Quinoa Tots

15 Apr

There is a local wine bar in Capitol Hill near our home. We went there quite some time ago. At the time they had these fantastic quinoa tots with rhubarb ketchup on the menu. We have not been back since, but neither my husband nor I have forgotten about this delicious tots. I have been meaning to try to make them for myself for quite some time.

My main goal was to maintain the ideal texture of the perfect tot: crunchy exterior and a soft on the inside. I also wanted to get the classic cylindrical shape. To ensure the tot stay soft in the inside, sure the tots are piped to a diameter of at least a half-inch.

Warning! This recipe makes a large quantity. Thankfully the fried quinoa tots can be cooled, frozen, and reheated in a 375 degree oven until crispy again.

Quinoa Tots

~ Makes about 300 Tots ~


  • 3 cups dry quinoa
  • 1 medium red onion, finely diced
  • 5 cloves garlic, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus additional for finishing
  • 1 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 large egg


Rinse quinoa to remove any remaining saponin which may be on the quinoa. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Add the quinoa to the boiling water and cook until the grains are al dente and are starting to burst, approximately 12-15 minutes.

While the quinoa is cooking, sauté the onions and garlic in a small amount of butter or olive oil over medium heat until the onions are soft and translucent. Transfer the onions and garlic to a food processor.

Drain the quinoa but reserve the cooking liquid. Add a quarter of the hot quinoa to the food processor along with the salt, smoked paprika, and cayenne pepper. Add just enough of the reserved cooking liquid to process quinoa into a thick paste. Stop and scrape down the sides as necessary. Only add much water as necessary to process the quinoa.

Combine the quinoa paste with the unprocessed quinoa in a large bowl. Allow the quinoa to cool until thick enough to hold its shape. Transfer the quinoa mixture into a pastry bag. Pipe the quinoa mixture into long ropes, a 1/2 to 3/4-inch in diameter, on a parchment lined baking sheets. Refrigerate the piped quinoa for until firmly set, about 3 hours.

Cut the quinoa ropes into tots about an inch to an inch-and-half long. Fry the tots until golden brown and crispy. Drain and sprinkle with salt. Serve hot.

Cool any leftover tots to room-temperature. Spread tots in a single layer on a baking sheet. Freeze tots until frozen solid. Transfer quinoa tots into an air-tight container or plastic bag. To reheat, place frozen tots on a baking sheet. Bake tots for at 375 degrees until crispy and heated through.

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3 Responses to “Quinoa Tots”

  1. cooktocure May 9, 2012 at 11:12 am #

    These sound terrific. Now that I have an oil-less fryer will be trying them! Thank you. Cheers. ~ Hoda

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