Quinoa, zucchini and cheese balls gluten free

Quinoa, zucchini and cheese balls gluten free

By 20/05/2015

Italian cooking has changed a great deal particularly when it comes to food being healthier. Meals have become much lighter than they were 30 years ago. The so called empty-trash foods which were thriving in the 80s and early 90s have seen a dramatic decrease.

In Northern Italy many nurseries and primary schools serve organic meals to their pupils. There is a cry out for health and well being. People want to feel healthy and fit and we are beginning to understand more what good food can really do to our bodies and to our mood.

Quinoa has become so popular during the last couple of years and now it is widely used in Italian kitchens too.

I have been cooking quinoa for a long time, in fact I used it a lot mixed with vegetables, cheese, meat or fish during my children's weaning as it is an excellent source of protein. Cultivated at extreme altitudes in the Andes it contains more minerals than most other grains, it is gluten free and contains all 10 most important amino acids.

So from time to time in between my pasta meals I also cook quinoa. I have made these crunchy balls with some zucchini I had in the fridge and cheese and they have proved really popular with the children.

You can serve them with a yogurt dip like a Greek Tzatziki.

  • Prep Time : 30 minutes
  • Cook Time : 20 minutes



Rinse the quinoa under the tap in a meshed strainer. If you can do that for 1 or 2 minutes this will greatly help removing its bitter coating. You could also leave it to soak for 15 minutes in cold water.

Add 2 cups of water, use a 2:1 ratio. So 2 cups of water for every 1 cup of dry quinoa. Add salt and cook over medium heat for 8 min. The quinoa is cooked when the germ separates from the seed. Switch off the heat and drain.

cooked quinoa

Grate the zucchini at julienne 

grating zucchini

In a bowl mix the zucchini, the grated cheese, the quinoa, 2 tbsp of olive oil, the eggs, grated nutmeg and season with salt and pepper.

 mixing up ingredients

Form little balls.

Quinoa Zucchini Bites with Parmesan

Line them up on a baking tray covered by parchment paper. Drizzle with olive oil and bake at 180 C or 350 F for about 20 min until golden.

Quinoa Zucchini Bites with Parmesan

Nice and crunchy 🙂

Quinoa Zucchini Bites with Parmesan Quinoa Zucchini Bites with Parmesan

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11 Responses to Quinoa, zucchini and cheese balls gluten free

  1. la cucina di Molly

    Che bontà queste polpette, leggere e croccanti, sono molto invitanti, bravissima! Baci!

  2. Dottie Sauchelli Balin

    Dear Alida,
    Very interesting post and recipe. I have not made quinoa in a long while, but this sounds really good. Mixed with the cheese and zucchini it truly is a very healthy dish. I don’t think I have made the quinoa the correct way, but I like your way of cooking it. I will try it, that is why I don’t make it much. Thanks for sharing this with us. I think you have a great dish, can’t wait to try this….Have a wonderful week ahead dear friend.
    Dottie 🙂

  3. speedy70

    Mi piace molto la quinoa, deliziose queste polpettine!!!!

    • Alida

      Thank you Angie!

  4. gloria

    Mi piace!!! Lovd these little balls ! I love have zucchini:)

  5. Mel

    These look absolutely delicious. How could I make them egg-free for my allergic toddler? Would you use a flax egg in this recipe?

    • Alida

      Hello Mel! My children loved these. Flax or chia eggs would go well I think as they will add to the flavour and “glue” the ingredients well together. I have both flax and chia seeds for breakfast in my yogurt and I am completely addicted to them!
      Looking forward to meeting you xx

  6. Kate - Gluten Free Alchemist

    I make quinoa patties sometimes which are delicious. I like the idea of making little balls instead….. They would be much easier to eat at picnics!
    These sound delicious. The texture of quinoa done this way is always so good…

  7. Ratna

    As vegans cannot have egg what can we replace

    • Alida

      Some people use chia seeds soaked in water as a binding agent instead of egg. For each egg combine 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds to
      3 tbsp of water. Stir and leave to soak for 5 minutes until it becomes of a sticky egg-like consistency.

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