March 05, 2012

Quinoa Granola Bars


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.


20 comments:

  1. I've been looking for a really good granola bar recipe to try. I need to have healthier snacks at my desk for the mid-afternoon slump. These look perfect. Add cranberries to anything and I'm sold :) Love the addition of quinoa!

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    1. Yeah, these would be a good snack to keep on hand for emergency hunger or the afternoon slump. If you want other ideas for granola bars, I still love my chickpea granola bars, and my sister is posting a creative one soon too!

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  2. i love the addition of quinoa, too. i wish i could add quinoa to everything, it's just so tasty and healthy. these seem like a great portable breakfast filled with fiber and protein and low on sugar.

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    1. I love quinoa too - I kind of wish I could taste it more in these granola bars, but at least I know its in there!

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  3. Awesome! These have been added to my to do list. I love having home-made bars around for bfast & snacks!

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    1. Me too - I like having something like this for the mornings, and no-bake energy balls for the afternoon. I hope you get a chance to try them soon!

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  4. These would definitely make a good breakfast on the go. I love that you made the recipe vegan! I was also disappointed that I couldn't detect the quinoa in the cookies I posted yesterday, but at least you're still getting the nutritional benefits...

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    1. It's funny that we both posted our quinoa baked goods at the same time! The original non-vegan version did look more cake-like, but I liked the denser bar

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  5. You are always coming up with such fun variations of everyday foods; I love making my own granola bars- these are so unique!

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    1. I can't take credit for the idea, but thanks! I need to make a new batch of granola bars soon, and try out another variation!

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  6. These bars look so compact and filled with healthy ingredients - love them :D

    Cheers
    Choc Chip Uru
    Latest: Double Nutella Cheesecake Brownies

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    1. Thanks! I like to pack lots of ingredients into my granola bars - the more healthy components, the better!

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  7. I have a banana allergy. Any suggestions for a substitue? In love with anything quinoa.
    Megan

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    1. I used the banana as an egg replacer, so you could substitute a different egg replacer. The original recipe called for one egg, so if you can eat eggs, I would suggest that first. If not, then you could try using a flax egg (1 tbsp flax mixed with 3 tbsp water), or maybe adding more applesauce would work. I haven't tried any of those methods on this recipe though, so I can't say for sure if they would turn out the same!

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  8. Just made these and they rock! I will be sharing this recipe on my blog tomorrow! Thanks!

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    1. Thanks, so glad to hear you liked them! Can't wait to see your version too!

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  9. I love using quinoa in sweets! Just came across your blog on Pinterest - have you ever tried quinoa muffins before? I featured them in my post below:
    http://sctosf.com/quinoa-muffins/

    Would be curious to see your take on a quinoa/banana muffin!

    I'll attempt these bars this weekend... great post!

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    1. Thanks - Glad you found me, and those muffins do sound good! I've used dry quinoa in muffins, but I don't think I've tried them with cooked quinoa yet. I'm sure it would make them nice and hearty and filling for breakfast!

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  10. what size pan does this go in

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    1. As I mentioned in the instructions, I used a square 8 by 8 inch pan - hope that helps!

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