Quinoa Pizza Balls

It was my first visit to this holistic practitioner, and I knew from the outset it was the place for me. Shutting out the mid-day hubbub of Toronto’s Yonge Street behind me, I swung open the heavy oak door; inside, there was a comfortable hush in the air, like padding through a field of snow.  The receptionist smiled and led me to the plush waiting room where I was offered a cup of freshly brewed ginger tea (Why yes, I’d love some, thanks.). With its deep, cushy sofas, fireplace and infusion of natural light, the room felt like the kind in which I’d be comfortable meditating, or napping, or sinking into a juicy novel.

When it was my turn, I followed the assistant upstairs to the examination room, where she offered me a parrafin wax treatment: one at a time, my hands were immersed into a basin of liquid, lavender-scented wax, caressing my fingers in soothing warmth before the assistant blanketed them in thick terrycloth mitts. Throughout the actual appointment, the doctor explained each procedure and the rationale behind it; at each step of the way, she asked if it was all right to proceed (it was). After about an hour in the chair, I was sad to learn I’d miss the usual final step in the procedure–a complimentary reflexology treatment–as the reflexologist was on vacation that week (Darn! Well, next time.).

I left the office feeling relaxed and pampered, yet impressed by the knowledge, compassion and professional care of the staff. You know, it almost makes me want to head back to the dentist again as soon as I—

What?!  Did I just say, “THE DENTIST”?

That’s right, folks.  That was a dental appointment. Yep, I’m pretty sure I can get behind this whole “holistic dentistry” thing.

After all of your advice,  commiseration and feedback during my Ordeal Number One (the Ordeal of the Root Canal) over the past couple of weeks, I decided to pursue the holistic route. For that, I thank you. And thanks, too, for all the links and information you imparted that led me to this new dentist. At this point, since my pain has subsided substantially and the root is apparently still alive, her best advice is to wait and see, and re-visit in a month or so–so that’s what I’m going to do.

I’m sorry to say that our little Chaser did not have an equally positive experience during her recent appointment at the Vee Eee Tee last week (note to non-dog owners: certain words, like W-A-L-K, or T-R-E-A-T, or the aforementioned V-E-T, must always be spelled out to avoid evoking a canine reaction that can instantly escalate from “happy and alert” to “your sofa has just been ripped into forty-seven pieces.”).

Although our Vee Eee Tee is, herself, extremely warm, knowledgeable and accomplished in her field, none of that means anything to our wee one, who has suffered dread fear ever since her first N-A-I-L trim.  At her annual appointment last week, I fairly had to drag her into the examining room, after which she cowered under the table until the Vee Eee Tee and her assistant coaxed encouraged bribed hauled her out for her shots. It pained me to cradle Chaser’s little head, pupils large as stormclouds, as the Vee Eee Tee administered the rabies vaccine (at which, ironically, Chaser didn’t even flinch; she didn’t feel a thing).

Oddly enough, as I remarked to the Vee Eee Tee, her office is the only place where our Girls literally swap personalities for a time: Elsie, normally as laid back as a hung over surfer snoozing on the beach, transforms into a prancing, whining, leaping spitfire even as we approach the building; while Chaser, normally the epitome of “In Your Face,” trembles uncontrollably, her ears plastered against her head, tail curled so far under her belly that it almost peeks out from her collar, in an effort to evade the N-A-I-L trimmer.

[“Mum, you exaggerate.  I wasn’t cowering under that examining table. . . I was, er, um. . .trying to hide this geeky pink bandage.  Yeah, that’s right. . . I mean, you should have known that all the cool kids at the doggie daycare wear yellow, Mum. ]

Once we finally returned home from the ordeal, I found myself craving comfort food (preferably something easy to cook and not too hard on the teeth).  For the HH, pizza is the quintessential convenience food; but for me, pizza means a homemade crust that is almost never quick to make. Then I remembered a recipe I’d seen almost a year ago on Oh She Glows, for these Quinoa Pizza Balls (unfortunately, I could no longer find the recipe on Angela’s site). Not only quick and easy, they’re also bite-sized so you don’t have to worry about eating half a pizza at one sitting (totally hypothetical example, you understand).

I was enjoying a plate of pizza balls and salad within about half an hour, and let me tell you, they were good. Crispy exterior with a soft, moist center, and a definite flavor of a traditional Margherita pizza (minus the mozzarella, of course), they were just what I needed that afternoon, as The Girls and I recovered from Ordeal Number Two (the Ordeal of the Vee Eee Tee).

“Mum, the pizza balls were okay and everything, but I think I would have preferred that reflexology treament.”

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  1. So glad you both survived your ordeals! These pizza balls look awesome!!!

    • Chava, SO nice to see your name pop up here!! Well, I survived, anyway–I think Chaser is still moping. 😉 And glad the QPB’s look good to you, too! 😀

  2. Hi Ricki!

    Found your blog via Dreena – that is a *fantastic* idea and I can’t wait to give it a go. Hope you get some help and relief from your dinner problems! Glad to have found your blog 🙂

  3. These look awesome!
    I will be trying these for sure x

  4. how delicious! these would be perfect for a party! super cute;)

  5. Where can I find such a dentist in my area, or how can I find one? I live in Colorado..Thanks! I really need one!

    • Hi Michelle,
      I’m in Toronto, so I am really not sure about where to go in the US. However, I imagine a Google search on “holistic dentist” or “alternative dentist” would bring up lots of options for you (that’s how I found mine). 🙂

  6. I think I could definitely get behind holistic dentistry. And I *know* I could get behind these pizza balls!

  7. Ricki, dentist visit tomorrow with implant issues, wish holistic approach would’ve been helpful, not this time around. And the dogs, so glad the visit was not as traumatic, it sounds.

    Ricki, love the idea of quinoa pizza balls, a treat with fresh basil and herbs from our farmers market tomorrow.

    I still want to get two (special right?) of your e-books, by the end of the month? The breakfast and which other would be good for a gluten-free vegan of the others? Thank you,


    • Hi Marty,
      Sorry about the implants–but sometimes these things just can’t be helped. I still don’t know what the ultimate outcome will be re: my tooth.

      And thanks so much for your interest in the ebooks! They are all gluten free and vegan, so you could theoretically just get the one with recipes that appeal most to you. In terms of type of recipes, the books were created with successive stages of the ACD in mind. So Anti-Candida Feast contains mostly Stage One recipes (but not all); Desserts without Compromise has more for Stage Two; and the breakfast book has all three stages. That might be one way to decide!

  8. Oh, Ricki, visiting your blog is always a wonderful treat in every sense of the word! Thanks for sharing your experiences with such lovely imagery and for giving us the healthy version of comfort food that we are craving. Quinoa Pizza Balls are brilliant and look so divine!


    • Aw, Shirley, thank you! I thought they were brilliant, too. . . wish I could say I created that recipe, but mine is just an adaptation! I do think it was a moment of brilliance for Anna. 🙂

  9. These look amazing!I have some leftover veggie stock and tomato paste sitting in my fridge and this will be the perfect use for it!

  10. Completely cute article. 1st time on your site. Love your dog commentary. I really did Laugh Out Loud! Thanx and I love the idea of these little pizza balls.

  11. Ricki: Thank you, now just deciding!

  12. Yum, these look amazing Ricki! Poor Chaser. Glad your visit went well though!

  13. Oooh these look tasty and hearty Ricki! I’d love dipping them into tomato sauce!

  14. I can’t believe your dentist – and I thought I was doing well to have someone who was just a nice guy and didn’t charge like a wounded bull! Now I will be aiming higher!

    Love the sound of the pizza balls – I have got faster with pizza but not this fast – and I love the trendy presentation – food on a stick seems very much plat du jour!

    • It really didn’t feel like being at the dentist, seriously. Of course, I haven’t had a filling done there yet. 😉 And yes, I agree–food on a stick is “in” these days. I was so proud of myself that I finally had a chance to use those little forks!! 🙂

  15. You’ve managed to take everything about the amazingness of pizza and put it into a bite sized morsel of quinoa. Genius! I can’t wait to try it!

  16. Wow, I love this idea, I can’t wait to try these. I’ve been missing pizza a little bit and never thought of making balls, you’re a genius regardless even if it wasn’t your idea. I think I might try adding a little polenta to the mix.

  17. Review:
    I made these tonight with a few variations. I have not specific diets to keep (other than kosher) so I used couscous because I was out of quinoa. And i did add a little cube of raw cheese to the center. They were a bit gooey but tasty. One kid ate them, one kid didn’t but that is very normal! 🙂 Thanks for the creative recipe!

    • Thanks so much! I’m intrigued by the cous cous (which I haven’t had in years). And also the gooey part! Mine were even a little dry, if anything! Was it the cheese that made it gooey?

  18. Pizza with quinoa? Is it possible?? These look delicious! I will be trying them out this Labor Day weekend for sure. Thanks for posting!

  19. it is amazing recipe. Thank you!

  20. These pizza balls sound fantastic- I need to keep these in mind for the next time I am craving pizza. 🙂 I hope the holistic dentist works out for you and I hope your teeth feel better soon!

  21. Veggie Sara says

    Those balls are looking fine! 😉 They do look really good and I’ld love to try them.

  22. This is such an amazing recipe! I shared it with my facebook followers via https://www.facebook.com/ACraftyGourmet
    I can’t wait to try it!

  23. I love these! I am always looking for creative quinoa ideas. Thanks.

  24. Ricki, I can see so many fabulous variations on this recipe, using different kinds of beans and seasonings… I’m sure I’ll be stealing this idea very soon 😉

  25. oh yum, these are definitely getting made!! how i wish i had gone to a wholistic dentist… glad you had a good appointment 🙂

  26. Wow! Very tasty! Great use of quinoa! Thanks for this awesome recipe!

  27. What a creative idea!

    I love that you use quinoa. We don’t much like the flavor on it’s own over here. I have successfully incorporated it with a pilaf recipe I came up with. This would be an awesome recipe to try.

    Do you think we could substitute the 2 cups of cooked beans for refried beans? If so, what would the amount be? I’m assuming when you mash the beans the amount is reduced down from 2 cups. I’m just looking for a quick shortcut. With 4 kids this would be a great after school snack before homework.

    • Hi Caryn,

      Thanks so much! I’m not sure I understand your question, though: there are no refried beans in this recipe. You just mash the beans along with everything else–2 cups cooked beans. You can certainly use canned (I think that’s what I did). Hope that answers your question! 🙂

  28. I was out of kidney beans so I used chickpeas [ I think these are called gabanzo beans in the US ] and that worked out fine

  29. Glad to hear that the quinoa pizza balls were a hit! I knew I’d struck gold when I tasted them. They’re one of my favorite recipes! 😉

  30. This is great! I’ve been looking for a way to have meat-free, diary free, gluten free meatball sandwiches. I modified your recipe by adding 2/3c gluten free seasoned italian bread crumbs to the mixture, omitting the herbs, spices and sweetener. Then placed it on a gluten free roll with diary-free cheese and it was delicious!

  31. Hi Ricki,
    I found your site via Pinterest. I love it and I love your wittiness. The whole Vee Eee Tee thing cracked me right up. We have to do the same thing with our two dogs. Love that you included pics by the way. The holistic dentist appointment sounded quite relaxing. Good luck with your tooth. I’m looking forward to trying this recipe. I need some good app ideas as I’m having a bunch of friends over this weekend. I’ll definitely be taking a look around to see what else I can make from your collection. Thank you, Lisa

    • Thanks so much, Lisa, and thanks for taking the time to comment! 🙂 Coincidentally, we were just at the Vee Eee Tee this very evening (here’s my proof) and Elsie was thrilled while Chaser was. . . less than thrilled. 😉 And yes, I still love my holistic dentist! So far (it’s now March 2014), the tooth is still intact, not in pain, and no root canal has been required. I’m going to keep going that way as long as possible. 😀 I hope you enjoy the pizza balls!

  32. I love this recipe and (minus tomato paste which I could get easily), I have all the ingredients! I was wondering why you added stevia drops to the recipe, and if they were necessary. I was wondering if you think the recipe would be great without them?

    • Thanks, Audrey! The stevia serves the same purpose as a dash of sugar would serve in a traditional tomato pasta sauce–it cuts the normal acidity of the tomatoes, so that you don’t get that slightly sour, mouth-puckering acidity in the final product. You could use any sweetener (maybe 1/2 to 1 tsp of sugar or equivalent) for the same effect. If you don’t find plain tomato sauce to be acidic or sour, then you could probably just omit the stevia/sweetener all together. 🙂

  33. Hi Ricki

    I’ve made these before and loved them! Quick question though. I’ve made a batch last week for a party this weekend and have most of them frozen right now (a few had to be ‘taste tested’ of course!)
    What’s the best way to defrost and then serve them again? Do they go ‘soft’ and should they be reheated?
    Thanks so much

    • Hi Kerry,
      So glad you like them!! I love them, too. I’ve made them and frozen them before as well. I find the texture a bit different if they are just defrosted in the fridge and then eaten “straight”–so I always reheat them, even if I want to serve them at room temp later. I’d reheat at about 325F/170C for 25 minutes or so, on a cookie sheet covered loosely with aluminum foil. Then either serve warm or let cool to room temperature. Hope that helps!

  34. These sound amazing! I shared them in a blog here: http://wedigfood.com/foodie-blog/vegan-party-foods I am building a community of vegans and would love for you to hop over and leave a recipe.


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