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Quinoa & Chia Granola Bars

I’m super excited about this recipe. You see, quinoa and chia seeds are the perfect high-protein, nutrient-dense base for granola bars, but actually making this happen is a serious challenge. Baking with quinoa can be notoriously difficult, as it either ends up moist and mushy, or dry and crunchy… Then, add the additional challenge of getting these little quinoa seeds to hold together in the form of a granola bar and you can imagine how many frustrating batches of half-right granola bars I had in my kitchen before finally nailing this one. The end result is a chewy, tasty, earthy, and nourishing granola bar that’s packed with protein, calories, fruits, nuts, and (of course) the South American staples of quinoa and chia.

Quinoa_Granola_Parchment

Makes 8 bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup cooked white quinoa
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons chia seeds
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup pistachios
  • 1/3 cup dried cherries
  • 1/3 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 1/3 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 cup almond butter
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Quinoa_Granola_Plate

Step Zero

Cook the quinoa. Typically, it’s a ratio of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water. That’s a little too soggy for these bars, so I like to do about 1 cup of quinoa with 1.5 cups of water for quinoa that is cooked, but still quite dry.

Then preheat the oven to 350ΒΊ F

Step One

Just as the quinoa is finished cooking, transfer to a mixing bowl and gently stir in the chia seeds. This is important because the chia seeds will absorb any excess moisture, softening the seeds and further drying out the quinoa.

Step Two

Next, add in the rolled oats, sunflower seeds, pistachios (or other nuts), dried cherries (or other dried fruit), and coconut. Toss together, then add to a baking sheet and toast these ingredients for about 10 minutes in a 350ΒΊ F oven.

Step Three

While the dry ingredients are getting all toasty, prepare the sauce that will be essential to holding these bars together. It took a long time to get these exact ingredients right, so I wouldn’t recommend substituting anything here. In a saucepan, combine the brown rice syrup, almond butter, coconut oil, and vanilla and warm over medium-low heat to dissolve the ingredients. Allow to simmer (stirring regularly) until the dry ingredients are done toasting.

Step Four

After 10 minutes of toasting, transfer the dry ingredients back into the mixing bowl and pour in the sauce. This will be very sticky and you’ll want to move quickly to evenly coat the dry ingredients.

Step Five

Finally, pour this mixture into a 9×9 inch baking pan, press it down evenly to compact, and bake for approximately 20 minutes until the edges just begin to brown, then remove from the oven and allow to cool completely before slicing into 8 bars. This mixture was designed to be chewy but hold together, and I would recommend storing in the refrigerator to keep the bars fully solid. They should keep for at least a week.

Quinoa_Granola_Texture

Quinoa_Granola

14 Comments

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  1. I hate when people ask about changing recipes, but I have goji berries- do you think they’d work in place of the cherries? Because I have everything else and I would really like to make these right NOW!!

    • Hey Beth! I will say, it does get a bit annoying when people ask me how to replace the sweet potatoes in a recipe that’s 90% sweet potatoes (really?!) but this is a perfectly reasonable substitution. In fact, I’m kind of mad I didn’t think of it – goji’s are the perfect dried fruit for these superfood bars! πŸ™‚

  2. I can’t wait to make these! I have been looking for some healthy bars I can make to eat on the run… Seem to keep running out if time for breakfast with 2 little ones!
    Can I just double check as it seems it needs to be just right – is it 1 cup of cooked quinoa (as per ingredients) or uncooked (as in comments/ method).. Thanks.

    • Hi Laura! I hope you love them πŸ™‚ Yes, it is 1 cup of *cooked* quinoa so you’ll probably want to start with at least 3/4 cup of uncooked quinoa + water. I wrote it out that way because you need such a specific amount of the final quinoa and it could vary too much if I gave the dry ingredients. I hope that makes sense!

    • Hi Nina, I specifically mentioned in the steps that no substitutions should be made to the binder portion of this recipe because I don’t think anything else will provide the right stickiness.

  3. I made these yesterday as granola. Took some to work this morning and share with my coworkers. They all love it. They even ask me for the recipe.
    I used hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds , goji berries,cranberries,peanut butter and honey. Delicious. Thanks for sharing with us.

  4. I made these and they were superb. Healthy and tasty. My office friends were asking for more when I shared with them. I added hemp seeds and goji berries as well. Thank you for sharing with us.
    Penny

  5. Made these today, used smaller portions as its my first time. I used 2 bananas instead of brown rice syrup, didn’t use any oats (I thought quinoa is enuff carbs and didn’t want to add more carb content), also added cacao nibs, used cashews and cashew nut butter instead, and sunflower seeds , coconut oil and chia seeds as per recipe. Tastes delicious thank you!

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