Friday, September 21, 2012

Quinoa Pepperoni Pizza Bites

A healthy alternative to pizza--that REALLY tastes like pizza!!!
Woohoo! Just in time for football season (Go Ravens!) I’ve found it: a healthy alternative to pizza. You’re probably thinking, yeah right, there’s no place for a healthy grain like quinoa in my PIZZA. But you, my friend, would be wrong. These little gems are ideal for serving during the big game on Sunday or any time you’re in the mood for great pizza flavor without the fat, calories, and carbs that come with a traditional pie.

There are a handful of quinoa pizza bite recipes floating around out there and they all seem pretty similar. I based my recipe off of this one and just reduced the amount of cheese, tweaked the seasonings, and added a little pepperoni.
Quinoa Pepperoni Pizza Bites
Makes 22-24 mini “bites”


1 cup quinoa, uncooked
2 cups water
2 eggs, beaten
2 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
½ cup cherry or grape tomatoes, chopped
½ cup pepperoni (about 15 whole), chopped
¾ cup reduced-fat mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
Olive oil spray
Pizza Sauce (for dipping, I used the fat-free one from Trader Joe’s)

In a medium saucepan, combine 1 cup uncooked quinoa and two cups water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer, cover, and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes until all the water is absorbed and grain is soft and translucent.
While quinoa is cooking, preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a small bowl, crack and beat the eggs. In a large bowl, add the beaten eggs, garlic, basil, tomatoes, pepperoni, mozzarella cheese, oregano, and Italian seasoning. Stir well to combine.
Lightly spray a mini-muffin tin with olive oil. Using a spoon, place a scoop of the quinoa mixture into each muffin space. Press down with the back of the spoon (or your hand) to “pack” the mixture until it’s flush with the top of the pan. (This is a little messy, see photo below.)

A little messy, but ready for the oven!
Repeat until you run out of the quinoa mix. (My test batch yielded 23 “bites.”)

Place the mini-muffin tin in the oven and bake for 15 minutes at 400 degrees. Remove from the oven and cool for 10 minutes. Place a clean towel over the pan, flip it over, and the pizza bites should pop right out. (Hope you used that olive oil spray so they don’t stick!)
Serve with your favorite pizza sauce for dipping. (I heated the sauce up a little in the microwave and it was delish!)

These. Are. Awesome. No joke, these little pizza bites are one of the best things I’ve made in a while. They make perfect appetizers, snacks, or they can even be a main dish. Just add a salad and you’re good to go. The fact that you get to dip them in pizza sauce makes them super kid friendly too. Better still, I read that they freeze and re-heat well so you could double the batch and have them on hand if you’re short on time/energy.  
Bottom line, these quinoa pizza bites are delicious, much better for you than traditional pizza, and they are easy to make. Give them a try and let me know what you think!

Until next time,

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