1 Bowl Quinoa Crunch Snack Bars

quinoa crunch snack bar drizzled with melted chocolate

Welcome to snack bar 7.0

What are your goals for this year? Besides improving work/life balance, two of my goals include reading more and being more conscious about my nighttime snacking. And successfully baking croissants without ripping my hair out. That’s a whole other (ugly) story.

I try to eat relatively healthy at all my meals, but what is it about 9pm that encourages a giant bowl of those popcorners chips?? (The white cheddar flavor, preferably and always.) Even though I think to myself as I pour myself a bowl: an apple with almond butter is definitely a smarter choice right now. But I never crave AN APPLE. Fruit, unless it’s strawberry ice cream, is not satisfying at 9pm.

Right??

quinoa crunch snack bars drizzled with melted chocolate

I used to keep a batch of snack bars in the refrigerator most weeks. I rotated flavors– and now there’s 7! I’d have one after dinner, but always went back to my 9pm salt fest. I don’t want to completely kick my 9pm bowl-of-salt habit because that’s completely irrational for me (addicted to you popcorners♥), but I’d like to cut back.

To kick things off, I made a batch of salty sweet CRUNCHY chocolate-y snack bars this week. Even though they’re super simple and indefinitely wholesome, they manage to satisfy that craving. And, more importantly, make me really happy. As healthier habits are on a lot of minds this time of year, I think you’re going to appreciate them too.

dry ingredients for snack bars in a glass bowl with a spatula

Everything is mixed together in 1 bowl. That includes:

  • uncooked quinoa
  • oats (use certified GF if needed!)
  • nuts (your favorite)
  • honey
  • nut butter
  • dates
  • chia seeds
  • pumpkin seeds

Hitting major superfoods here! And there’s plenty of room for customization, too. I used almonds, honey, and almond butter. If chia seeds aren’t your thing, you can leave them out. You can also switch the nuts for sunflower seeds and use sunflower seed butter, making the bars completely nut-free. But my favorite favorite favorite part of all is the quinoa. It’s so crunchy, which is a deliciously awesome contrast to the softer dates, oats, and chocolate on top.

Make sure you pulse the dates in a food processor so they turn into a thick paste. Otherwise the bars tend to fall apart.

ingredients for snack bars in a glass bowl with a spatula

I’d like to apologize for how much this next photo resembles bird food.

I promise you’ll love them!

snack bar mixture in a pan lined with parchment paper

overhead image of quinoa crunch snack bars with drizzled chocolate on top

I have 6 more flavors of snack bars: vanilla almond snack bars | chocolate peanut butter snack bars | berry cashew snack bars | chocolate cherry almond snack bars | cashew coconut snack bars | spiced pumpkin seed cranberry snack bars

PS: Do you have any book suggestions? I want to warn you that as much as I WANT to read to relax, I can never make it through a book. I become bored! Or, more often than not, simply find myself constantly checking social media on my phone. Any novels that pull you right in?

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quinoa crunch snack bars drizzled with melted chocolate

Quinoa Crunch Snack Bars

  • Author: Sally
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 22 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: 9 squares or 12 rectangle bars
  • Category: Snacks
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Chewy and crunchy quinoa bars are made with dates, almond butter, oats, honey, and dark chocolate. They are wholesome, salty, and sweet!


Ingredients

  • 5 Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1 cup (80g) old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup (130g) uncooked quinoa
  • 1/2 cup (70g) coarsely chopped almonds
  • 1/2 cup (70g) pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
  • 1 Tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 cup (125g) almond butter
  • 1/3 cup (114g) honey
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 ounces melted semi-sweet or bittersweet chocolate

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 300°F (149°C). Line an 8 or 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper with enough overhang on the sides to easily remove the bars from the pan. Set aside.
  2. Pulse the dates in a food processor until they form a chunky paste. Transfer to a medium bowl. Add the remaining ingredients to the bowl (except for the chocolate). Stir everything together until evenly combined. This will take some arm muscle!
  3. Transfer mixture to prepared baking pan and press very firmly into an even layer. You want it packed in as tight as possible. Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until lightly browned on the edges. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan set on a wire rack for 1 hour, then transfer to the refrigerator to chill for 1 more hour. This firms up the bars which helps them stay together.
  4. Remove bars from the pan using the overhang on the sides and cut into bars. You can drizzle with chocolate before or after cutting.
  5. Individually wrap each bar in plastic wrap or parchment. Store at room temperature for 1 week or in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

  1. Make Ahead Instructions: These bars are freezer friendly. After wrapping individually, freeze for up to 3 months and thaw before enjoying.
  2. Special Tools: Glass Mixing Bowls | Cuisinart Food ProcessorNinja Master Prep | Mariani Pitted DatesGlass Baking Dish

Keywords: snack bars, granola bars, homemade granola bars

180 Comments

  1. These look delicious Sally!! I have been looking for bars made with quinoa but don’t like to buy them in store as the amount of sugar is sometimes just crazy! Thanks for this- will try!! 🙂

    1. Laura ~ Raise Your Garden says:

      Ditto! And Sally, I love these most for that 9 o’clock snack because they contain pumpkin seeds a naturally sleep aid! They really work because they contain tryptophan a mood booster that  also helps you sleep better, so what could be more perfect or a late night snack? And it regulate blood sugar (super hypoglycemic here!)  Thank you for this!!! 

      1. Did not know that about pumpkin seeds!!

    2. Let me know how you like them!

    3. Sally, these bars are delicious! Love them. Question, I’m wondering if it’s safe to use uncooked raw quinoa. I did not rinse the quinoa beforehand either. So because I want to bake these again (and again), I also want to be sure I’m using the quinoa the correct way. Your thoughts?

  2. Books to read? If you like sicence fiction, The Beyonders is awesome! I just fined the series. It’s three books and I could hardly make it to the library fast enough to get the next book! My daughter loves every book she has read by that author, Brandon Mull. She says Candyshop Wars is the next book I should read 🙂

    1. Thanks for the recommendations Rachel!

  3. Kylie Hannas says:

    One of my goals is to successfully bake crossiants as well! If you haven’t already seen it, America’s Test Kitchen has a great recipe in their Bread Illustrated cookbook that recommends using King Arthur’s flour because of the high-but-not-too-high protein content. It looks difficult but better than most of the other recipes I’ve seen. 

    1. That cookbook’s been on my wishlist 🙂 Thanks for the recommendation!

  4. These look great!!!! A good book recommendations are Marne Davis kellogg kick keswick novels!!!! My favorite was definitely the third one!!!!

    1. Thanks Shatha!

  5. Andrea @ Cooking with a Wallflower says:

    These quinoa bars look soo amazing, Sally! And that chocolate drizzle! It’d be perfect for breakfast on the go!

  6. Sophie Stewart says:

    These sound delicious! I think i’ll try them at the weekend. Sophie x

    sophiehmstewart.com

  7. So I’ll pipe in on the book question…I don’t know what sort of fiction you like, but I LOVE The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. It has magic, love, and really beautiful descriptions, but it’s definitely not a young-adult, Harry-Potter thing (not that I don’t love those too 🙂 ). Sara Gruen is really great (Water for Elephants, about a circus, or At the Water’s Edge, about a woman finding her own life despite her ridiculous husband). Gold by Chris Cleave is one of my favorites (about two women who are indoor cyclists competing for Olympic spots, and they are best friends). Me Before You by Jojo Moyes is awesome. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden is another great one…beautiful descriptions! Ahab’s Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund is inspired by a sentence or two in Moby-Dick and imagines a whole life story for the woman who eventually marries Captain Ahab. So. If you need more, I’ve got more 😉

    1. P.S. I don’t know whether you follow Kristan (Confessions of a Cookbook Queen), but she often posts about books she’s enjoyed or wants to read, usually fiction.

    2. Caley – I made note of your suggestions also: these sound awesome! I’m a huge fan of magic for adults :).

      1. Me too!! Thanks Caley!

  8. Patricia @Sweet and Strong says:

    I have seriously been lacking in the reading department since summer so that’s one of my new years resolutions as well.  And  I crave everything sweet late at night and you’re so right, the cravings are NEVER satisfied with fruit.  I have been making what I call energy balls to satisfy my sweet tooth, love the idea of making bars though!  As always can’t wait to try these!

    1. There’s a ton of AWESOME book suggestions in these comments if you need help finding a new one!

  9. You could try Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. Its the first book in the Outlander Series; very well written (historical romance but so much better than typical Regency era romance novels.) I also agree with Water for Elephants being a good choice. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak is set during World War Two and is narrated by Death. All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr also takes place during World War Two.

    1. Ditto to Outlander! It’s a terrific series (I’m currently on book 7), and is also a series on Starz. If you enjoy a good cry, then read anything by Nicholas Sparks (especially ‘The Best of Me’). If you’re a nerd like me, you can’t go wrong with some good old fashioned Jane Austen novels. 

      1. Thanks for the suggestions!!

  10. Tori//Gringalicious.com says:

    I love this brilliant way to snack, Sally! I totally have to try these next time I need a craving fix!

  11. My husband is allergic to dates and pretty much all healthy snack bar recipes I’ve seen include them… I haven’t been able to think of an appropriate substitute and I would love to hear your thoughts! Thank you!

    1. I love dried prunes instead of dates for most baked goods – maybe give that a go?

      1. Oh, and raisins too – but then again I’m a bit of a raisin fanatic 🙂

    2. I agree about the raisins. Just chop them up super fine or pulse a couple times in the food processor.

      1. Ah, that is genius! Thank you both!! 

  12. Mischling by Affinity Konar

  13. I love the idea of adding quinoa for crunch! I’m usually not the biggest fan of dates in bars, but I’m going to give these a try! As for books, I love anything by Liane Moriarty, her books are fun reads, usually with a little mystery thrown in, Big Little Lies is probably my favorite. For something more serious, The Nightingale (by Kristin Hannah) is historical fiction about a two sisters and their struggles to survive German occupation of France, it was one of the best books I read last year!

    1. My friend read The Nightingale and suggested it to me too! That’s definitely on my list. 🙂

  14. I love your granola bars and snack bars, Sally! I always feel so healthy eating them, but know I’m still satisfying that sugar craving. Especially love the drizzle of melted dark chocolate on top…. Maybe the bar taking a whole DIP in dark chocolate would be even better? Hey still healthier than a cookie 😉 Tip for getting into books and staying interested is to start with non-fiction – information and fact books, history books and biographies of celebrities or people you already like. You’re much more likely to stick with the book to the end if you know you’re already somewhat interested in the topic!

    1. I like where your head’s at… more chocolate!

      Great suggestions. I always loved history in school and I *DO* seem to get through cookbooks quite easily 😉

  15. These look amazing! I love anything by Sophie Kinsella. The stories and characters definitely draw you right in!

    1. Thanks for the recommendation Erin!

  16. Sally, thank you for the wonderful recipe! I can’t wait to try it. I never loved quinoa in cooked form, so perhaps this is the ticket. I will make a batch and throw in some spiced nuts – based on your recipe, but with more egg white and way less sugar (I’ve been more salty than sweet lately).

    As for books, I love to read every night before bed to clear my mind of reality. I am in *love* with the Game of Thrones books: they’re captivating and there are so many characters, some are bound to be interesting! I don’t know if you followed the TV show, but even if you did, the books really add to it. I also like classic Agatha Christie murder mysteries. It’s all about what mood I’m in. Hope you find something you enjoy! I’d love to hear about it when you do.

    1. Can I admit that I haven’t watched Game of Thrones? Ever. But I’ve heard the books are INCREDIBLE. Thanks for reminding me!!

      When I pick out some new reads, I’ll definitely share. 🙂

  17. These bars look great Sally– I need to try them. I have also been trying to read more and Social Media less! Put your phone just in the other room as you sit down to read. We are so used to answering every text/phone call immediately, checking every reply on FB, etc. How many phone calls and texts/social media notifications are life threatening emergencies? Very, very few. Honestly, being “disconnected” for a couple of hours a day (or more!) isn’t going to kill us! As far as great reads– I always recommend Francine Rivers books. She is a Christian author, but there is nothing sappy or cheesy about her books. They are very hard hitting and deal with tough issues of life. My favorite is Redeeming Love, based loosely on the book of Hosea. The first couple of chapters are actually a bit hard to get through because of the subject matter, but once you get through those, it is an amazing story of love and forgiveness!

    1. You hit the nail on the head. I’m trying so hard to leave my phone in the other room during most of the day. It’s been blissfully refreshing. And thank you for the wonderful book recommendation!

  18. Book to read – If you like scary, creepy books, try Pretty Girls by Karin Slaughter.  Totally sucks you in & you won’t be able to put it down!  It is scary though, my heart was pounding at parts that I was reading late at night (but so had to find out what was coming next!!)

    1. Great suggestion!!

  19. I promise that you won’t get bored or fall asleep with”Confessions of a Neurotic Hitwomam!” One of the best books/series I’ve ever read, and funny too. Enjoy!

    1. I’ve heard it’s awesome. Checking it out! Thanks Kathleen.

  20. ooohh I cannot wait to make these bars 🙂

    Typically I read “chick-flick” kind of books that are a breeze to read; but it’s the more serious ones that always stick with me. If you haven’t read Kite Runner yet, it’s unbelievable. He also wrote A Thousand Splendid Suns, which I thought was even more moving as the main characters are female. They take place in the middle-east, are eye-opening, and extremely captivating. I couldn’t stop reading either book once I started. 

    I also recommend all of the Nicholas Spark’s books. I always sob my eyes out but they are just soooo good. Happy Reading!

    1. Nicholas Sparks makes me cry so much! My sister was staying with us while I was reading ‘The Best of Me’. I finished it one night in my room and went downstairs sobbing. Like, snot coming out, blubbering like a fool, sobbing. My sis thought my husband and I has had an areguemtn, and when I told her it was because of the book, she told me I was the biggest nerd she’d ever met. Haha.

      1. Ugh, typos…not “has had”, “had had” and “argument”!

      2. Haha that sounds JUST like me! My old roomies would always make so much fun of me as I read his books. You would think something horrible had happened hearing and seeing me bawl my eyes out lol.

    2. I’ve heard (and seen) a ton of wonderful reviews about Kite Runner! Great suggestion, thank you 🙂

  21. These bars look amazing! I was just thinking last night that I needed a new bar recipe in my life, so thank you 🙂
    As for books, my two all time favorites that I just couldn’t put down from the last two years are Dark Matter by Blake Crouch, The Martian by Andy Weir and The Nightingale by Kristen Hannah. Though I agree with previous comments about Sara Gruens novels, they’re good as well.

    1. Thanks for all these suggestions!

  22. ***whoops that was three, not two

  23. Sally,
    I live in a tiny NYC apartment and cannot own/store a food processor. I do have date syrup though. Could you suggest how I might use this instead of trying to turn dates into a paste with a food processor?

    1. I live in a tiny San Francisco apartment, so I use a small Ninja Blender for all recipes that recommend food processors. It works so well!

      1. I actually used my little ninja for this too!

    2. Hi Catherine! Instead, I suggest chopping the dates up super super fine. Then mash them up a bit with a fork. You’ll be OK that way 🙂

  24. Hi! Do you wash the quinoa? As far as I know, you should rinse it several times, to get the saponina off. The water should be clean and bubbleless (does that word exist?) At least in Argentina, the one I buy it’s not clean.

    1. I do suggest washing the quinoa if it is not already pre-rinsed.

  25. Michelle @ Brown Butter and Biscuits says:

    These look like the perfect late night snack! I too have a problem with unhealthy night snacking… why do we never crave an apple at that time?! Thanks for the recipe!!

  26. Deb Allmeyer says:

    2 things I love about retirement, baking and reading!  ” A Man Called Ove” is so charming!  Anything by Fredrik Backman is fun reading!  And my all time favorite..” The Book Thief”. Amazing book..

    1. Thank you for the suggestions!

  27. These look amazing! I can’t wait to make them. One of my goals is to eat healthier and more whole foods. I love quinoa and have been looking for ways to incorporate it more into my diet. 

    As for books, if you like fairy tales with a twist, I suggest either the Elemental Masters or 500 Kingdoms series, both by Mercedes Lackey. They are pure fantasy with both romantic and mystery twists. I absolutely love them and have read both series multiple times. 

    Hope your New Year got off to a great start!

    1. That’s a good sign that you’ve read them more than once! I’ll definitely check them out, thank you!

  28. What a great way to get some grains in!
    kari
    http://sweetteasweetie.com/antioxidant-smoothie-post-raisin-bran/

  29. I LOVE your snack bars and can’t wait to try these!! Serious yum! I LOVE quinoa and chia seeds!!
    You should check out the author Karen Kingsbury!! She is sooo good and I absolutely LOVE her books! Also Melanie Dickerson, she writes more for teenagers, but if you like fairy tale type stories, those are awesome! My favorite is the “Merchants Daughter.” A twist off of the Beauty and the Beast Disney, (one of my favorites!!) The author Katy Ganshert is good too! 😀 Hope this helps! <3

    1. Wonderful suggestions, Mattie– thank you! So many books to scope out.

  30. Sara @ Last Night's Feast says:

    These look fantastic, Sally!

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