Quinoa Buffalo Bites

After eating a half of loaf of pound cake last week, my body is in desperate need of something nutritious.  But let me be clear, I won't be satisfied with bland rabbit food, I'm looking to give my taste buds a kick.  Well, I definitely got a kick with these hot and spicy quinoa bites.  

I saw this recipe for the quinoa bites on Pinterest pinned from Betsylife.com and decided to give them a try.  The recipe stated that the prep time was only 15 minutes, but that did not take into account the 20 minutes to cook and cool the quinoa.  Making the buffalo sauce was a fast task, but I cringed a little when asked to add butter and oil to the sauce.  Next time, I would save the calories and only add the olive oil; with the heat of the sauce I couldn't taste the butter anyway.  I changed up the blue cheese dip from the original recipe.  I went with a Middle Eastern influence by adding mint and za'atar.  This provided a nice cooling effect to offset the heat in the buffalo sauce.  

The quinoa buffalo bites were perfect on a bed of mixed greens (baby kale and baby spinach), but I also think you could turn these into patties to make buffalo sliders.  Either the bites or the sliders would make a perfect appetizer for a football party.  Just to let you know, Mike was surprised because he wasn't expecting the quinoa buffalo bites to taste so good.  So don't be afraid to make these for your meat loving friends.  Here's to good food and gladness!

CLICK HERE for a printer friendly recipe.  Makes about 3 dozen quinoa bites.

Ingredients for Quinoa Buffalo Bites

Quinoa Bites

  • 2 cups cooked and cooled quinoa (1 cup of dry quinoa + 2 cups of water. Bring to boil, reduce to low and cover x 15 min or until tender and liquid absorbs).
  • 1 can (15 oz) of chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • pinch of salt and pepper
  • olive oil or nonstick cooking spray for cooking the bites

Buffalo Sauce

  • 1/4 cup hot sauce ( I used Tapatio hot picante, but you can use a milder version)
  • 2 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Blue Cheese Dip

  • 1/2 cup plain greek yogurt ( I used one 5.3 oz single serve container)
  • 1/4 cup milk (recipe called for buttermilk, but I used whole milk)
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon za'atar
  • pinch of pepper and salt
  • 1 -2 oz of blue cheese, crumbled

Directions for Quinoa Buffalo Bites

  1. Make the buffalo sauce.  In a small bowl, combine the melted butter, olive oil, hot sauce, and pinch of salt.  Whisk to combine.
  2. Make the quinoa bites. Place rinsed and drained chickpeas into a food prep.  Pulse until smooth.  Transfer into a large bowl.  Add cooled quinoa, bread crumbs, pinch of salt, and 5 tablespoons of buffalo sauce.  Using a spatula, mix until combined.  Place in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes to chill/firm. 
  3. Make the blue cheese dip. Combine yogurt, milk, lemon juice, herbs, pepper and salt.  Whisk until smooth.  Stir in 1 oz of crumbled blue cheese.  Keep in refrigerator until ready to serve.
  4. Once the quinoa bites are chilled, use a 1 tablespoon sized cookie scoop to form a ball (quinoa bite).  Arrange on a tray until ready to cook.
  5. In a large skillet, add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil or spray with nonstick cooking oil.  Heat over medium-low heat.  Add 6-8 quinoa bites at a time to not overcrowd the skillet.  Cook until golden brown and crispy on all sides.  Gently dip the bites into the remaining buffalo sauce to coat all sides.  Arrange on a plate of salad greens, sprinkle with crumbled blue cheese and serve with blue cheese dip.