It never ceases to amaze me how many uses quinoa has. One great use for this wonder “grain” is a gluten-free replacement to flour or breadcrumbs. I’ve already made turkey meatloaf using quinoa as the filler. This time, I took inspiration from Iowa Girl Eats’ Mini Ham & Cheese Quinoa Bites. Instead of ham and cheese, I opted for chicken & spinach. Why, because I love chicken and spinach! (Also, ham doesn’t really agree with my wife).
Oh, and I kept the cheese of course. Why? That’s a silly question. You don’t need an excuse to keep or add cheese to a savory dish.
Six ingredients and an hour (mostly unattended cook time) and these are ready to go. I listed this recipe under appetizers, but you could have it for breakfast (eggs!) or dinner. Leftovers make pretty good lunches as well. So basically, eat them whenever you want. :)
These quinoa bites were decadent yet healthy with under 350 calories per quinoa “muffin” and lots of protein and iron. That said, they are a little high in cholesterol at about a third of your daily value. One way to get around that is to use egg substitute. The biggest problem I had was not eating them all at once!
- ⅔ c. quinoa
- 1⅓ c. water
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup raw spinach, chopped
- ½ c. shredded mild Cheddar cheese
- 2 small chicken breasts (or 1 large)
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine quinoa and water in small pot and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Meanwhile, cook chicken on George Foreman grill approximately 5 minutes until no longer pink inside. Let rest for 5 minutes then dice into ½" pieces
- In medium bowl, combine all ingredients. Grease muffin pan with cooking spray. Spoon mixture into each muffin cup.
- Cook for 20-30 minutes until golden brown. Let sit 5 minutes before serving
Alternative versions of this recipe
There are several different ways you can prepare this dish. You could try a different protein, such as the ham used in the original recipe, or simply cook the chicken a different way. Shredded chicken works very well here as well.I haven’t tried it, but I bet black beans would go well in these. Possibly pair the black beans with corn and salsa to make a southwest variety.
Likewise, you could try changing the spinach to another green vegetable, such as kale or shredded zucchini. Basically, experiment with your favorite protein and your favorite vegetable in these quinoa bites to find your favorite way of eating them.
Quinoa Bites for those who haven’t tried quinoa
For those who haven’t tried eating quinoa yet, incorporating it into a larger dish, such as these quinoa bites, is a great introduction. You get the taste but you don’t start out with this big heap of strange new food on your plate. So, you can take the fear of trying a new food off the plate by hiding it in something larger. That is how I’ve recently started eating cottage cheese, by using it as a substitute for ricotta in my spinach and butternut squash lasagna (recipe coming soon). That’s right, I overturned over 20 years of saying I didn’t like cottage cheese simply because my ricotta went bad. Who knows what you will like if you find a new way of eating it?
What is your favorite way of eating quinoa?