Perfect Little Kale Quinoa Bites

Quinoa bites are the perfect on-the-go snack or mini meal. Even better, you can make and freeze them ahead of time.

Perfect Little Kale Quinoa Bites

These little kale-packed quinoa bites came with me to Tokyo. I wedged eight of them into a structured container, tucked that into my purse, and onto the flight we went. I know some of you like to know what I bring to eat on flights, and four hours from SFO, I was wishing I'd brought more. My travel pockets were also lined with kishus (holding steady as my favorite winter citrus), a buttery, ripe avocado, and a bar of dark chocolate. The quinoa bites were nearly perfect for travel, in part because you can do most of the prep ahead of time. Here's how.
Perfect Little Kale Quinoa Bites
A week before my flight I made a batch, shaped them, froze them, and the morning of my flight baked eight - you could also pan-fry them, if you don't want to heat the oven. The rest were home awaiting my return. Perfect Little Kale Quinoa Bites


Part of the charm here is the inherent flexibility of quinoa bites. Feel free to play around with the quinoa base. I went with kale, edamame, feta, because they were on hand, tasty, and needed to be used up. But there are a thousand other combinations to explore. You could do chopped broccoli with goat cheese, or baby fava beans, and chopped asparagus with lemon zest as we head into spring. Or, add an assertive spice blend or curry powder, chopped garbanzos, and green peas.Perfect Little Kale Quinoa Bites
Browse this page if you're looking for other things to cook with quinoa.Perfect Little Kale Quinoa Bites

I had a great little trip. Not too long, not too short, and jam-packed. Pictures & and updated Tokyo map to come soon! We found a few special new items to share here, and I'm hoping they won't take too long to arrive. xo -h

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Kale Quinoa Bites

4.43 from 14 votes

I baked these, but there is no reason, you can't shape them by hand and pan-fry them. A quick dusting of fine breadcrumbs, or rice flour before placing them in a saute pan results in a fantastic crust if you go that route.

  • unsalted butter
  • 2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa, at room temperature
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • scant 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 cup very finely chopped kale
  • 1/2 cup shelled edamame
  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • to serve: avocado, chives.
  1. Preheat oven to 375F, with a rack in the top third.
  2. Butter mini-muffin tins generously, and line with a strip of parchment paper in each indent, this makes popping the bites out of the pan after either baking or freezing simple (see photo).
  3. Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the onion, feta, garlic, kale, and edamame. Stir in most of the breadcrumbs, and let sit for a few minutes so the breadcrumbs can absorb some of the moisture. Fill the prepared muffin tins with the quinoa mixture, pressing the mixture down, and then sprinkling with the remaining breadcrumbs. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until baked through and deeply golden crusted.
  4. Remove the quinoa bites from the pans after a few minutes. Enjoy either hot, or at room temperature spread with salted avocado and lots of chopped chives.
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
25 mins
Total Time
35 mins
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Recipe Rating


John Shah

Got my second batch in the oven. First time I forgot the parchment strip and had a heck of a time getting them out of the pan, and they definitely crumbled but my boyfriend and I found the flavour delicious (we followed your mix-ins). Hoping for cleaner exits this time around! Trying a new set of mix-ins: spinach, lactose free grated cheddar, and sun dried tomatoes (with dried oregano and basil). Thanks for this super flexible recipe!


Love these and the quinoa patties! Instead of egg, I use pureed silken tofu in both recipes. For this one, I used about half a brick of regular firm tofu. Does a great job of holding them together!


These are v. delicious. I accidentally cooked my quinoa quite 'al dente' and did not have the required amount. I mixed in extra fine breadcrumbs to compensate and they came out beautifully. My toddlers love them, which is great because they will only eat finger foods at the moment! Heidi, is there any possibility you might categorise 'finger foods' or even 'feeding children'? I bet you have a tonne of banger recipes like this one that are great for little kids/lunchboxes/travel. It's just a bit hard to find them on your site. Just an idea. Thank you!! x


    It's a great idea Kate, thanks. I definitely need to clean up & update the categories a bit. :/

    Heidi Swanson

Heidi, I love these little bites, and I wanted you to know that, for several years now, 101 Cookbooks has been my go-to resource. I did not grow up learning how to cook, and was a terribly fussy eater. In my teens I mostly ate Chunky Soup (from the can, in case that's not obvious) and grilled cheese sandwiches. But recently my partner said he admires how confident I am in the kitchen, which is not how I saw myself. (Nor was it how my family saw me.) He reminded me that I semi-regularly host dinner parties with more than a dozen people, without giving it a second thought. Your recipes, and your flexible approach to making wonderful things, have taught me a lot, and I'm grateful. I have been living in the Philippines and often can't find the same ingredients but I try different ones, and they work! So, thank you. You've made a really big difference in my life as a cook, and as an eater.

Kelly McDonough

    Thanks for the thoughtful note Kelly! Letters like these are such a big part of why I love what I do. If it's any consolation, I was a terribly pick eater as a child (and teen, for that matter). I think cooking played a huge role in changing that. xx!

    Heidi Swanson

Fabulous recipe!! I only had panko - which worked in the mixture, but I don't recommend sprinkling on top since it gave too tough a crunch. I used a regular cupcake tin, filled to about a third (1/8cup?). Either salted avocado or hummus paired nicely


I made this last night with great success. I used a ton of chopped parsley and cilantro in addition to the kale since that is what I had on hand and no edamame. Instead of feta I tucked a little scoop of chevre into the middle of each before baking. I served them with some yogurt with lemon, cumin and olive oil mixed in. Can't wait to try different variations with summer herbs!


This looks fantastic, but I only have a regular-size muffin pan. Has anyone successfully tried modifying this recipe to work for that? And could share? Thank you!


How funny, I have just been searching for an email address to write a suggestion for "travel" label be added to your recipe index, because I always look for inspiration here. I didnt find the email address, so intended to write into a comment section, only to find several other requesting the same - everybody is munching on your travel food, obviously...


Just a thought, would love for you to add a travel bites category. You have such great healthy travel food and would be nice to be able to sort and find! Have your cookbooks and been following you for a while, thanks for the lovely inspiration! xx


Thank you for this recipe, Heidi. My honey and I are eating the bites right now en route to Boston. I second the commenter asking that your travel snack recipes be catalogued for easy searching!


I made these this past weekend and I've been eating them for breakfast and or lunch all week long. I wasn't sure they'd stick together but they're perfect! Super yummy and healthy. Just included them in my latest post about healthy meal planning. Thanks!


...Hello I am a big fan of finger-food..and this recipe fits the bill.....I can even add a dusting of curry powder on top mixed with the breadcrumbs.........Thanks

Querino de-Freitas

These look incredible and convenient. Possible to freeze after cooking, or preferable to freeze before (as you describe in your recipe?). I'd envision freezing after cooking and storing in a freezer bag to save room in our small freezer (vs storing in the tins). Would love your thoughts!


These were soooo tasty! Yummy with some avocado, and I can imagine delicious with a dollop of greek yogurt on top. These will be a staple at my house!


Well I just made these and they turned out great. I did make a few modifications to the recipe to kick it up a bit. First of all I made the quinoa with hearty organic vegetable broth (Trader Joes) which gave it richer flavor. Also, the feta purchased also at TJs had Mediterranean herbs in it...ymmm. just to give it a little more kick, I mixed a small amount of dried crushed red pepper flakes. Decided to add a grated carrot into the mix also. Then for the bread crumbs I used Panko which gave a nice crunch. Took me more than 10 of prep time, but I'm not an organized Pro in the kitchen. Well worth the effort.


I've been looking for a new breakfast food, and I think this would great because I could make them up ahead of time and just cook the ones I want that morning. Glad you had a safe trip to Tokyo!


Hi Heidi! I made your oatmeal muffins today using the thin-baking-strip technique you did here (because you strictly mentioned that the muffins should be released from the pans to avoid steaming). I just want to say I appreciate your recipe-writing style and your photos. the recipes and photos give me a warm feeling in my tummy and my heart. i've made recipes from your site and i still have a lot more marked to make. thank you for the inspiration! :)


These are fabulous! I used spinach instead of kale and made them in a regular muffin pan which worked just fine. I tried a thin spread of kalamata olive mustard on one, served cold, and it was delicious. As a vegetarian who is trying to get more protein, these are going to become a staple. Thank you, Heidi!


I made these for a baby shower, substituting spinach for kale, and coarsely chopped chickpeas for edamame. They were a hit, though next time I'd use more garlic and a little more salt. I easily got 48 true mini-muffins from the batch (the little 1 or 2 bite kind, 24 to a half-sheet muffin tray). At this size, they were cooked in 15 minutes. Definitely don't skip greasing the pan or the parchment paper lifts--even with non-stick pans, they still needed the help.


These are fabulous! I used spinach instead of kale and made them in a regular muffin pan which worked just fine. I tried a thin spread of kalamata olive mustard on one, served cold, and it was delicious. As a vegetarian who is trying to get more protein, these are going to become a staple. Thank you, Heidi!


These are a great jumping off point for many great flavor combos. I just did a version with carrots, curry, raisins and chickpeas. Thanks for the inspiration!


Also curious about freezing. Having a baby soon these would be an awesome food to freeze ahead. But I'd want to freeze them Individually not a whole pan, then reheat. Should I bake first, pop into a container or bag, then just bake or fry to reheat? What would you recommend?


Made these last night and were wonderful. snow bound so I substituted ....Had no breadcrumbs so I used Pepperidge farm herbed stuffing mix, also mozzarella and provolone cheese blend, iced with trader joes tableside quacamole. Delicious will make again! on to Lacanato Kale and pecorino salad! *****


These quinoa bites look fantastic! I think I will surprise the wife this weekend with these, she loves kale. Another great post, I look forward to your next one :)


I just made these in my Breville Personal Pie maker, this recipe makes 8 little pies, and they came out perfectly delicious. Love the Parchment Paper Release Strip tip too. Thanks Heidi!


These babies are awesome. I made them over the weekend substituting with what I had on hand (Kidney Beans for Edamame and 12 month aged Manchego for Feta). YUMMY. I've already made a second batch because they disappear like magic.


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