I've mentioned before that I like to make healthy baked goods to take with me to school in the morning as a portable breakfast. When I think about it, I actually can't remember the last time I've eaten a storebought granola bar - I've learned that making your own homemade granola bars doesn't take much time or effort, and they are almost guaranteed to be healthier and tastier!
I've bookmarked a ton of different variations of granola bars that I want to try, but the most recent version that caught my eye was these quinoa breakfast bars from Eighty Twenty. I love the idea of incorporating grains and seeds like quinoa into baked goods, because they provide extra fiber and protein to help keep me full for longer.
I modified the original recipe by replacing the egg with mashed banana to keep them vegan. I also eliminated all of the extra sugar because I prefer my granola bars to be less sweet for breakfast. For the add-ins, I used dried cranberries and pumpkin seeds, but feel free to use your own favourite combination of dried fruit and nuts.
These turned out dense and chewy, kind of like a cross between a muffin and a flatbread. The quinoa wasn't detectable once they were baked, but helped to bulk up the granola bar. They had just enough sweetness for me from the banana and cranberries, but if you're not a fan of reduced sugar baked goods, you might want to add a couple tablespoons of brown sugar.
These make a super healthy breakfast or snack, and they're a great way to use up leftover quinoa!
Sugar-Free Quinoa Granola Bars
Adapted from Eighty Twenty
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 a banana, mashed (about 3 tbsp)
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 tbsp molasses
1 tsp vanilla extract
2/3 cup cooked and cooled quinoa
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
Preheat oven to 375° and prepare an 8x8 square baking pan by spraying with cooking spray.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, salt, baking powder and baking soda.
In a separate bowl, mix the mashed banana, applesauce, molasses, and vanilla. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients, stirring until the dry ingredients are incorporated. Fold in the cooked quinoa, oats, cranberries and pumpkin seeds.
Spread mixture evenly into the prepared baking pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-14 minutes, until the top feels firm and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (I cooked mine for 12 minutes).
Remove from oven and let cool before cutting into bars.
Makes 6 bars.