Amuse Bouche Monday: Moroccan Quinoa Bites

by Julie Kalivretenos on February 22, 2010

{ just a bite to start the week }

Moroccan Quinoa Bites

{ raw vegan, gluten-free, great for a party }

A few nights ago a friend of mine hosted her monthly evening business meeting and recruited my assistance on some healthy, easy finger foods with a raw twist.  Although her meetings are in no way about food, Tessa is known for her creativity and unexpected, innovative touches.  She wanted to replace the typical offerings of chicken wings, mozzarella sticks, and vegetable platters with their accompanying ranch dressing swimming pool with something delicious and optimally healthy, yet undetectable by the attendees.

These quinoa bites are a real flavor experience, so much so that your attention is focused on the fun tart-sweet-spicy-nutty contrasts in your mouth.  No boring “health” food here!

But it is commonly known how insanely healthy quinoa is for us.  You may choose to soak and sprout it to keep it all raw, or cook it in the traditional manner.  Either way, quinoa is so loaded with vital nutrients and minerals like complete-protein amino acids, magnesium, riboflavin, and antioxidants, that your body will greatly benefit from this nutritional gold mine.  The true magic comes in the moroccan flavors: tart preserved lemon, sweet zesty sundried tomatoes, spicy minced jalepeno, and a cinnamon-based seasoning blend.

For this Moroccan style quinoa, I simply tossed in finely chopped preserved lemon, sun-dried tomatoes, green onions, jalepeno, fresh mint, cilantro, and pine nuts.  The mixture was given a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, and finished with sea salt.  Finally, I gave it all a liberal seasoning of Sambhar curry powder.  Sambhar curry is a delicious cinnamon based season-all you can find at Whole Foods in the spice isle.  Alternatively, you can mix together your own seasoning blend of ground cinnamon, coriander, cumin, paprika, and chili powder.

With a melon baller, spoon the quinoa mixture into a cucumber cup: a slender English cucumber cut into 3/4″ segments and hollowed out nearly all the way through with a melon baller. Serve to your guests and hear them “mmmm”, “ooooooh”, and “ahhhhhmmm”, as Tessa’s guests did!

<3, JMK

  • Nathalie Lussier

    I'm ooh-ing and ahh-ing just looking at the photos! Seriously cool stuff Julie. I love your creativity! :)

  • tanyaviola

    That looks so tasty, will have to try it…I've got lots of quinoa on hand :)

  • juliek

    Thanks Nathalie! xoxo

  • juliek

    You will love it!

  • shannonmarie

    It's so cute :-)

  • jwia

    Lovely! Thanks for the great idea – always looking for great new ways to include more whole grains. Never sure if quinoa is actually a grain or a berry but it sure is a nutritional powerhouse. Thanks for your consistent inspirations.

  • Lauren519

    Wow Julie! You amaze me with your fancy raw food! :) LOL! XO!

  • Jenn AKA The Leftover Queen

    These are gorgeous Julie! Great party food indeed!

  • Jen

    As a newbie to raw food, could you please explain how you soaked and sprouted the quinoa or is this a cooked version. Looks delicious!

  • juliek

    Thanks Lauren, lol :)

  • juliek

    Hi Jenn! Yes, they are so yummy and easy to make!

  • polly

    how did u do the quinoa and what is preserved lemon? thx

  • juliek

    To sprout quinoa, just soak desired amount in filtered water in a large bowl for 24-36 hours until the grains begin to sprout. Make sure the water level is at least 1″ over the quinoa amount. Sprouted quinoa will be a bit more firm and dense than cooked.

  • juliek

    The quinoa was soaked and sprouted a little over 24 hours (see my above comment to “Jen”). Preserved lemons are whole lemons that have been brined in a mixture of salt, lemon juice, and water. They're very popular in Moroccan and Mediterranean fare. They're easy to make at home, or you can find them at the Whole Foods Market olive bar.

  • EarthMother – In The Raw

    When I first saw the photo, I thought “Wow, she made little baby stuffed peppers!” Always thinking like a Hungarian. Can't help myself.

    Speaking of which…how's my Dobos Torte coming along? ツ

    Thanks for the heads up on the Sambhar curry. Gonna have to check that one out.


  • EarthMother – In The Raw

    Hi Jen! You can find out more info on sprouting and grab some additional quinoa recipes here: Sprouted Quinoa: The Mother Grain. Enjoy!

  • Heather Iacobacci

    This looks awesome!

  • juliek

    Sambhar curry is SOOO yummy. It's less like a “curry” in the Indian or Thai sense and more like something Moroccan. I love it! Oh, and the torte…well it's definitely original and is under consideration by the “goddesses of the raw desserts” :)

  • juliek

    Thanks Heather. It's not bad if I do say so myself :)

  • Cynthia

    Sounds delicious and your photos make everything look terrific!

  • rawdebbie

    Oh wow Julie, I absolutely love your blog! The recipes are amazing!!! My mouth is watering!!! =)

  • wisteriah

    Ack! I've looked in 2 Whole Foods for Sambhar Curry Powder – is Sambhar the maker of this blend? Where does one find preserved lemon?

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