I dare you to say that 5 times fast ;)
I like the idea of granola bars – a portable snack that sticks to your ribs and staves off hunger until meal time. But let’s be honest – most of the ones commercially available aren’t exactly nutritional powerhouses, and probably won’t tide you over for long. In fact, I would say some are just glorified candy bars – once you top those oats in caramel and coat them in chocolate you aren’t fooling anyone. At least not me.
I’ve never really made a truly good granola bar at home that I loved. The texture was always off – too chewy, too dense, too crumbly. Many pans of trial and error have happened over the years. I go through phases of trying different ingredients and measurements, then just giving up hope and not bothering to try again for ages. But I had purchased a package of little quinoa snack squares recently that had me thinking, I could make something like this, and not have it be so cloyingly sweet (I can’t remember the brand, and they have long since disappeared). I just had to figure out this whole popped quinoa thing.
Thanks to the Google, I was able to find plenty of instructions on popping quinoa – turns out all you need is a deep, heavy bottom pan (like a cast iron Dutch oven), a stove, and the quinoa. A little trial and error, and soon enough I had a small jar of popped quinoa to play with. Tip – don’t go expecting anything spectacular like when you pop corn. You really only get a little pop, and lots of toasty flavour. Hard to snack on as is, but great for adding texture and extra nutrients to other things…like granola bars!
I wanted to make sure my bars had staying power, so they had to include plenty of protein and plenty of fibre, combined with healthy fats…and a few chocolate chips for good measure. I decided to add a little protein powder to the mix, mostly because I had some on hand, but you could leave it out of it’s not your thing. Between the peanuts, peanut butter, and quinoa, you’ll still be getting a good protein boost. They are a great mix of crunchy, chewy, salty, and sweet. Perfect for an afternoon snack or grab a couple on your way out the door for breakfast on the go.
Popper Quinoa Peanut Butter Power Bars
makes one 9” x 13” pan
Forget those sugary prepackaged granola bars, and instead make your own! These easy to make, no bake power bars feature a classic peanut butter chocolate flavour combination, with the addition of popped quinoa for some added protein and a little extra crunch. Sweet, salty, crunchy, and chewy – and totally delicious!
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 2/3 cup smooth, all natural peanut butter
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 2 cups oats
- 1 cup popped quinoa (instructions here)
- 1 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/2 cup salted peanuts
- 1/3 cup vanilla whey protein powder (I used North Coast Naturals Iso-Protein)
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
1. Grease a 9” x 13” baking dish with oil, butter, or cooking spray. Set aside.
2. In a small saucepan over medium heat, combine the maple syrup, peanut butter, and coconut oil. Stir and cook until the mixute is bubbling, approximately 3 – 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in vanilla.
3. In a large bowl, combine the oats, quinoa, coconut, peanuts, protein powder, hemp seeds, and sea salt. Stir until well mixed.
4. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the oat mixture, and stir gently with a spatula until well combined.
5. Transfer to the greased baking dish, cover with parchment paper, and use your hands to spread evenly in the dish. Remove parchment paper and sprinkle chocolate chips over top. Using the parchment paper again, press the mixture firmly in the dish. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares – cut small squares for snack, or larger bars to use as a meal replacement.
Note: Make these gluten free by using certified gluten free oats. Makes these vegan by using your favourite vegan protein powder, or leave it out all together.
Have you made granola bars before? Do you have a tried and true recipe? Share in the comments!