The Chewy Quinoa Bar Challenge

This is the first time since going to Toronto that I’ve had five minutes to myself to write and catch up.

Probably not entirely true, but I’ve been so busy since our trip that today is the first day I get to bake/cook quietly.

First off, sorry for not posting any Easter related recipes. I pretended to be an adult last weekend with my GF as we had both our moms come to town with their significant other, our brothers, AND had two friends stay with us! Actually, only our two friends and my brother stayed with us over the weekend, the rest stayed in hotels. But we did host our very first Easter dinner together! Such fun! We had our traditional lamb roast, along with roasted potatoes, lemony chicken, pasta salad and two tons of tzaziki. It wasn’t as fancy or as elaborate as my mom’s usual Easter fare, but our kitchen is half the size as hers and we really wanted to focus on spending time with friends and family and not slave in the kitchen all weekend!

Since then, I’ve spent a couple days running outside to try and burn off all the chocolate weight and food weight!

Oh, we also did go to Quebec city for 32h at the end of this past week for work related things. Honestly, we don’t stop!

So while the beautiful girlfriend is at school today doing a presentation for her MBA class, I am busy testing out a granola bar recipe that was shared by GoGo Quinoa’s Facebook page. It actually comes from Canadian Living, a great site for recipes FYI, and I saw it go by on Facebook and had to try it since finding an allergy friendly granola bar is impossible.

So I went out today in the hopes of finding sunflower seeds or pumpkin seeds that didn’t have any traces of nuts/tree nuts, but ended up coming home with popped quinoa cereals. They are similar to Rice Krispies, but are way healthier!

I sat down to re-read the recipe to make sure I had everything, and that’s when I got upset. Not only is the original recipe full of stuff I didn’t have, but it’s full of high fructose corn syrup, and is generally unhealthy! CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.

Here’s my healthier version of the Chewy Quinoa Bars along with a side by side comparison of the nutritional values.

DSC_0418 copy

You will need

  • 1/2 cup quinoa, toasted
  • 1/2 cup REAL maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup SunButter (sunflower seed butter)
  • 1/3 cup liquid honey
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1 cup dried fruit (I mixed cranberries and apricots)
  • 1 cup of quinoa flakes
  • 1 1/2 cup of old fashion rolled oats
  • 2/3 to 1 cup of puffed quinoa (or Rice Krispies/puffed rice ceral of your liking)
  • 1/4 cup chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut, optional

Preheat your oven at 360 degrees F.

To begin, toast your quinoa in a hot pan like you would toast seeds and spices, for about 8 minutes. Make sure to swirl them around so they don’t burn. You’ll know it’s ready because they will start to pop and crackle. Place them in a big mixing bowl when done.

Put all your liquid ingredients, yes sunbutter is a liquid in this recipe, in a small sauce pot and heat up gently until everything is disolved and you have a smooth yet thick and creamy mixture. Remove from heat and reserve.

In that large mixing bowl where you put your toasted quinoa, dump in the rest of your dry ingredients. Add in your thick and creamy mixture and stir to combine everything. And I mean STIR. Use those arm muscles and make sure that everything is well coated and sticky.

In a deep baking dish, such as Pyrex or ceramic, line it with a piece of parchment paper. Make sure to have some paper go up the sides of the dish because the granola mix will stick to the sides if not, making it hell to remove it.

Dump the granola mix into the dish and pack it down tightly. You want it to be as dense and packed in as possible. Then plop into the oven and bake for 20 minutes.

Once it’s done, let it cool down completely on a wire rack, then lice into bars! It should make 16 bars, depending on the side and depth of your dish, so try to make them as small as possible!

Now onto the comparison with the Canadian Living recipe!

Canadian Living recipe

Calories 376
Carbs 57g
Sugar 28g
Fiber 6g
Protein 9g
Fat 15g
Saturated fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 56mg
Potassium 356mg

Just for those who didn’t click on the link to the original recipe, they called for 1/2 cup of dark corn syrup, which I replaced with maple syrup, 1/2 cup tahini, which I replaced with SunButter, 1/4 cup vegetable oil, which I replaced with coconut oil, and 2/3 cup of pumpkin seeds, which I replaced with puffed quinoa cereals.

My recipe

Calories 285
Carbs 44g
Sugar 15g
Fiber 5g
Protein 6g
Fat 10g
Saturated fat 4g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 36mg
Potassium 180mg

As you can see, if you swap our highly refined ingredients, for things you already have in your cupboards that are closer to their natural state, like honey, maple syrup, even molasses, you’ll find that you’ll reduce your sugar intake, your carbs and your fats, while still having all that sweetness packed in! The protein levels arent as high in my bars, since I opted to not put any seeds in them. Addind pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds would have increased the total amount of protein in my bars, but the fat and carb content as well.

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