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
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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.


I'm allergic to eggs and dairy, so I've gotten creative with some of your recipes. I made these, using vegenaise instead of eggs, and it works wonderfully. My favorite is Wildwood garlic aioli. I used a little nutritional yeast in place of the feta, and tat soi from my garden in place of the kale. I'll harvest some lettuce and grab a few of these from the freezer on my way out the door to work, and it's the perfect lunch. I heat them up in the toaster oven to get the outside crispy again. Thanks!!


I made these the other night and they are so delicious! Great recipe that I highly recommend trying.


Can't wait to try these - might do a sweet twist with blueberries and pomegranite for a on-the-go breakfast. Thank you!!

Sally | The Fit Foodie

Inspiring recipe,made these yesterday i think the quinoa and kale combination is a brilliant health snack combination. thanks, chris


Just found this blog. Interesting. In answer to the person who asked for substitutes for egg and cheese, I have a suggestion for both as I can eat neither one. Chia seed works very well in place of eggs and adds protein as well. 3 Tblsp. water, 1 Tblsp. chia mixed for 15 minutes equals the consistency of one egg. I use Daiya in place of cheese.


I just made these for our bike trip. I sprayed olive oil in a regular muffin pan and filled it halfway with a mini scooper and dot each muffin with a pat of butter.. Deelish! I'm eating some right now. Thanks Heidi.


I have been using ground flax as a binder to replace eggs in baking. One tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3T of water=1egg, let it sit for a few minutes... it will thicken and then just use instead of eggs :) I haven't tried this recipe yet but I use the flax trick for cookies and muffins. . I think it should work


These look great, and I'm about to make them for my hubby for a Valentines hiking snack, but then I noticed that you used mini-muffin tins.... Do you think these would work in a regular muffin tin size?


To the person asking about GF breadcrumbs: I took some Rudi's Multigrain Bread, toasted it, then pulsed in a food processor when I recently made some meatballs. Worked fine. Someone mentioned quinoa patties. Could these be made in that form, as well, instead of using a mini muffin tin? Just wondering.

HS: Absolutely Russell!


Looks great! I've never actually cooked with kale before (I know it's all the rage right now). Maybe this will be a great recipe to start with (I'm already a huge fan of edamame and feta cheese). I went to Tokyo last June. If I understood well it was just a 4 hours flight for you? Unfortunatly for me, I left from my home town of Ottawa closer to eastern Canada (about 10 hours drive above New York) and with a small layover in Toronto......the flight from Toronto to Tokyo was 13 hours! And I'm terrified of planes so......not the best of times. But Japan was worth it. Enjoy.


I made these today as we're headed to Portland for the weekend and they sounded like the perfect snack to have on the plane. Plucked kale from the garden, substituted roasted squash for the edamame. And used another cheese on hand. They're delicious. I better save some for tomorrow!


I will make these this weekend! However, I am would like to know if I were to use chopped carrots, should I cook them first? I am thinking that pan-seared with small amounts of ginger and sesame oil.


I have a trip coming up soon and I like taking my own food, which is far superior to the bland, meager food served by the airlines. Thanks for another delicious travel meal idea!!


This looks like a really great and refreshing recipe that is very straight forward. As kale has recently become quite a favorite of mine I really enjoy the versatility of how it is used in this recipe. Thanks


What a fantastic healthy snack idea! Like muffins but way better for you. Shall try!


Hi! Oh I can't wait to try these. I've made your SNE patties a few times. I'm curious about your mention of freezing. Did you freeze them raw then bake them off? Also, by mini tins I'm assuming you don't mean small-small, but kind of the standard 12 cup size? Thanks!


OMG! My two most fav ingredients coming together beautifully! Thank you for this recipe.


Looks delicious--I am trying to figure out a good substitute for the breadcrumbs for my G/F partner. Would you go the ground nut route or substitute something else. I am still wrapping my head around baking without gluten (I miss my beloved panko) and GF products often seem to be too spongy/foamish for breadcrumbs. Would cornbread crumbs be a good substitute?

HS: Hi Danielle - cornbread crumbs would be a fantastic substitute.


I love how simple this is, yet it's so elegant.

Jerrelle | Chocolate For Basil

I usually travel with a pb&j, granola, and goldfish...but this sounds way better. It looks like I need to up my travel snack game a bit!

Sarah from Soymilk + Honey

I made these with spinach and peas and they were great.


I just recently discovered your blog and am enjoying it very much. Love your recipe ideas and this one sounds just delicious, can't wait to try it.

Sweet and Savoury Pursuits

Look delicious and simple. I just have to substitute the cheese :( Your description about what you pack when you travel sound like something I would write. I hear you. I never find anything edible on planes... Thank you!


The perfect travel food. I am going to explore with the broccoli goat cheese Idea for my next trip. It's gonna be LAX to Cabo, so nothing like Tokyo, but I'll make sure to pack plenty :-) Yummy !

HS: Safe travels! And I'm sure Cabo is much warmer than Tokyo ;)

Ciao Florentina

I wonder if the breadcrumbs you use are fresh or dried? I'm never sure which in many recipes as some specify & others don't. ?..


These look so tasty (and adorable too). I love the small strips of parchment you used to help line the pan. I hope you are having a wonderful trip to Tokyo. I'm in love with the photo of the ingredient round up and the little glass jars and prep bowls. I happen to have a bunch of kale sitting in the fridge that I've been neglecting... I need to get on these cuties. Thank you! xo

Lisa Cohen // Life is in the Details

Looks like perfect picnic food ! If I wanted to make without cheese and butter what would you recommend?


These look great! I have some travel coming up and may have to follow your lead on the plane snacks. I bet Tokyo was amazing!!

Jenna @ just j.faye

Anyone have any ideas for making these without the eggs? I can't eat eggs nor cheese - I don't think leaving out the cheese will be a problem, but the eggs are a big part - any suggestions for a substitute?


I really like the healthy creativity you have going on here ~ although I am tempted to pan fry them, I think I will bake them with you. And I like the idea of adding asparagus. Love the stuff =) Also think your white subway tile is nice, I think that's what I want to put in my kitchen. Inspirational all around!!

Laura ~ Raise Your Garden

The batter is resting as I type--I'm stocking a friend's freezer for her return after a family tragedy. What is the best way to freeze these? Uncooked, in the pan (and then maybe moved to a container or bag)? I'm sure it'll work out. Thank you--they look delicious.


Very long time reader and experienced baker of your rosemary olive oil cake, but first time commenting! Looks lovely and appreciate the variation suggestions; but, would second the question on what other seeds/grains this would work well with, as my tummy doesn't take too kindly to quinoa anymore. Amaranth, bulgur? Any other ideas?

HS: Hi Karen! Perhaps an overcooked rice version (maybe with a bit of millet?), or bulgur?


How clever to use the strip of parchment paper...I will incorporate this from now on in my nest! Happy Nesting.


These look so delicious and full of all my favourite things! I like the trick with the parchment paper, that's much easier than trying to get them out with a knife. Looking forward to tryin these over the weekend.

Clementine May

Oh my goodness, perfect timing! I'm going on a trip soon with my 10 week old. I can eat these one handed while he nurses. I'm thrilled with this suggestion and post. Thank you so much!


Do you have all the travel snacks tagged? I'd love to be able see all the ones you've done and choose from what's in my larder.

HS: Hi Clare, no, but I should!


How do these hold together? Are they crumbly. Thinking these would be perfect for an upcoming trip with our toddler. She will love these and a nice healthy snack/meal vs airport/plane food.

HS: Hi Michele, no, they're not particularly crumbly, particularly if you pack them tight before baking, or pan-frying.


Look at those cuties! Welcome back. I am patiently (!) awaiting the new adds from your trip. And, nudge-nudge, a certain shop opening? Plans?

Thanks Amanda! We're definitely hoping to have it so people can drop by the studio seems to get in the way of it happening though. Fingers crossed, soon.


I am so glad you had a nice trip! I am looking forward to hear more about it :) These bites look fantastic! And I love the flavour combination - scrumptious :D x

Jules @ WolfItDown

First of all, you make even parchment strips look beautiful! :-) This is a great little bite, thank you! Have a mentioned before I hope you do a cookbook on travel food?

Lia Huber

These look great!! Any suggestions on making them vegan? I'd like to pack them on my trip to Kenya!

HS: I definitely use egg as the binder here, let me know if you figure out an alternative way!


Your quinoa patties are a staple in my kitchen so I'm pretty sure I'm going to love these bad boys. Can't wait to try 'em!


Wow these sound absolutely amazing and they really are the perfect little snack to bring on the airplane. I too also prefer bringing my own food, so I will have to give these a go. Great travel food - would also work really well for long train rides, bike rides, or picnics! Rae


How much uncooked quinoa equals 2.5 cups cooked? Thanks!


You certainly have a way with travel-friendly bites. I love hearing what you take on trips and how you think about traveling with food. If I didn't want to deal with muffins tins and the parchment strips I'm assuming I could shape these into rounds, pat them down, and bake as patties on a baking sheet?

Katie @ Whole Nourishment

I'm seeing these in our future, not just for dinner, but for a long awaited trip to Mexico..from London the journey is quite long, so these are perfect!


I usually read you in the early morning, in that small span between breakfast and getting ready for work. These appeared in my feed as a small revelation: they saved me a trip to the grocery store looking for something to put on the table for dinner. I have all I need to make them. And they look just perfect. Thank you Heidi!

Valeria | Life Love Food

these sound fantastic! I'm going to make them this week and hopefully get my toddler to eat them too as a protein-rich snack!


Could you do this with another grain? Like faro? I love this idea of a neatly portable snack, but my honey is allergic to quinoa. (yes, she is!)


Now I know what to do with my huge bag of kale. Yum!!


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