Change up pizza night with poppable Mini Pizza Quinoa Bites. Use any pizza toppings you like!
In addition to being excited that it’s Friday (and Valentine’s Day!) I’m also jazzed that warmer weather is on the way. We’re only talking 35 degrees here, give or take a few degrees, but up until this week we haven’t been above freezing since January. Wretched. However, like a friend recently mused on Facebook – what the hell would we talk about if the weather was just average? Seriously, like…what? The Olympics? For some reason I just can’t get into them this year. Oh, except #sochiproblems. Kills me!
Aaanyway, I’ve got an extremely difficult recipe for you today. Brace yourselves for lots of measuring, dishes, ingredients…NOT. The recipe for Mini Pizza Quinoa Bites is so easy that an infant could make it. Or try anyway. Lincoln kept lunging at the bowl as I was making these irresistible bites. Honestly I can’t blame him – they’re insane!
Toss some pizza-themed ingredients in bowl, scoop the mixture into mini muffin tins, and then bake. Oh, then reap the CHEESY PIZZA REWARDS. I am so obsessed with these bites!
Mini Pizza Quinoa Bites are a riff on a couple of my favorite quinoa cups recipes, Mini Ham and Cheese Quinoa Cups and Mini BLT Quinoa Cups. As delicious as those are, though, I think the pizza version is my absolutely favorite. All the fabulous pizza flavor, but lighter since we’re ditching the crust.
As I mentioned a few weeks ago, Friday night is pizza night in my house. Last Friday Ben was out of town so I took the opportunity to go a little crazy with my order. I ended up with a BBQ sauce pizza with chicken, bacon, black olives, tomatoes, and banana peppers. I know. The freedom clearly went to my head.
I reigned it in with these pizza bites and filled ‘em with classic toppings like chopped pepperoni and sliced black olives, but you could fill yours with whatever you like – peppers, cooked sausage, onions, etc. I’m thinking Hawaiian Pizza Bites would be awesome (that’s Ben’s favorite!) Serve with warmed pizza sauce and you’re golden.
Change up pizza night tonight!
Like I said, step one: throw some stuff in a bowl.
You’ll need 2 cups cooked quinoa (about 1/2 cup dry quinoa) that’s been slightly cooled or chilled – aka you can make it ahead of time. Make sure you rinse the quinoa under cold running water before cooking to remove the bitter substance it’s coated in. 2 whole eggs PLUS 2 egg whites join the party, along with 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, and 2 cups pizza toppings.
Spoon the mixture to the top of 24 mini muffin tin cups that have been sprayed VERY well with nonstick spray. The cheese in the mixture WILL stick if you don’t spray it well. Sorry for all the CAPS but this is IMPORTANT. Yikes.
Place the muffin tin on top of a foil-lined baking sheet then bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown. Let the bites cool for 5 minutes before popping them out of the cups.
Serve with warm pizza sauce then pop away!
Mini Pizza Quinoa Bites
Makes 24 bites
2 cups cooked quinoa, cooled slightly or chilled (about 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa – be sure to rinse well before cooking)
2 whole eggs
2 egg whites
2 cups chopped pizza toppings (pepperoni, black olives, pineapple, ham, onions, sausage, peppers, etc.)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Pizza sauce, for dipping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil, then spray a 24-cup mini muffin tin VERY well with nonstick spray and set aside.
- Add all ingredients except pizza sauce to a large bowl then stir to combine. Fill mini muffin tin cups to the top with the mixture then place on prepared baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from cups. Serve with warmed pizza sauce.
TO FREEZE: Place baked cups on a baking sheet then freeze until solid and transfer to a freezer bag. Microwave for 20-40 seconds depending on how many you’re reheating.
- FOR REGULAR-SIZED MUFFIN TINS: Bake for 25-30 minutes (Note: I have not tried this myself, although several readers have left comments saying this works!)
Seriously, seriously so yummy. I can’t wait for you to try these. If you’ve got kids, I bet they’d love these special treats for Valentine’s Day dinner! Enjoy!