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.
Makes 8 bars
- 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
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 350º F
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.
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 350º F oven.
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.
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.
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.