Vegan Broccoli Carrot Quinoa Bites
Hi! How has your week been going? We have been blessed with sunshine so far this week and I couldn’t be happier about it. Sunny, warmer temps means more time outside. Having a toddler who loves to run around, climb, and explore means we get stir-crazy pretty quickly when we are stuck inside. I am someone who loves to be on the move too, so the nicer weather this week is giving me life. OH and daylight savings time! I don’t even care that we technically lost an hour of sleep…I’ll gladly take the longer days in the evening so we can head outside to the park or on walks without it looking (and feeling) like midnight at 5:30pm. Although I will admit, it has been a little strange putting Rhys to bed at his normal bedtime (7pm) and it still being light outside. Usually he falls asleep immediately, but the past few nights it has taken him a little longer. We watch him on the monitor sitting up in his crib like “wait a minute, it’s still light out….I should still be playing!”
Nope….it’s bedtime, mister! ;)
Speaking of Rhys, he turned 18 months (a year and a half) last week and as cliche as it is so say, I’m honestly wondering how the heck we got here so fast. Didn't he just turn a year old like last week?! Ugh. It’s this weird feeling of excitement to enter the next stage, but also sadness thinking about how fast it’s all going. It’s crazy to look at a newborn baby now and feel simultaneously like we were in that stage with Rhys just yesterday but also a lifetime ago.
When Rhys started consistently eating solids, he would literally eat anything. I would put Brussels sprouts in front of him and he would eat it all. Salmon? He would eat 2 helpings! He was just a great eater. And he still is - the kid can put food away! #proudmom. BUT, in the last few months he has started to get a little picky. Especially with vegetables and meat.
Our goal has been to introduce all foods to Rhys. Scott and I don’t cook/eat meat at home (Scott does eat meat when we are out at a restaurant, etc.) but we want Rhys to be exposed to as many foods as possible, whether we eat them or not. We do try to give Rhys as much of what we are eating for our normal meals as possible, so often times he is eating mostly plant-based at home because that’s what we have in the house. When he is at my parents house or we are out to eat and there is meat or fish available, we always offer it to him. But lately he has just been spitting it out. It’s not something we are worried about at all (it can be very typical for kids his age not to love meat) because we know he is getting his all his nutritional needs met through the foods we are feeding him. He does eat (and loves) dairy and eggs as well.
The hardest thing for me has been his new pickiness for vegetables. Like I mentioned, he used to eat veggies like a champ but now he is less than thrilled about them. Again, this is very typical for babies/kids his age, but my job as his parent is to continue to offer it to him. Some meals he will eat some, and some meals he doesn’t touch them. Hopefully someday he will come back around to veggies! But in the meantime, I am trying to come up with new ways he will eat them. Rhys loves stews (he is obsessed with the last recipe I posted) and eats foods like quinoa really well. The other night I made a one-pot quinoa, white bean, kale, avocado dish and he practically licked his plate clean! So earlier this week I thought I would try to incorporate veggies into foods I already know he loves. That’s how this recipe was inspired. I have been trying hard to make things that we will all eat. Ain’t nobody got time to make separate meals all the time!
These quinoa bites are loaded with nourishing ingredients like broccoli, carrots, flaxseed, and spelt flour (for more protein). They are a great size for him to grab with his hands, but also big enough so that we feel like we aren’t eating “toddler” food. And the nutritional yeast provides the perfect hint of a “cheesy” flavor which is a win-win for everyone. Scott and I enjoyed these with a big romaine salad and sliced avocado and it seriously hit the spot! I have also been eating them for lunch at home. They have been the perfect easy thing to heat up when Rhys is napping and I am rushing to get work done.
The great thing about these bites is that whoever you are trying to feed - babies, toddlers, kids, or just adults - they seem to be a crowd pleaser! And that’s my favorite kind of meal :)
Vegan Broccoli Carrot Quinoa Bites
| Makes ~20 bites |
1 cup uncooked quinoa
2 cups low-sodium vegetable broth
2 cups frozen (or fresh) broccoli florets
1 cup raw baby carrots
3 Tbsp ground flaxseed meal
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup spelt flour (*use almond meal or oat flour for gluten-free option)
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
juice of 1/2 large lemon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp onion powder
1 tsp sea salt, or to taste
1 tsp black pepper, or to taste
Preheat the oven to 400(F) and line a large baking pan with parchment paper.
Cook the quinoa by adding the dry quinoa and vegetable broth to a medium sized saucepan and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot with a lid and reduce the heat to simmer for about 12-15 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed most of the water. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.
While the quinoa is cooking, steam or cook the broccoli and carrots until tender (about 5-7 minutes). Once tender, transfer to a food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the flaxseed meal, water, and olive oil. Let stand for a few minutes to thicken.
Stir in the spelt flour, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and black pepper until incorporated. Next, add the broccoli carrot mixture and cooked quinoa. Stir until well combined.
Create uniform sized balls of the quinoa mixture using your hands and place them on the prepared baking sheet. You want to really compress and compact them.
Bake the quinoa bites for 24-25 minutes, or until they become crisp on the bottom and golden on top.
Serve with dipping sauce of choice! We made a simple sauce using vegan mayo, ketchup, and sriracha. Enjoy!