Friday, August 17, 2012

Cheesy Quinoa-Veggie Nuggets

I love tricking my kids into eating fun little things that are full of vegetables.  (Like these sneaky chocolate chip cookies.) 

I get a deep, wicked thrill out of seeing them enjoy what I know encourages their bodies to grow like Johnson grass on a hot summer day.

Sometimes I don't have to do much tricking.
(That's veggie lover who does not have any issues with texture.)

His big brother?  Not so much.

I saw a recipe on this blog and immediately decided to try it out on my little guinea pigs.

The results?  Matthew devoured them and Timothy remains a little wary.   Timothy's friend, Mason, was spending the night.  He decidedly did not like them (but was very polite about his disgust).

"Ms. Ginny," Mason said.  "These are like chicken nuggets...with food in them.  They're kind of all wrong."

Gotta love the honesty of kids. 

Personally, I thought they were incredible and want to eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  Every day.

Here's how I did it.

I added a 1/2 cup of quinoa to 1 cup of boiling water and cooked it for about 12 minutes.
While the quinoa was cooking,  I prepped the veggies:  grated 4 carrots (to yield 1 cup), sliced two stalks of green onion, minced two cloves of garlic, and chopped the fresh parsley.

I mixed these pretty colors together, along with two very well beaten eggs and the cheeses.

In a tiny separate bowl, I whisked together the dry ingredients,

 And mixed them in with the veggies.

Then I scooped tablespoon-fulls into a greased mini-muffin tin.

VERY IMPORTANT: I've learned over the years that you must cover quinoa-containing recipes with foil as you bake them.  Otherwise the quinoa that's exposed to the direct heat will get crunchy, dried out, and undesirable.

They're the perfect size for little fingers.

(You can also make this as a casserole.  Yum.  Or swap out some of the veggies:  steamed broccoli florets would be wonderful in here.  The original recipe used cilantro instead of parsley, which I will try soon.  Try swapping out the cheeses to yield different flavors, too.) 

This Cheesy Dipping Sauce is a particularly lovely accompaniment. 

Here's the printable recipe.

Cheesy Quinoa-Veggie Nuggets
Makes about 24-28 mini-muffin size portions

2 cups cooked quinoa*
1 cup shredded carrots (about 4 medium carrots)
2 stalks green onion, sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced (about 2 teaspoons)
1/8 cup chopped parsley (a small handful)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup grated mozzarella cheese
2 large eggs, well beaten
2 tablespoons whole wheat flour (substitute all-purpose or your favorite gluten-free alternative)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Freshly ground black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Grease a mini-muffin tin with vegetable oil or cooking spray.  Set aside.

Mix the quinoa, carrots, green onion, garlic, parsley, and cheeses together until well blended.  Stir in the beaten eggs, mixing well.  In separate bowl, combine the remaining dry ingredients with a whisk.  Then stir the dry ingredients into the quinoa mixture.  Mix well.

Use a tablespoon to scoop the mixture into the prepared muffin tin.  Cover tin with foil and bake for 15-20 minutes.  

*To end up with two cups of cooked quinoa, begin with 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa prepared in 1 cup boiling water.

Recipe ever-so-slightly adapted from So Very Blessed


Anonymous said...

Looks amazing-will be trying this week for sure. I have a picky texture guy too--I may throw veggies in my vitamix first!

wildirishrose said...

Just made a batch of nuggets similar to this--wow, they were filling! I didn't have any carrots or mozzarella so I substituted corn and taco blend cheese. I'm definitely keeping this recipe, thank you for the inspiration!

Anonymous said...

how long will the quinoa muffins last if refrigerated?

Ginny said...

Hi Anonymous--I think the "nuggets" would last (at least) several days if refrigerated. Just warm them up (covered with foil) in the oven. Or I supposed you could microwave them, but they might be a little rubbery. Enjoy!