Chocolate Quinoa Protein Bars

A few weeks back when I got my protein awakening (preganant women need 60-70g per day!), I started thinking about all the different vegetarian items that have protein.  Of course lentils and beans came to mind, but then it occured to me – quinoa!  Quinoa is a grain that is a complete protein, meaning it contains all nine of the essential amino acids.  It has approximately 8g of protein per cup (cooked).  I’ve used it before:

Three Bean Quinoa Salad
Strawberry Quinoa Salad
Quinoa Loaf with Mushrooms & Peas

I haven’t been eating much of it lately for some reason, but I need to work it back into the rotation.  I was trying to think of other ways to use quinoa and thought that maybe I could make a protein bar out of it, or some kind of granola-type bar, like these oatmeal bars.  A quick Google search told me that someone else has already thought of this and it’s a blog I already read – No Meat Athlete.  Here’s the recipe:

Quinoa Protein Energy Bars

I found this recipe weeks ago and finally got around to making it last night.  I made it exactly as written, using my chocolate brown rice protein powder and chopped walnuts and mini-chocolate chips as the add-ins.  It was pretty easy though I had to use the dreaded food processor.  The only issue I had was at the end when stirring the dough together.  It was so thick that I couldn’t get the wet and the dry ingredients to mesh.  I added a splash of milk and that helped.  Then I mashed it down into the pan and baked as directed.

These bars don’t exactly look pretty:

The top is all crackly and looks a litle dry.  Here’s an inside shot:

Not bad.  But looks don’t matter.  It’s the taste that counts.  Despite appearances, these tasted pretty good!  I mean it’s not the best thing I’ve ever made and it doesn’t taste like a brownie, but it’s not bad at all.  It’s definitely moist and not dry.  I will say that it does taste like the protein powder I used.  So make sure you actually like the protein powder you have if you’re going to use it in this recipe.

I really like this concept of using quinoa in a bar-type snack.  If I wasn’t concerned about protein I probably wouldn’t use protein powder at all.  The author of the recipe says you can sub it with all flour or grind up some oats or nuts into a powder and use that instead.  I am also wondering if I can skip the food processor part and just fold the quinoa into the dough.  I may try that next time so I don’t have to wash that dumb thing.

I had one of these bars for breakfast this morning along with a green smoothie.  I’m going to take another one as a snack today.  With only a few weeks to go until Baby Boy arrives, I may make up a pan of these bars to freeze as easy snacks I can pull out once he’s here (and I’m too exhausted to do anything).  Breastfeeding moms need a lot of protein too, so this issue will be on my mind for awhile.

Any other ideas for using quinoa?  Send ’em my way!


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