Buffalo Quinoa Bites

January 17, 2014

Buffalo Quinoa Bites

Are you guys pumped as I am for the NFC and AFC championships this weekend?
I'm rooting for the Broncos this season since Giants didn't make it to the playoffs.
I adore Peyton too...so...GO BRONCOS!
Plus my beloved cousin Cristina is a die-hard Patriots fan (because she’s from Boston...I know, nobody’s perfect) and I think a little rivalry in the family makes it a little more fun.
[And for all of you that have no idea what I’m talking about, this is American football talk.]
So far the playoff games have been close and exciting, I’m sure this weekend Conference Finals will deliver.
Okay, enough about football for now, let’s talk about football food.


If you're hosting a football party at your house this Sunday, there are a few classics you should serve (note the use of “should”).
Nachos, dips, BBQ baked beans, pulled pork or chili, just to name a few.
But imho the official food of football is Buffalo wings (aka chicken wings).
Delicious chicken wings coated in a fingerlicking spicy sauce. Juicy, sticky and messy, oh, so messy.
Your face and hands get messy. If they’re spicy, there’s this element of heat as you wipe your mouth with the back of your hand.
And then you wipe the back of your hand on your shirt (or your jeans), because there are no napkins close to you and the kitchen paper roll is too far out of reach (actually it’s not that far, but moving your ass off the couch is not an option).
 Buffalo Quinoa Bites
Buffalo wings are - in all respects - awesome; but what if you have a vegetarian friend or relative?
You can’t deny them the joy of Buffalo wings. It wouldn’t be fair.
Fear not people, I’m here to help.
Behold, I present you with Buffalo quinoa bites.
All of the flavors of a hot wing, exit the wing, enter the quinoa (and the mozzarella).
Easy to eat, healthy and super delicious. They give wings a run for their money.

Buffalo Quinoa Bites

As with wings the secret’s in the sauce. No really. That’s not just a cliché.
A really good Buffalo sauce needs to have flavor, not just heat.
The sauce can be as spicy hot as you want but it should deliver fabulous flavor. I have a favorite, Frank’s Red Hot, but another good one is Louisiana Hot Sauce.
What’s amazing about these bites is that the quinoa soaks up the sauce, and when you bite it bursts into your mouth. Not to mention the melting Mozzarella oozing out.

Buffalo Quinoa Bites
Buffalo Quinoa Bites                                                                                                Print this recipe!

Makes about 30-32 quinoa bites

Quinoa bites

2 cups / 11 oz / 300 gr cooked quinoa (you’ll need to cook about 1 cup of quinoa)
4 free-range organic eggs, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
½ teaspoon garlic powder
½ teaspoon paprika
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
1 cup / 3.5 oz / 100 gr breadcrumbs (I used Gillian’s gluten-free breadcrumbs)
30 ½-inch cubes mozzarella


½ stick / 4 oz / 113 gr butter
½ cup hot sauce (I used Frank’s Red Hot)


Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Combine quinoa, eggs, tomato paste, salt, garlic powder, paprika, and black pepper into a bowl.
Add breadcrumbs and stir in well. Let mixture sit for a couple of minutes so that the breadcrumbs can absorb the moisture.
Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of quinoa mixture and with dampened hands make quinoa balls - placing one cube of mozzarella into the middle of the ball and forming a smooth ball around the mozzarella. Repeat to form about all quinoa bites.
Place quinoa bites onto the lined baking sheet and bake for 15 minutes.
In the meantime make the sauce. Combine the hot sauce and butter in a small saucepan on medium heat (or place in a microwave safe bowl for 2 minutes on high).
After 15 minutes, remove baking sheet from the oven, gently turn quinoa bites (they should have browned a little) and top with buffalo sauce.
Put back in the oven and bake for another 8 minutes.
Serve hot (with celery sticks and blue cheese dip if you want to be authentic).

Nutrition facts

One quinoa bite "dressed" yields 90 calories, 4 grams of fat, 10 grams of carbs and 4 grams of protein.


  1. They look like a great alternative to Buffalo wings, thanks for sharing Mike!

    1. They're so good Sarah, you should definitely try them!

  2. Holy crap, Mike. These look SO GOOD! Definitely making and sharing this recipe!
    Greg is Boston born and raised, so he's a die hard Pats fan. Normally I would support him since my team is out, but given that my (now) home team is playing, I HAVE to root for the Broncos! Plus, I love Peyton too. :)

    1. I do remember about Greg being from Boston (you know, the Red Sox and all...) but I guess he won't mind you supporting the Broncos. Denver is the place you call home now, after all!
      But whatever the outcome, I'm sure this will be a great game to watch!

  3. Yummy, I love that quinoa is versatile! Enjoy your game : )

    1. Thanks Tam and thank you for not getting riled up by the fact that we call football American football and soccer what the rest of the world calls football. My British buddies give me the hardest time about it!

  4. It's perfect!!! I love quinoa!!!

  5. Hey! That's a great idea! I keeptrying to innovate with quinoa too and I am loving it in new forms. Would love to have you check out what I did with it:) http://yummilyyours.com/quinoa-crusted-tofu/

  6. Whoa buddy, those are F cool!

  7. this is a great party recipe!

    1. It really is Dina, you should totally give it a shot!

  8. Wow! I am drooling over on this recipe - absolutely keeper! What a healthy and tasty way to indulge:) First time visiting your place and I am hooked on it! Gorgeous pictures too!

  9. looks looks so healthy and appetizing!

  10. I have to be there at your place for football games, those buffalo bites look pretty darn tasty and I know it's healthy.
    Enjoy the games.

  11. First of all thanks about the explanation about American football because I had really no idea what you were talking about :) )
    Secondly- the buffalo quinoa balls look divine, perfect for watching a ski race ( in my case) or a soccer game ( in case of my husband &sons)
    I must try this out it looks , it looks so good...

    1. For which soccer team are your husband and sons rooting for? I follow the English Premier League and I also like the Euro Champions League. I can't say that I'm a soccer connaisseur but I do enjoy watching the game.

  12. Wow you guys....this is amaaaaazing looking! The ingredients are definitely easy to find and work with, and umm the pictures make it even better! I'm pinning this, muehehehhe

  13. Can't wait to try these! Hubby is [reluctantly] dieting and these may soften the blow to his limited "junk" food list. Thanks!


  14. Oh man. Now I wish I hadn't given my HUGE container of quinoa away...

    Oh well. Looks like I'm gonna have to go for wings instead. Say, think there's a way one can stuff buffalo wings with cheese? ;)

  15. Well... I planned on making these later today for the Super Bowl and got a little impatient... so I decided to get an early start! They sound so good! I followed the recipe exactly but unfortunately have a VERY runny quinoa mixture that couldn't form a ball if I wanted it to... which of course I do ;) SO... I am planning on adding more bread crumbs??? Anyway, I hope it turns out cuz it already smells amazing and I haven't even started on the sauce :)

    1. Hey Bo, definitely add more breadcrumbs (and let them sit a bit so that they can absorb the moisture). I believe the runny mixture issue has something to do with the size of the eggs (clearly yours are bigger than the one I use) or if the quinoa retained more water than it normally does.
      Btw I really hope you'll succeed making them!

      PS I'm making a batch right now as well and mines are ready to go into the oven!

  16. yeah... I added another entire cup of bread crumbs and it is still quite runny! I am going to try refrigerating what I have... I have two test bites in the oven now and they are spreading out as they heat up :( they resemble oatmeal cookies more than anything...

    1. I seriously don't know what went wrong there, I'm so sorry.
      Other readers sailed through the recipe just fine (some even sent pictures of their quinoa bites and they looked better than mines) so I can't wrap my head around what went wrong with yours. Again, I'm sorry that they didn't turned out as planned!

  17. This recipe is excellent.

  18. I was looking for something to do with a bunch of left over quinoa, and although I'd never seen your site before I decided to give this recipe a try last Sunday. I think I made them larger than you (I only got 12 instead of 30), but I have to tell you, it is by far the most delicious thing I've made in as long as I could remember. And since I pre-cubed all of that mozzarella, I might just make more this weekend! I was telling someone at work about them and she asked if she could have one -- and I said NO! And now I'm salivating.

  19. I love these! I left out the cayenne pepper and dipped them in marinara sauce for my grandson and he liked them too!

  20. I just made these minus the cayenne pepper….AMAZING!! So.darn.good!

    Thank you!!!