Quinoa Pizza Mini Bites – Dairy & Gluten Free

pizza mini bitesDefinitely my favorite mini bite recipe so far are these Quinoa Pizza Mini Bites. At first when I looked at the recipe I thought having quinoa in it was weird and probably not very tasty, but it turned out to be delicious!

The quinoa gives it a nice texture and does not make you feel that heaviness in your belly that pastry does. And it doesn’t take away or overtake the other flavors in the bite, it enhances and allows them to stand out.

pizza mini bitesQuinoa, considered a plant food, is also super good for you. It is one of the most protein rich foods we can eat, as well as high in fiber, iron, magnesium and many other vitamins and minerals. It is also gluten free which is great for those who are looking for or in need of that option; and even contains antioxidants. On it’s own, quinoa is quite plain but is a fantastic healthy addition in salads, baked goods, warm breakfast cereals and more!

These pizza mini bites really do taste like pizza and with the quinoa in them they are super healthy. I was amazed at how good they were and how much they actually tasted like pizza. And like pizza you can add in your favorite pizza ingredients. I used small pieces of pepperoni but you could easily substitute ham, add peppers, chopped up mushrooms, etc.

They are also fantastic for kids – they can easily help make them and they are a nice healthy option to put in their lunches or even for a snack. Yes you have to put in 3 or 4 but that’s ok this recipe makes a lot! They are even a great appetizer or snack for your next gathering or party.

Quinoa Pizza Mini Bites

2 cups cooked quinoa*

2 large eggspizza mini bites

1 cup chopped onion

1 cup Daiya shredded mozzarella

2 tsp minced garlic

1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped

1 cup chopped pepperoni sticks (3-4 sticks)

1/2 tsp seasoning salt

1 tsp paprika

1 tsp dried crushed oregano

pizza or tomato sauce for dipping

Mix together all ingredients, except pizza sauce, in a medium mixing bowl. Using a tablespoon, scoop the mixture into a well greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top. Press down gently to compact.

Bake at 350F for 15-20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly (about 5 minutes). Gently remove bites from muffin tin and serve immediately.

These are also very good cold. So if you’re putting them into kids lunches or your own, there’s no need to heat them if not able to do so.

Makes approximately 40 bitespizza mini bites

*How to Cook Quinoa

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

Thoroughly rinse quinoa in a colander (make sure the holes are small enough that the quinoa does not go through). Once rinsed place in a small pot with water.

Uncovered bring to a boil, then cover and lower heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes. Let quinoa cool slightly then fluff with a fork and either serve or use in desired recipe.

What are some of your favorite quinoa recipes? Share in the comments below

Miss last week’s mini bite recipe? Check out Dairy Free Macaroni Mini Bites

Mushroom Turnovers

IMG_0799When I was in Junior High, a group of my girlfriends and I were into having dinner parties. We took turns hosting, dressed up and made a fancy meal complete with dessert for everyone. It was fun, each host making different meals, decorating the table, and trying new things.

On the evening that I hosted I, wanting to ensure everyone could enjoy what I was making, checked with the girls in regards to any allergies and/ or dislikes. Interestingly, they all came back with a resounding, “We don’t like mushrooms”. I clarified whether this was a dislike or an allergy and when they confirmed it was simply a dislike, I secretly smiled.

I had found this fabulous recipe for mushroom turnovers which I was dying to try and since they weren’t allergic to it… I made them and served them as the appetizer, saying nothing about what was in them. They LOVED them! No one noticing at all that it was mushrooms that they were eating. They thought it was ground beef.

After we were done the appetizer I then revealed to them that they had actually eaten mushrooms and no ground beef was present whatsoever. They were surprised (and thankfully not mad), and we went on to enjoy the rest of our meal and evening (which I have no idea what the rest of the meal was).

Needless to say, this recipe became a family classic in my  house. My Mum and sisters using it over the years for many events and parties. My Mum often has 4 dozen or more in the freezer at Christmas, ready to pull out and heat up whenever we want snacks or guests pop by. I have adopted the same philosophy and you’ll easily find turnovers (and other goodies) in my freezer this time of year.

The original recipe does contain dairy, calling for cream cheese and sour cream, but I have been able to adapt the recipe. Using vegan cream cheese and vegan sour cream they are still just as fabulous! (which having had the original I can fairly compare)

Mushroom Turnovers

Pastry:wpid-CreamCheese31-318x348

9 oz. vegan cream cheese

1/2 c. Earth Balance vegan spread

1 1/2c. flour

In a medium bowl, cream vegan cream cheese and Earth Balance. Add the flour and work with fingers or a pastry blender until smooth. Chill well for at least 30 minutes.

Filling:

3 tbsp. Earth Balance vegan spread

1 large onion, finely choppedwpid-SourCream3-318x270

*1/2 lb. mushrooms, finely chopped

1/4 tsp. thyme

1/2 tsp. sea salt

pinch black pepper

2 tbsp. flour

1/4 c. vegan sour cream

In a skillet, melt the Earth Balance. Add onion and brown lightly. Then add mushrooms and cook, stirring often about 3 minutes.

Add the thyme, salt and pepper and sprinkle with flour. Stir in sour cream and cook until gently thickened.

Preheat the oven to 450F. Roll the pastry dough to 1/8″ thickness on a lightly floured surface. Using a biscuit cutter, cut into 3″ round circles.2585_enlarge

Place a teaspoon of mushroom filling on each circle and fold over so that the edges touch. Press the edges together using fingers and prick the tops to allow for steam to escape.

Place on an ungreased cookie sheet and bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

*To finely chop mushrooms I use a food chopper from The Pampered Chef. This makes it quick and easy to get them to the right size.

Makes about 3 dozen

Sun Dried Tomato & Goat Cheese Bruschetta

I love appetizers! They are small bite size morsels full of flavour and delight! You can sample many different ones without feeling full, guilty or like you’re overindulging. And there are so many good, delectable recipes out there, I’m never at a loss for variety or a recipe to choose.

IMG_0799

Mushroom Turnovers

Of course I have my favorites, like Mushroom Turnovers and good old fashioned meatballs in a sweet and sour sauce, but like with everything else in food I like to branch out and try new things. A couple of years ago I found this recipe in a magazine at the gym. It looked good so I copied the recipe and tried it. It was an instant hit with everyone! Matthew, my spouse and dinner guests. So much so that my dinner guests asked for the recipe.

I loved it too and made it often over the next few months, sharing it with different guests or enjoying it ourselves. Then I went for a while without making it, until recently when I hosted a wine and cheese with friends and decided to pull it out and dust it off.

Tragedy struck though when I realized I could not find the recipe! A little while back I was organizing recipes and putting them onto my computer. When I did, I would throw away the paper copy. I thought I had done this with this recipe but I hadn’t. What I had done was post it on my first blog which I could no longer access, and then thrown it away, thinking that I would be able to access it forever. I was wrong and completely saddened that I no longer had this recipe.

But you know what they say, nothing on the internet is ever lost if you know where or how to look. It took a bit of figuring and looking but I found it. I was overjoyed to have it once again. I quickly copied it onto my computer and now keep it safe and sound in my files.

cold-platter1It also inspired me to have appetizers at my Christmas party this year. I will make some of my own and asked guests to please bring one to share. It’s a great way to discover more great appetizers and share some of my favorites with friends.

So if you’re an appetizer lover and looking for something new, I highly recommend the Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese Bruschetta. Sugar and dairy free, you won’t be disappointed.

And for all fellow appetizer lovers 5 Minutes for Mom is hosting a Twitter party tonight at 8 pm Eastern where everyone will share their favorite go to holiday recipes. Go here for details.

Sun Dried Tomato & Goat Cheese Bruschetta

1/3 c. sun-dried tomatoes, coarsley sliced

1/3 c. roasted peppers (bottled), patted dry and coarsely diced

1/3 c. artichokes (canned or bottled in water)bruchetta 1

1 large garlic clove, finely minced

6 medium leaves fresh basil, thinly sliced

2 tsp. extra virgin olive oil

1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar

Pinch ground pepper

12 thick, sturdy crackers or slices of whole wheat baguette

1/3 c. goat cheese

1/4 tsp. salt

In a medium bowl, gently fold together sun-dried tomatoes, roasted peppers, artichokes, garlic, basil, olive oil balsamic vinegar and ground pepper. Spread each cracker or baguette slice evenly with goat cheese. Top with vegetable mixture. Sprinkle bruschetta with grains of salt, if desired.

Makes 12 pieces