll notice I've reduced it to ¾ cup in the recipe below.
- ¾ cup white quinoa
- 1 onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 12 black olives finely chopped
- 3 tablespoon sun dried tomatoes finely chopped
- 1 cup grated cheese approximate
- 2 free range eggs
- Salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 180C fanbake.
- Boil quinoa for 12-15 minutes. You can tell it's cooked once the little 'tail' has been released and the quinoa is tender to eat. Drain and allow to steam dry as it cools for 15 minutes or so. You don't want waterlogged quinoa.
- Heat olive oil in a frypan, add the onion and herbs and cook until the onion is soft and beginning to colour.
- Mix everything together in a large mixing bowl and add salt and pepper to taste.
- Spoon mixture evenly into two 12 hole mini muffin pans, using a teaspoon to push the mixture in firmly and create an evenly mounded top. I used silicon pans and the pizza bites popped out with no trouble, but they'll stick if you're using metal pans so make sure to grease and line your pans if necessary.
- Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown.
- Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before removing from the pan.
Serve plain, or with tomato sauce (ketchup), salsa, or marinara sauce for dipping.
Nutrition information is approximate (but should be pretty close!) - I cooked too much quinoa and didn't weigh the cheese.