These Tomato and Basil Quinoa Balls are perfect for little hands and something the whole family can enjoy.
If you have served quinoa to your baby you might wonder if the clean up is worth the effort. Those little seeds may be nutritious but they do have a habit of getting everywhere!
This is why quinoa balls are fantastic for babies and toddlers. There is no guarantee that they will be mess-free but they should help in reducing it! (fingers crossed)
Of course, these delicious balls aren’t limited to babies, the whole family can enjoy them.
- lunch-box friendly
- good for dipping
- great for serving with salad
- a vegetarian “meatball” alternative.
What You Need (& Alternative Suggestions)
- Quinoa: Use either white quinoa or tri-colour.
- Onion: For flavour, adds sweetness once sauteed.
- Tomatoes: Crushed or chopped canned tomatoes both work great, you could also use passata.
- Water / Stock: Use water (or homemade stock) if making for a baby (to reduce sodium levels) but if cooking for older kids stock will add more flavour.
- Egg: Used as a binder. This recipe tastes great before baking in balls. If you have an egg allergy you can make the recipe up to the stage you add the egg. Serve it without forming balls.
- Cheese: Grated cheddar adds flavour and helps with the forming of the balls.
- Basil: Adds great flavour, pairs lovely with the tomato and cheese.
How To Make Cheese and Tomato Quinoa Balls
- Soak: Start with soaking the quinoa. Allow it to soak as you chop and saute the onions. This helps to reduce the bitterness.
- Saute: Heat oil in a pan and gently sauté the onions and garlic until the onions become translucent. Allow it to really soften to release natural sugars.
- Cook: To the onions and garlic, add the tomatoes, stock (or water), quinoa (rinsed and drained) and stir. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for 15 mins.
- Fluff: Turn the heat off and leave the quinoa to sit covered for a further 5 mins then fluff with a fork.
- Mix: Add the cheese and basil and stir through. Allow to cool and then stir through the egg.
- Form Balls: Form tablespoon balls (makes 14). This mixture will be quite wet and the balls may flatten a little. Bake in the oven for 25 mins.
What to Serve Quinoa Balls With
Quinoa balls taste great hot or cold. Serve them up
- as a snack (with dips)
- as a lunchbox filler (makes a nice change from sandwiches)
- as part of the main meal (with roasted veggies, salad or even as a “meatball” replacement)
- Refrigerate leftovers in an airtight container for up to two days
- Freeze on a baking tray until solid and then transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag. Be sure to get as much air out of the bag as possible when sealing, to help prevent freezer burn.
Have you tried this recipe? Please rate and leave a comment below or tag me on Instagram @healthylittlefoodies. I love seeing your creations!
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Cheese and Tomato Quinoa Balls
- Baking Tray
- 100g (½ cup) Quinoa White or Tri-colour, uncooked
- 1 tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 Onion Finely chopped
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Minced
- 120g (½ cup) Canned Chopped Tomatoes
- 120ml (½ cup) Vegetable / Chicken Stock
- 60g (½ cup) Cheddar Cheese Grated (Shredded)
- 1 tbsp Fresh Basil leaves Chopped
- 1 Egg Beaten
- Preheat oven to 180c / 350f / Gas 4
- In a bowl soak the quinoa in water.
- Heat oil, over medium heat, in a pan and gently sauté the onions and garlic until the onions become translucent. Around 5 mins.
- Using a fine-mesh sieve, drain and thoroughly rinse the quinoa.
- To the onions and garlic, add the tomatoes, stock, quinoa and stir. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat to low, cover and allow to simmer for 15 mins.
- Turn the heat off and leave the quinoa to sit covered for a further 5 mins.
- Stir in the cheddar cheese & basil.
- Allow to cool and then stir in the beaten egg.
- Form heaped tablespoon sized balls.
- Bake in the oven for 25 mins or until golden.