Disclaimer: These quinoa energy bars are not healthy. The word quinoa seems to imply health and nutrition so I want to make sure that’s clear up front. Someone commented on one of my granola bar recipes recently that they were just as unhealthy as store bought bars. Which is totally valid but the thing is that I never claimed they were healthy. I’m pretty sure that comment wouldn’t have appeared on one of my cake recipes. It didn’t bother me but I’m always intrigued by the fact that when some people see a recipe for granola bars they assume they’re going to be healthy. This is not true. The same goes for agave nectar. I recently posted some information about agave on my Facebook page and several people immediately commented about how it’s not a healthy sweetener. It was a similar situation; I was simply describing the difference between light and amber; there was no mention of using it as a healthy substitute. It’s true that marketers jumped on agave nectar as this healthy alternative to sugar but that myth has been completely debunked. It was a marketing gimmick. Agave nectar is not healthy. Homemade granola bars are not automatically healthy. So now that I’ve stated that up front, there should be no confusion!
These quinoa bars? They have refined sugar, maple syrup, brown rice syrup and butter. They’re totally delicious and not healthy. I’ve included some substitution options on the recipe if you’d like to lighten them up. Butter can be swapped with coconut oil and the sugar can be reduced. The bars won’t be as tasty but it will work. So what claims am I making? These bars are a great midday snack. The quinoa, nuts and almond butter are filling and will help tide you over until dinner. The same ingredients will also offer a nice burst of energy. The sugar will also help give you that last push to get through the afternoon slump.
Yields 16 servings
5 minPrep Time
35 minCook Time
40 minTotal Time
- 1 1/3 cups rolled oats
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/3 cup quinoa flour
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup pitted dates, chopped finely
- 1 1/3 cup cashews, chopped finely
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons brown rice syrup
- 1 tablespoon water
- 1/3 cup almond or peanut butter
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x9 brownie pan with parchment paper and lightly grease with either butter or baking spray.
- In a large bowl, combine rolled oats, quinoa, sugar, quinoa flour, salt, cinnamon, dates and cashews.
- In a smaller bowl, combine vanilla extract, melted butter, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, water and almond butter.
- Mix the wet ingredients into the dry and combine evenly. Pour ingredients into the greased pan. Use plastic wrap to firmly press the mixture down evenly so that it's in the corners and flat on top.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes. Look for browning around the edges.
- Allow the bars to finish cooling completely before cutting. They're easiest to cut when chilled.
These are about as sweet as store bought granola bars. To make them less sweet, use 1/4 to 1/3 cup sugar instead. Coconut oil can be used in place of butter and corn syrup can be used in place of brown rice syrup.