Based on the response to my Date-Sweetened Zee Bars post on Monday, it’s clear that I am but one of many interested in wholesome, naturally sweetened treats that simultaneously deliver a power boost.
So here’s another.
The original idea for these bars stemmed from leftover, cooked quinoa. You may be imagining a cup or two in a zip-top baggie, or perhaps a modest piece of tupperware. If only that were the case. When I was at the height of recipe development for my quinoa book–500 Best Quinoa Recipes–I had heaps of quinoa, cooked, soaked, sprouted, toasted, and ground in a hodge podge of containers that soon overwhelmed our refrigerator. And freezer. It could have been a special edition of Hoarding: Buried Alive. In quinoa.
It was when I turned to our wine refrigerator for storing the excess that Kevin put his foot down.
It’s a good thing, too, because it forced me to devise some additional quick & easy quinoa recipes, pronto. Kevin is as big a fan of homemade energy and power bars as I am, so these quinoa power bars were a natural outcome.
The texture of these bars is in the neighborhood of Larabars and Clifbars and they are gently sweet. Because quinoa is a complete protein, they offer a good boost of protein as well as fiber; you can supplement the protein in the bars further by adding a scoop of your favorite all-natural whey protein powder or vegan protein powder.
Half of a bar before I teach my evening spinning class makes me feel like I have superwoman powers, even if I’ve been dragging through the afternoon. I haven;t asked Kevin if they make him feel like superwoman, too, but he does like them a lot.
I’m feeling inspired by date-sweetened treats, so look for more to come!
- ⅔ cup packed, pitted dates
- ⅓ cup unsweetened natural nut or seed butter (e.g., peanut, sunflower, almond)
- ⅛ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking rolled oats (GF, if needed)
- 1 cup cooked, cooled quinoa (see note below)
- ⅓ cup coarsely chopped toasted walnuts
- ¼ cup semisweet chocolate chips (GF, if needed)
- Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil.
- In food processor, pulse the dates until finely chopped. Add nut butter, salt and vanilla; process until blended. Add the oats, cooled quinoa, and walnuts; pulse until mixture forms a dough. Add chocolate chips; pulse 1 or 2 times to just combine.
- Press mixture into prepared pan (use a large piece of wax paper or plastic wrap to smooth and spread mixture flat).
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Using foil liner, lift mixture from pan and transfer to a cutting board. Peel off foil and cut into 12 bars.
Storage: Individually wrap the bars and store in an airtight container for up to 1 week in the refrigerator OR the freezer for up to 1 month (thaw at room temperature).