These are dangerous. DANGEROUS. Within 3 days of making these, they were gone. And that was because I forced myself to make them last 3 days. Just saying… be prepared for these to be addictive. It’s a good thing though, because they are super healthy! Caveat at the start!! These need to be kept in the fridge to hold together. Because they are no bake, they need to be cold to stay in bars. If they come to room temperature they can crumble, but they are just as delicious!
As a vegetarian, one of the most important things for me is to make sure I am getting enough protein. One great substitution you can make in a meal is quinoa. While primarily a carbohydrate, quinoa contains a lot more protein than rice so it’s a great food to incorporate into your diet. Normally it’s boiled and served as the base for meals such as a stir fry, I even used it as a thickener in this soup, but did you know you can pop it? Similarly to how you pop popcorn, quinoa can be popped in a saucepan until just toasted a light golden brown. The result is a puffy, crispy grain that would make a fantastic topping for yoghurt, or a great ingredient in a granola bar!
I could have also called these bars “everything I had in the cupboard” bars. Once you have the oat and quinoa base, you really can add whatever you like! I used a mix of almonds, cashews, dried cranberries and dark chocolate, but you could easily substitute any kind of fruit or nuts you prefer. As a food blogger I have come to accumulate quite a bit of store cupboard food so recipes like this are a great way to use some of it up.
I can’t even explain how much I love these granola bars. They are a delicious mix of crispy from the quinoa, chewy from the peanut butter and maple syrup and crunchy from the nutty chunks. I would recommend these for breakfast… but I ate them at ALL times of day. Because they contain only natural ingredients, they hold their shape best when kept in the fridge.
Seriously, don’t hesitate to make these, you won’t regret it!
No Bake Popped Quinoa Granola Bars with Cashews, Peanut Butter and Chocolate
Yields: 18 Granola Bars
135g Rolled Oats
25g Almonds (roughly chopped)
50g Cashew Nuts (roughly chopped)
2 Tablespoons Chia Seeds (optional)
120g Dried Cranberries (Can be replaced with any dried fruit)
135g Peanut Butter
170g maple syrup
1/2 Teaspoon Sea Salt
30g Dark Chocolate Chopped
50g Dark Chocolate melted for drizzling on top
1. Line a 9 x 13 inch baking tray with parchment paper.
2. Heat a large saucepan over a high heat. Add a few kernels of quinoa and when they start to pop add the rest of the quinoa. Make sure the quinoa is in a thin layer at the bottom of the saucepan, cook in batches if you need to. Keep the quinoa moving by tossing in the saucepan so it doesn’t burn. As soon as it turns a light golden brown colour add it to a large bowl.
3. Place all the dry ingredients in a large bowl. Heat the peanut butter and maple syrup for 10-20 seconds in the microwave. Pour over the rest of the ingredients and mix until everything is combined.
4. Press the mixture tightly into the baking tray and place into the freezer for 1 hour. After an hour, remove and drizzle the chocolate over the top. Place back into the fridge for 20 minutes.
5. Remove the block of granola from the tray and cut into bars. Store in the fridge for up to 1 week (if they last that long)
Note – These should be kept in the fridge to help them keep their shape. You could freeze these for up to 3 months.