I have a love/hate relationship with granola bars. I love that they are delicious, but I hate how much sugar and junk is (generally) in most commercial brands. I love that you can occasionally find some brands that aren’t high in sugar, fat, or junk, but I hate how much they cost. A box of 6 bars for 10 bucks? Really?! No.
So, I decided that I should make my own. But, I didn’t just want the plain, tried and true oats and peanut butter bars. I wanted something different. I wanted something out of the ordinary and extraordinary. I wanted something with protein, and creaminess, and a certain wow factor. And, while I wanted it to be good for me, I also wanted to be a bit indulgent…because, I mean, if I wanted a really healthy snack, I’d eat carrots or a salad or something. I can’t be perfectly good all the time
Enter quinoa granola bars. I had seen a recipe mentioned somewhere, but where I can’t recall. Though, that recipe called for quinoa flakes, which I don’t have and could find. So, what did I do? I used up the leftover quinoa I had from dinner the other night instead, threw in some oats, spices, nut butter, and flax seeds and called it a day.
And while that was tasty, it wasn’t quite what I was looking for. When I recall having granola bars as a kid, I always thought they were such a treat, probably for a few reasons.
1. We hardly ever (if ever) had a box in the house, so I only got them at when I went over to visit friends. We would get to pick a snack after school and I would bee-line for the box of granola bars.
2. Those granola bars always had chocolate chips, or peanut butter chips, or some kind of sugary goodness nestled into, and on top of, them.
That’s what my bar was missing…the chocolate. How to remedy that, you might ask? Well, it was too late to toss in chocolate chips…which I wouldn’t have wanted to do anyway, since it kind of defeats the point….but I had a jar of Nutella. And out it came. Let me tell you, best marriage ever.
Not only was it chocolatey and sweet, but it also had the delicious hint of hazelnut which complimented the nut butter mixture I had made the bars with. Divine. I had way too many pieces, and then threw them in the freezer cut into portioned sizes.
So, long story short, I would highly suggest the Nutella spread over the top of the bar, if you make it with the ingredients I list. I don’t know if the combination would be as delicious if combined with straight peanut butter, but it’s worth the experimentation.
For a better bar.
FOR SCIENCE.Quinoa and Oat Granola Bars
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1-2 tbsp maple syrup
1/2 c Nuttzo Seven nut & seed butter (can substitute straight peanut butter)
1/4 c peanut butter
1 c cooked quinoa
1 c rolled oats
1/2 c chia seeds
1/2 – 2/3 c coconut flakes
Nutella (optional, but highly recommended)
- In a microwave safe bowl, add the vanilla, the maple syrup, and the nut butters. Microwave, in 15-20 second increments, until melty and smooth. Be sure to stir between blasts.
- Once the wet ingredients are combined and smooth, mix in the quinoa, oats, chia seeds, and coconut flakes.
- Stir until completely coated in the nut butter mixture. It should be sticky, but not swimming in it. If there is more wet ingredients than dry, try adding a 1/4 of oats until it looks for even. It should hold its shape when pressed together.
- Line a baking dish, or cookie sheet, with wax paper. Spread the mixture evenly into the dish.
- Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
- When you’re ready to eat the bars, cut them into portions and spread Nutella on top. (I highly recommend it.) Enjoy with a cup of milk or tea or coffee.