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Quinoa Pizza Balls

February 23, 2011

Remember when my mom came to visit us back in December, and we spent the entire weekend making jokes about balls?

Yeah, me too.

I love my mom.

I think I kind of overdid it on the balls that weekend.  I know what you’re thinking—overdoing it on balls?  Impossible! You can never have too many balls.

Actually, that’s not at all true. You can *definitely* have too many balls.

Cake balls—I’m talking about cake balls.


Anyway, after our cake ball extravaganza that weekend, I’ve been avoiding balls of all kind.  There goes my social life (name that movie reference for NWNV bonus points).

But—this morning, I got the sudden urge to whip the balls back out.  I had a plethora of quinoa in the refrigerator, plus some fresh herbs and beans.  I knew I could create some sort of veggie ball delight.  And so…quinoa pizza balls were born!

Quinoa Pizza Balls


1 cup cooked quinoa (already seasoned with garlic salt)

1 cup red beans

5-6 fresh basil leaves

1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

1/3 cup tomato paste (with Italian herbs, if possible)

garlic salt to taste


Mash all ingredients with a fork.  You could also use your food processor, but you want the balls to still have texture, so be careful not to over-process. 

Using your hands, form 1-2 inch balls.  Bake on a nonstick baking sheet for 25-30 minutes at 350 degrees, until the balls are brown and firm.

Here are some pictures of the process:

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DSC_0012 (163)

DSC_0019 (112)

And the balls, after baking:

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DSC_0026 (89)

DSC_0029 (80)

These really could NOT be easier.  And though they aren’t as delicious as cake balls, they’re very tasty, and healthy to boot.  These would be good as a sandwich filler, on top of pasta or a salad, or just on their own.  The combination of the tomato paste with the fresh herbs really gives the balls a delicious Italian flavor.

And who doesn’t like Italian balls? 

64 Comments leave one →
  1. Nicole permalink
    February 23, 2011 6:33 pm


  2. February 23, 2011 6:37 pm

    I love balls…sweet and savory! Yours look perfect!

  3. February 23, 2011 6:55 pm

    OMG love this idea. YUM

  4. February 23, 2011 7:41 pm

    What a fabulous idea!

  5. February 23, 2011 7:53 pm

    The pizza balls look awesome…and the fact that they were easy (or so you say)…even better 🙂

    Beautiful pics, too!

    I can never have too many (dessert) balls 🙂

  6. Ginger permalink
    February 23, 2011 8:12 pm

    Yum, those look delicious! I’ll bet you could make them kind of small and have cute appetizers! I had forgotten how much fun we had making those cake balls in December! I still have bags of decorations, pics, etc. in the cabinet – more fun can be had!!

  7. February 23, 2011 8:21 pm

    Bookmarking this! Looks great! Super photos too!!

  8. February 23, 2011 8:25 pm


    I’m not allowed to do any activities where balls fly at my face….

    Those are a great alternative to meat balls! So money!

    I’ve been craving falafel balls lately… but these would be a close second =) and Duhhhhhh i’d come over and organize your whole darn house! It’s too bad you’re not in NC! boo

  9. February 23, 2011 8:53 pm

    I’m seriously going to make these soon! I love quinoa, and this is such a creative recipe!

  10. February 23, 2011 9:20 pm

    hehe – love your post! These look like a great alternative to meatballs. I certainly had my fill of cake balls and cookie truffle balls over the holidays, so it will be nice to try a savoury recipe.

  11. February 23, 2011 9:36 pm

    Now THAT is my kind of recipe (awkward name included).

  12. February 23, 2011 10:24 pm

    These look wonderful and fun, it would be a perfect appetizer or meat ball alternative. Thanks!

  13. greensandjeans permalink
    February 23, 2011 11:11 pm

    Oh Clueless, how I love you. I remember reading Emma for the first time and yelling “Clueless is genius!” outloud…

  14. February 23, 2011 11:17 pm

    Yum Anna! These look amazing and easy!

  15. February 23, 2011 11:28 pm

    I heart Italian balls 🙂

    Thanks for posting this, I’m saving this recipe as A) I’m an Italian girl and B) Have a huge feedbag of quinoa to go through!

  16. February 24, 2011 1:55 am

    Im glad you whipped the balls back out. They look tasty.

  17. February 24, 2011 2:03 am

    These are genius! What a great idea! I’m definitely going to have to try these!

  18. February 24, 2011 2:31 am

    Oh yum! How creative of you :o) And LOVE the Clueless reference. I probably watched that movie 1000 times back in the day.

  19. February 24, 2011 2:59 am

    Oh man, awesome idea!! I’ll have to try that! Haha.. I just watched Clueless last week..

  20. February 24, 2011 5:48 am

    I don’t think I’ve ever tried Italian balls… Thats a shame.

  21. February 24, 2011 12:37 pm

    These look delectable. I love balls. Especially when they’re meatless. Or made of cake 🙂

  22. February 24, 2011 12:39 pm

    Love me some quinoa balls, haha

    These look great!

  23. February 24, 2011 12:54 pm

    these look amazing! you and I are on the same page with the quinoa recipes!

  24. February 24, 2011 2:33 pm

    Given my border-line-obsessive love of quinoa, I’m definitely making these. And who doesn’t love pizza?!

  25. February 24, 2011 3:29 pm

    Oo, super smart idea! You are so clever with your balls, Anna. Ball jokes really never get old. I remember seeing Clueless in the movie theatre and quoted for the next…decade.. with friends.

  26. February 24, 2011 8:50 pm

    They look fab! I have a million balls jokes on the tip of my tongue… but I’m sure not a one of them is original… sigh…

  27. February 24, 2011 10:23 pm

    Pretty balls! I would love to throw some onto a salad or into a wrap.

    There can never be too many ball jokes. Never.

  28. February 25, 2011 1:11 am

    Who DOESN’T love Italian balls? No joke. These look awesome! 🙂

  29. February 25, 2011 1:34 am

    I just want to write…I love balls…and I mean it, but it just doesn’t look right. These look fantastic. I bet the fresh herbs really made these awesome. Fabulous idea chicky

  30. February 25, 2011 3:37 pm

    Finally, healthy balls. Healthy balls that you can feel comfortable putting in your mouth. Wonderful. Thanks for the recipe and the laugh.

  31. February 26, 2011 2:45 pm

    Oh sweet sweet pizza balls.

    • February 26, 2011 3:36 pm

      Thanks for commenting and sharing my link, Angela!! It really means a lot to me!

  32. February 26, 2011 6:44 pm

    These look amazing! I can’t wait to try them with my toddler. Thanks for this great recipe. 🙂

    P.S. I found your blog through Angela’s link. 🙂

    • February 28, 2011 2:10 pm

      Thanks for commenting!!! I think these would be a hit with toddlers!

  33. February 26, 2011 9:19 pm

    Yum! I have an obsession for eating balls [tehehe] many of the desserts, meals, snacks, that I make are all in ball shape. I’m convinced it’s just funner to eat food that way, so I keep on making them!

    My sister loves making ball jokes. It’s gotten so bad that my whole family is doing it now. We have to be going on 7-8 years of the ball jokes, and they NEVER get old.

    Great recipe 🙂

    • February 28, 2011 2:09 pm

      Haha…yes, ball jokes NEVER get old! 🙂

  34. February 26, 2011 9:43 pm

    These. look. SO. good!! I haven’t had quinoa in far too long – and making it as pizza balls looks to be a good fix for that 😉

  35. February 27, 2011 1:58 am

    delicious! I wil be making these for sure. 🙂

  36. March 3, 2011 8:46 am

    I love quinoa, never would have thought of this in a million years. Yum

  37. January 18, 2012 7:05 pm

    Absolutely loved these and so did my husband! Score one for GF food my hubby will eat!

  38. September 6, 2012 5:59 pm

    Even if this recipe didn’t look absolutely dynamite, I would want you and your mon for my new friends based on the balls alone. Can’t wait to try these delicious balls!

  39. gastronomiette permalink
    January 27, 2014 5:50 pm

    These are AWESOME! Such a smart idea to use beans as a binder. Agh I cannot get over how genius these are.

  40. Heather permalink
    April 6, 2014 11:39 pm

    how many does this make?

  41. February 18, 2015 8:22 pm

    These sound and look great! I am building a community of vegans and would love for you to hop over to and leave a recipe.

  42. Sahj Ray permalink
    April 22, 2016 4:53 am

    i love italian balls

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  44. Brittany permalink
    April 11, 2018 3:38 am

    I found these to be pretty dry . Not sure if I would make them again , or maybe they would be better with more tomatoe paste added to the recipe…


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