Mushroom Herb Quinoa Bites Give Brunch a Reason to Live
What makes Brunch Brunch?
Recipe Redux challenged us with a healthy brunch dish for May. Seems fitting, with all the showers, parties, and events that May inspires, who can’t use some help there? I got to thinking, what makes brunch brunch…
Where breakfast and lunch meet, it should be the best of both worlds. For me, I don’t want to commit to one side all together. If I go all breakfast, the awesome looking “lunchified” dishes don’t jive with the breakfast flavors in my mouth. And vice versa. I love brunch dishes that bridge the gap between the flavors of both worlds. Could be breakfast…could be lunch…let’s just call it brunch.
Brunch is the Day-Time Cocktail Party
Being Italian, it’s instinct to turn any gathering into a party, no matter how large or small. It’s also instinct to have it revolve around food and drink.
For cocktail parties, day or night, I’m a huge fan of “poppers.” One bite wonders that allow me to graze as many dishes as possible (while socializing the whole time, of course). My general goal: graceful non-stop tasting and talking for the duration. Is that possible? Hey, you gotta have a goal.
Let’s take a moment to revere the magical glory of the popper. One bite of balanced flavor and texture? No small task. I’m forever working on it.
My brunch, as the day-time cocktail party would be a popper-laden, drink-flowing extravaganza. With healthier, guilt-free options, of course.
I created these Mushroom Herb Quinoa Bites as a tribute to omelet flavors, with a savory lunch feel. Soft and creamy on the inside, crispy on the outside, full of flavor and texture, this is one bite of goodness you definitely want to try. My husband ate a dozen of them in one sitting. I hope you like them as much as he did. 🙂
This recipe is dairy-free, gluten-free, vegan, and wheat-free, with options for those who aren’t!
Dairy-free, Gluten-free, Vegan, Wheat-free (with options!)
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups less 2 tbsp water
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- pinch sea salt
- 2 cloves garlic
- ½ cup green onions, small dice
- 1 cup baby bella mushrooms, small dice
- 1 cup spinach, chopped
- 1 tbsp fresh thyme, minced
- 1 tbsp lemon juice
- 2 tsp olive oil
- pinch sea salt
- pinch red pepper flakes (1/8 -1/4 tsp depending on taste)
- 2 tbsp parsley, minced
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1½ tbsp white chia seeds, ground mixed in a 6 tbsp water (or 2 eggs if not vegan)
- 2 tbsp almond flour (or any flour if allergic to nuts, gluten-free blend, wheat, etc.)
- ¾ cup dairy-free, vegan mozzarella cheese (or low fat mozzarella cheese)
- ½ tsp sea salt
- ¼ tsp white pepper
- 3 tbsp toasted almonds, chopped (optional, if not nut-free)
- 3 tbsp chives, chopped
- Rinse quinoa. Bring water, lemon juice to a boil. Add pinch of salt and quinoa. Simmer for 16-18 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed.
- Grind chia seeds and let sit in ½ cup water.
- Chop green onions, garlic, mushrooms, spinach, thyme, parsley.
- Chop toasted almonds and chives. Toss together.
- Zest lemon.
- Grease a 36 mini muffin tin.
- Preheat oven to 350.
- In a large saute pan heat olive oil over medium to medium high heat.
- Add onion and red pepper flakes.
- Add baby bella mushrooms. Cook for 4-5 minutes minutes, until tender, moving veggies around.
- Add garlic, spinach, and fresh thyme. Cook for 2 more minutes. Add lemon juice and sprinkle with pinch of sea salt. Taste for seasoning, adjust, and remove from heat.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine cooked quinoa; sautéed onion, mushroom, garlic, spinach, thyme mixture; minced parsley; lemon zest; chia seed mixture; salt and pepper.
- Stir together and mix well.
- Add almond flour and cheese (vegan or regular). Stir and mix well.
- Distribute mixture into a greased mini muffin tin, filling each cup to the top (about 1 tbsp each). Press mixture down into tin.
- Bake for 18-20 minutes, until crispy on top. Unmold from muffin pans. (I use a spatula to pop them out.
- Top quinoa bites with chopped almond chive mixture and serve.
What’s Brunch to You?
Are you a one bite wonder fan so you can graze the party like me? Do you prefer the huge belgian waffle? What’s your ideal brunch dish? Maybe I’ll try to healthify it!