These vegan cheesy broccoli quinoa bites with sriracha aioli are hearty, flavorful, and totally snack-worthy. They make a crowd-pleasing appetizer and are also a hit with little ones, too (skip the aioli).
These snack-able bites were inspired by the quinoa hash browns I shared a few weeks ago. After those turned out to be a hit in our house, I thought it would be fun to expand upon the original.
This cheesy broccoli version relies on similar ingredients and methods with the additions of chopped broccoli, nutritional yeast (for cheesiness), and smoked paprika for a little smokiness and warmth.
Also, there's no need to shape this version into patties. Simply use a cookie scoop to compact the "dough" and then drop each mound onto a lined baking sheet. Easy.
And did I mention delicious? These are a new favorite recipe of mine. Like classic broccoli bites only so much better, both in terms of taste and healthfulness. They're packed with fiber, healthy fats, omega-3, and protein.
To make these zesty vegan broccoli bites, you'll start by pre-cooking the quinoa and broccoli. Both of which cook up in about 10 minutes flat.
While the quinoa and broccoli cook, whisk together a bit of flaxseed meal, olive oil, and water. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, or until it thickens. This will serve as an egg-like binder to hold the bites together.
Once the quinoa and broccoli are ready, add them to the flaxseed mixture along with a bit of almond flour (or meal), nutritional yeast, lemon juice, smoked paprika, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper.
Give everything a good stir until it looks like this...
The "dough" will be quite damp, and a cookie scoop or small ice cream scoop is a necessity for this reason.
Use a cookie scoop to gather and compress 1 ½-tablespoon mounds of the dough, and then drop each on a lined baking pan.
Once you've formed the dough into mounds, transfer the baking pan to the oven and bake the bites, untouched, for about 25 minutes.
The bottoms should be deep golden brown and crisp and the tops should be a rich golden color.
While the broccoli bites bake, whip up a super simple sriracha aioli by whisking together a bit of vegan mayonnaise and sriracha (or chili garlic sauce—my personal preference).
Serve the bites warm from the oven with the aioli.
Vegan Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites with Sriracha Aioli
Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups filtered water, divided
- 2 cups frozen broccoli florets
- 3 tablespoons flaxseed meal
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- ½ cup almond meal or almond flour*
- ¼ cup nutritional yeast flakes
- 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 ¼ to 1 ½ teaspoons sea salt, to taste
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- Freshly ground black pepper to taste
- ⅓ cup vegan mayonnaise
- 2 tablespoons Sriracha or chile garlic sauce or to taste
For the Cheesy Broccoli Quinoa Bites
- Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.
- Thoroughly rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve or colander. Then, bring 1 ¾ cups of the water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add the quinoa, return to a boil, and cook over medium heat for 10 to 12 minutes, uncovered, or until the quinoa has absorbed most of the water, stirring occasionally. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, cover, and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Steam or cook the broccoli until tender. Strain off any excess water and finely chop. Set aside.
- While the quinoa and broccoli cook, in a large mixing bowl, whisk together the remaining ¼ cup filtered water, the flaxseed meal, and the olive oil. Let stand for 10 minutes to thicken.
- Transfer the cooked quinoa to the mixing bowl with the flaxseed mixture. Stir in the broccoli, almond meal, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, paprika, salt, garlic powder, and black pepper until incorporated.
- Use a 1 ½-tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop out and compact mounds of the quinoa mixture. You want to really compress and compact them into the scoop. Drop each mound onto the baking tray. You should have about 30 mounds.
- Bake the patties for 24 to 26 minutes, or until deep golden brown and crisp on the bottoms and golden on top.
For the Sriracha Aioli
- In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise and Sriracha until smooth. Chill until ready to serve.
- Serve the bites warm from the oven alongside the aioli.
Wow! These little bits are so cute 😱. I love the golden colors. They look like they have been fried but no! Such a healthier alternative. I’m exited to try these!
Thanks, Naïby! Hope you enjoy them! :)
Celeste Jackson says
These look delicious and packed with flavor in a small bite! I can't wait to try them.
Thank you! Hope you enjoy them! :)
These must be perfect as a tasty and easy snack! The photographs are gorgeous too. Thank you for sharing :)
Thanks, Maria! :)
Have you tried freezing these by chance? Thanks!
Hi, Brittany! I haven't, but I have a feeling they'd freeze well and keep for up to a month when frozen.
Maiah Miller says
Not sure if I missed something, but when is the yeast added? Thanks!!
Yikes, good catch. Just edited to correct (it goes in along with the almond meal). Enjoy!
This is my family's favorite healthy recipe. They are so good that my entire family craves these delicious bites. We have made them every other week since the recipe was posted. To speed the preparation, I form patties using a 1/4 cup measuring cup. To make them completely healthy, we skip the mayo and just dip them in sriracha or chili-garlic sauce. Thanks Ashley!
Karen, this feedback makes me smile! So happy to hear you and your family are enjoying the recipe. Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your thoughts and tips, too. Very much appreciated! :)
thats looks yummy
but can i ask you how many calories in that ?
Hi, Rowa! I don't calculate calories for my recipes (please see my FAQ page for why), but there are lots of great calculators online. Enjoy!
Cathy Cheney says
When do you add the snaked paprika?
Ahh, good catch, Cathy! Just updated the post, but it should be added along with the lemon juice, salt, etc.
Hello...delicious recipe! Do you think it would work to freeze balls before baking?
Thanks, Elsie! You probably can get away with freezing them before baking. You'll likely just need to bake them a bit longer!
Melanie Burka says
These are amazing! My son has just started his vegetarian journey :) And being a fully supportive Momma Cat, I am on the internet scouring for yummy and quick prepped meals/snacks! Hes not Vegan, but these were a huge hit! Even my husband said they were yummy...Thanks for the meal idea and I've bookmarked your blog...much luv :)
Melanie, so happy to know you and your family are enjoying this recipe! Your son is lucky to have a wonderful, supportive momma like you. :) Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your thoughts and rating—means so much to me and is helpful for others wanting to make the recipe, too.
This recipe is an absolute keeper! It's supee yummy. I made it for my toddler, and he absolutely loved it! I used both little millet (found in Indian grocery stores) and quinoa. and coarsely ground both almond and pistachio. The rest of the recipe, I followed to the root.
Thanks so much!
Happy to hear you and your little one enjoyed the recipe, Ratna! Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your thoughts and adjustments—means so much to me and is helpful for others, too.
These are DELICIOUS!!! I got adventurous and took a handful of Aldi’s Mozzarella and chopped it up really fine and incorporated into the mix for a little extra cheesy kick...
Thank you for sharing this recipe...this is going to be my new go to party/pot luck recipe!!
Happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Janeen! Thanks for taking time out of your weekend to come back and share your thoughts and rating. Means a lot to me and is helpful for others considering making the recipe, too. :)
Robin Mercado says
It it possible to use any other flour instead of almond flour? It’s pretty expensive and I’d love to make this recipe more affordable!
Hi, Robin! Raw sunflower seed flour is easy to make and much more affordable. Simply process a few cups of raw, unsalted sunflower seeds in a food processor until ground into a flour-like consistency. Hope this helps and enjoy!
Jennifer Farrington says
I made these Sunday for Easter and my whole family devoured them! Even my kids, who claim to not like quinoa and are often suspicious of my vegan food, loved them.
The only changes to the recipe I made where to use fresh broccoli that I steamed.
Thank you so much Ashley! I’ll definitely be making these for holidays and parties in the future.
Very happy to hear you and your family enjoyed these, Jennifer! It's especially heartwarming when the little skeptical ones are swayed into appreciation. :) Thanks for taking time out of your day to share your feedback and rating. Means a lot to me and is helpful for others considering making the recipe, too.
These look so good! Do you think they would be ok cooked and stored in the fridge for an event the next day?
Hi, Kristen! Yes, you can cook and refrigerate them ahead of your event. I'd recommend reheating in the oven at the same temp for maybe 6 to 8 minutes to warm through and crisp back up. Hope this helps and enjoy!
Hi I’m planning to make this recipe but wondering if I can replace the flour with chickpea flour. Thanks
Hi, Charisse! The flavor of chickpea flour is quite a bit stronger and earthier than almond flour and the texture is usually a bit grittier, so it's hard for me to recommend without having tested it myself. If you decide to try it and have time to report back, I'd love to know how it goes. If you're looking for a nut-free alternative, sunflower seed flour will work (process raw sunflower seeds in a food processor until ground into a coarse flour texture). Hope this helps!
Help me please! I made these and they tasted amazing but they did not hold together. They just crumbled in my
Hand when i picked them up. I followed the recipe exactly and used everything you said. Where did I go wrong? Thank you!!
Hi, Rebecca! Hmm, that is very strange and also tough to problem solve without having been there with you. My best guess would be that the flaxseed meal was either ground too coarse or it was old and not gelatinous enough. It's also possible that the bites weren't packed tight enough before baking. I'm sorry you had that experience—I haven't had anyone report this problem before.
Hi would these work without yeast? Could I substitute with something? They look delicious but unfortunately I’ve had bad reactions to nutritional yeast.
Hi, Sara! Nutritional yeast is a really tricky one to substitute in general but especially in these as it's what gives them their cheesy flavor. If you're ok with making regular broccoli bites instead, you can try omitting it altogether. You may need to add a bit more almond meal if they dough is too soft/sticky to form, but other than that it should be straightforward. Hope this helps!
Ashley Kelker says
Delicious! Very easy to make, great to have around for a quick snack!
Happy to hear you're enjoying the recipe, Ashley!
These look amazing, can't wait to try them! What other dios could I use? Siracha is not an option. Would they be good with ranch dressing?
Yes, these would be great with ranch as well!
I made these for Christmas, and the family loved them! The ranch was a hit, it was great to have a couple options. Thank you for the wonderful recipe, Iwill definitely be making this one again!
Happy to hear you and your family enjoyed the recipe, KP! Thanks for taking the time to come back and share your thoughts and rating.