When I found this recipe I thought of my daughter Em, who loves quinoa and unusual recipes, and a co-worker who is gluten intolerant. I emailed the recipe to each of them and suggested they try it. I said they looked delicious and easy, and to let me know what they thought. Then the recipe sat in my Sent box for about six months.
Nobody tried making them, and when I asked for updates, they would say they looked good, mean to try them soon, would let me know. I couldn’t get anyone to actually make them and report in! Yet they continue to intrigue me and I decided to make them for the next party that I hosted.
I put them off until granddaughter Bella turned 6, and I provided the birthday buffet. The little pizza bites would be perfect for my finger food theme. But now I have to admit: I’d never even made quinoa before. I had a bag in the cupboard but hadn’t actually USED it yet. Silly me, it was like making rice, I discovered after reading the bag. Simple, straight-forward follow the directions and the quinoa came out perfect.
I refrigerated it overnight and the next day measured it out and added the rest of the recipe ingredients. I used a cookie scoop to deposit portions into the mini muffin tins I’d prepared by spraying with oil and slid them into the oven when they were filled.
When the timer went off, the pizza bites looked nicely browned and the aroma was intoxicating. They smelled like little muffins of pizza! I let them cool for 30 minutes and packed them into a Ziploc food storage shoebox and they were transported to the party.
At my son’s house we popped them into the oven in a disposable foil pan and warmed them again. Mmmm they were good! Not usually a pepperoni fan, I thought it was perfect in these bites. It gave a nice spicy bite to the mini muffin bites. I didn’t notice whether the kids actually liked them; the adults definitely enjoyed them. I meant to look to see if the pepperoni was a special spiced one; I didn’t remember pepperoni being so hot!
I think the quinoa bites could have even more cheese in them, and maybe some diced black olives. I’d thought of adding the olives as I made the bites but didn’t add them this time. Several of the other finger foods had black olives in them and I didn’t want olive overkill. Although I could probably eat a whole can of black olives on my own at a sitting, others maybe aren’t as big of fans of black olives. So I was kind and tried to limit their use. Next time, they’ll be added!
Quinoa Pizza Bites
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
2 tbsp tomato paste
1/2 cup diced pepperoni (or pizza ingredients of your choice)
2 tbsp Italian seasoning (I use 1 tbsp oregano, 1 tbsp basil
1 tbsp crushed red pepper (omit or use less if you have spicy pepperoni)
Salt and Pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 350 degrees, spray mini muffin tins
Measure ingredients into a bowl and mix well.
Using a teaspoon or cookie scoop, fill muffin tin cups to the top, pressing down with your spoon or fingers.
Bake 15 to 20 minutes, until they are golden brown.
Serve hot with pizza sauce.
Excellent frozen and reheated in microwave.
Adapted from Stay at Work Housewife