Today I’m sharing a bit about a staple you will always find in my pantry – quinoa. I am a fan for many reasons. I enjoy the texture. I like how it absorbs the flavor of whatever you add to it. And most of all I love that it is plant-based protein champion. Most of us are pretty familiar with quinoa by now but did you know there are many different ways to cook and serve quinoa? Today I’m sharing my recipe for Cheesy Quinoa Bites which are perfect for breakfast or a quick snack.
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Quinoa is fairly new to the United States, in that it has really only been around for about 10 years ago or so. And it only became a widespread and popular food in the last 5 years or so. It is often called a grain, but quinoa is actually a seed. It is all comes in several different colors. The most common is a off-white, cream color but there are also black and red varieties as well. Some stores even sell a blend of all three combined that make a really nice look for a pilaf or salad.
Quinoa comes from the Andes and was a key component of the Inca diet. If you don’t know about the Incas, they are an ancient civilization that lived in South America and particularly Peru. They are the ones who built the amazing Machu Picchu.
Today, quinoa is still an important part of the cuisine in Peru. And most of the quinoa that you buy today in the stores in the United States comes from South America countries such as Peru.
The term superfood has been way over used by marketers but in my opinion, quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse because it is a source of so many nutrients.
Because I am mostly eat a vegetarian diet, eating enough protein is always a concern for me. Quinoa’s biggest appeal to me is that it contains a high amount of protein. One cup of cooked quinoa provides 8 grams of protein. But the really unique thing about quinoa is that unlike other plant-based proteins, it is considered a complete protein. This means that it has all the essential amino acids that your body needs.
One cup of quinoa contains 5.2 grams of fiber which is a boost to reaching the recommended 25-30 grams of fiber we should all be eating every day. Statistical data reveals that most Americans struggle to eat that much fiber each day. Fiber is important in its role in our digestive system and in reducing cholesterol.
Vitamins and Minerals
One cup of quinoa is packed full of minerals that are essential to our body making it an excellent source of including magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, zinc and copper and a good source of iron.
Furthermore, one cup of quinoa is also packed full of vitamins including vitamin B-6, vitamin E, niacin, riboflavin, folate and choline.
Cooking and Eating Quinoa
Quinoa doesn’t have a lot of natural flavor on its own so when cooking it, you definitely need to season it well or make sure you are using it in a dish with other ingredients, such as in this recipe for cheesy quinoa bites.
Also, quinoa often have a bitter flavor caused by the saponins it contains. Rinsing the quinoa with water a few times before cooking helps to remove the bitterness. It’s pretty easy to cook and cooks in about half the time as rice. It has a finer texture than rice or other grains, but works well in pilafs, salads, soups and any other dishes as a substitute for rice or grains. The ways to use quinoa seem to be limitless as you can see on my Quinoa Board on Pinterest. Plus check out other quinoa recipes on the blog such as Quinoa and Spinach Stuffed Sweet Potato and this homemade Chocolate Bark with Quinoa.
I like this recipe because these cheesy quinoa bites are very easy to prepare on a weekend and then use them as a quick or on-the-go breakfast or snack during the week and you can even freeze them if you want.
You can change the flavor by changing the type of cheese. However, I recommend choosing a cheese with a stronger flavor. For the most recent batch I tested here on the blog, I substituted gouda cheese and I thought they were quite tasty!
Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites
- 2 cups quinoa cooked
- 1 1/2 cups broccoli chopped well
- 1/2 cup sharp cheddar cheese shredded
- 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
- 1 ea leek white end only finely chopped
- 1 ea large egg
- 2 ea large egg whites
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place first five ingredients into a medium bowl and toss until thoroughly mixed. Add garlic powder, salt and mix again.
- In a small bowl, lightly beat the two eggs and then add to bowl. Mix everything together.
- Form bites into balls about 1 ½ “ in size. Place the bites on a lightly sprayed baking sheet.
- Bake in oven for 15 -20 minutes or until lightly browned.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before serving or storing in refrigerator/freezer.
Did you try out this recipe for Cheesy Quinoa Bites? If so, please leave me a comment and tell me what you thought. You can leave a comment here or send me a direct message using the chat button in the bottom right corner of the screen.
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