Quinoa Protein Bars

Quinoa Protein Bars

47 comments

Since Moms RUN This Town and Green Plate Rule have teamed up to host the Heart Healthy 5K / 10K / Half Marathon virtual race this month I thought it would be good to talk about foods that are important for fueling your body before and refueling your body after a strenuous workout or run.  I quickly learned while training for the marathon what foods I could and could not eat the night before a long run and the morning of my long runs.  I avoid anything heavy, processed, and fried and stick to simple foods that provided me with lots of energy.  While I think the food you eat is very important, staying hydrated is just as important for performance during workouts.

These quinoa protein bars are so simple to make and store.  This bar has four superfoods for runners.  The combination of quinoa, chia seeds, peanut butter, and banana makes this the perfect thing to eat before or after a long run or workout.  And a little chocolate flavor and hidden green in the Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens never hurts.  These bars are full of fiber, which will help you feel full longer along with other benefits :) , and protein, which helps the muscles repair and recover.

  • Bananas have lots of sugar and potassium, both of which are needs to fuel, refuel and prevent muscles cramps.
  • Quinoa has a 4:1 carbohydrate to protein ratio, which is the optimal ratio for recovery, and is high in lysine, which helps the body absorb calcium and promote tissue growth and repair.
  • Chia seeds, like quinoa, are a complete protein, meaning it provides all the amino acids our bodies need.  The Aztecs knew chia seeds as “running food”.  These tiny seeds are full of protein, calcium, omega’s, antioxidants, and fiber to keep you going strong.  They also can hold up to 10x their weight in water which will help you stay hydrated over a long period of time.
  • Peanut Butter is always a favorite among runners for pre-race, and post-race meals.  It’s tasty, and high in protein and fiber, all of which are important.

Even if you are not a runner, this is a great snack that will help you stay full, fill you with nutrition, and help satisfy any sweet tooth cravings.  I have made them several ways.  The first couple of times I made these I poured the mixture into an 8 x 8 dish and then after freezing cut into squares.  I tried evenly distributing the mixture into 12 muffin tins and then froze and individually wrapped.  And finally, my personal favorite, I rolled them into balls, placed them in the freezer on a cookie sheet and then once frozen stored them in a zip-lock bag.  I like them rolled into balls because it’s the perfect size quick bite.  Three powerful, nutritious, chocolatey bites of goodness.  They need to stay in the freezer since they are raw (with the exception of the quinoa), but you will be surprised how quickly they soften after removing from the freezer.  I usually eat mine within minutes of taking it out.  If it comes to room temperature completely they will get a little sticky but still a great flavor.  So I would recommend eating them within minutes of removing from the freezer.

Your kids will love this for a snack too.  My girls have been enjoying these at snack time with a piece of fruit.

Quinoa Protein Bars
4.0 from 4 reviews
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Recipe: Bar
Author: Victoria – Green Plate Rule
Prep time: 20 mins
Cook time: 2 hours
Total time: 2 hours 20 mins
Serves: 12
This bar is full of superfoods for runners to help fuel the body before a workout and refuel after.
Ingredients
  • 2 cups of cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
  • 1 large banana, peeled
  • 2 pitted dates
  • 2 scoops of Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tbsp agave (optional)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. In a food processor, add peanut butter, banana, dates, Chocolate Greens Powder, and agave (optional). Mix until smooth.
  2. In a medium bowl add the cooked quinoa and peanut butter mixture together. Add chia seeds and chocolate chips and mix well.
  3. Line a 8×8 baking dish with plastic wrap and pour mixture into dish.
  4. Spread until evenly distributed
  5. Freeze until firm, about 2 hours
  6. Then remove from the dish and cut into squares
  7. Wrap individually and put back in the freezer until ready to eat
Notes

If you do not have Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens Powder you can substitute 1 tbsp cocoa powder, but make sure you add a tbsp of sweetener (agave or honey).
You can also roll the mixture into balls and freeze, or distribute mixture into muffin tins and freeze.
They need to be stored in the freezer and are best when eaten within a few minutes of removing.

 

 

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47 comments… read them below or add one

BusyWorkingMama February 3, 2012 at 12:55 pm

These look so interesting! But I don’t like chocolate, so I wonder if dried cranberries or maybe peanut butter chips would work. I love that you used quinoa this way!

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greenplaterule February 3, 2012 at 2:36 pm

Thank you Busy Working Mama! I think dried fruit would work great as a replacement. I’ll working on some alternative flavors! Have a great day! :)

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Debbie Greiner February 6, 2012 at 1:47 pm

These look great!!! I am going to try to make these this week!

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Abby Lauderman February 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

These are delicious! I substituted the peanut butter for Barney Butter brand almond butter as we have a peanut allergy in our household. I used Juice Plus+ complete chocolate flavor instead of Amazing Grass which bumped up protien and carbs as it added a serving of fruit and tofu. I’m on my 4th batch! They disappear fast around here. My baby loves to teethe on them and it’s the perfect snack for our Pre-schooler. The second time I made them I used raisins. All substitutions worked great! Thank you so much for your website, we enjoy all of your ideas and learning new ways to get nutrition into our diet.

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greenplaterule February 6, 2012 at 6:50 pm

Thank you Abby! I’m glad everyone is enjoying. Quinoa teether, who knew? ;) Have a great day.
~Victoria.

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nikki February 29, 2012 at 8:47 pm

where do you get that Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens? I’ve never heard of it. Is it processed? like with chemicals i cant pronounce?
wonder how these would be if you cut out the added sugar from the chocolate chips and agave.

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greenplaterule February 29, 2012 at 9:15 pm

Hi Nikki, Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens is a brand new product, SO TASTY! It is similar to Amazing Grass Chocolate Greens (most Whole Foods Stores carry or online). Both products are raw, organic greens that are infused with cocoa. We do not use anything with chemicals you can’t pronounce on the site. I started the site to show people you can have great food that’s easy to make without all the food additives. If you can’t find either of the greens you could sub cocoa powder. I think they would be okay without agave, I’m not sure about taking out the chocolate chips too. Hope you enjoy them! Have a great day. :)

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greenplaterule March 1, 2012 at 8:19 am

Good morning Nikki! I made the quinoa protein bars this morning without agave, and chocolate chips and you know what….they are still GREAT!! I’m changing the recipe now to make those items optional!! :) If you can’t find Barlean’s Chocolate Silk Greens anywhere you can ask your store if they will start carrying it or check online. Have a great day!

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Nikki March 1, 2012 at 10:23 am

thanks so much for the feedback. i just stumbled upon this site through pinterest and didnt really have time to read through everything but i’ll definitely be checking it all out now. we’re just getting started on this whole foods / mostly plant-based real food lifestyle and I’m finding it a bit difficult. Both my husband and i work full-time, have 2 small kids and many bad habits to overcome. I spend most of my breaks trying to figure out what to eat. especially trying to figure out meatless meals! And there’s just so much to learn and know and so little time to spend figuring it all out. anyway, good to know this is a site i can trust and ill be back for sure. gonna pick up stuff to make these tonight. ill make one batch with dark chocolate chips and one without =) thanks!!

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greenplaterule March 1, 2012 at 8:07 pm

I’m so glad you found us! And congrats to you and your husband for making changes in your diets. It’s not always easy, especially with young kids. I know well, I have a 2 and 4 year old girls. Our society makes eating junk easy, so we are trying to make whole food eating just as easy on this blog. I started following a mostly vegan and gluten-free diet about a year ago so most of my post and recipes are vegan / gluten-free. Then Chef Amy contributes to the blog and she post a little bit of everything, but all healthy and yummy! Every Friday on the blog is Free-Friday with a gluten-free recipe, and Saturdays is always Smoothie Saturday. We talk a lot about getting extra nutrition into kids diets, the dangers of food additives, along with the benefits of eating whole foods. I hope you enjoy! If you ever have question feel free to ask away! Have a great day.
Oh, and tomorrow’s recipe has the quinoa protein bars in it. You’re just in time. I think you’ll enjoy! :)

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Tracy March 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm

can I make these without the banana? not a fan of banana!!! Was not sure if it was part of what keeps them together!!!! And is there a substitute for dates?

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tim May 16, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Is that 2 cups of quinoa before ots cooked or 2 cups of cooked quinoa. I know you u have to cook it first but how much quinoa do I need.

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greenplaterule May 17, 2012 at 4:11 am

Hi Tim, it’s 2 cups of cooked quinoa, that is cooled. 1 cup of uncooked quinoa will give you about 2 cups once it’s cooked. Hope you enjoy!

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Sarah July 23, 2012 at 3:43 pm

I have a peanut allergy, so I can’t use anything with nuts, including peanut butter, almond butter, nutella, etc. Would these still turn out if I left out the peanut butter completely or do you know of any possible substitutions? Thanks!

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greenplaterule July 23, 2012 at 9:30 pm

Hi Sarah, I’m not sure this would work without peanut butter (or some other nut or seed butter), and I can’t think of any great alternative for the recipe. Next time I make these I will play around and see if anything works. I have been working on another protein bar that has nuts as an optional ingredient. I will post it as soon as I finish it. Thanks!

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Sarah August 1, 2012 at 1:18 am

I think Sunflower seed butter is starting to get really popular! Possibly a ground Flax and water combo might work. I love your site, just found it today!! Thanks!!

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greenplaterule August 1, 2012 at 6:57 am

Hi Sarah! Glad you found the site! Sun butter would work well in this recipe for anyone with an allergy! I’m not sure about using flax, though. It is super healthy, and great in a lot of recipes but it does have a flavor that could overpower. Chia seeds have little to no taste, which is why I prefer to use them. Have a great day!

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Kristin July 27, 2012 at 10:27 am

Hi! Love your site..so happy to have found it! :)
Want to make these today….but I couldn’t find any chia seeds. What could I use to replace them?

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greenplaterule July 27, 2012 at 1:54 pm

Hi Kristin, I’m glad you found the site too! I have not tried making these without chia seeds, so I’m not sure how it would work. They help hold everything together. I think you could add a little extra quinoa and it might turnout for you since the batter is already so sticky from peanut butter, banana, and dates, but I’m just not positive. If you try it, let me know! Hope they turn out for you!
Have a great day!

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Kristin July 27, 2012 at 3:23 pm

Hi! I tried them with ground flax seed instead of chia seeds and they turned out great. I never tried quinoa before, and I have to say…I’m still not sure about it…;). Might there be a substitute for it?
Tha ks!
Kristin :)

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greenplaterule August 2, 2012 at 7:57 am

You could always use oats, but you will need more agave or brown rice syrup to add moisture. Someone mentioned using couscous yesterday, although I haven’t tried it before. Hope you find the perfect combination for you!

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Kristen September 8, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Hi Kristin! I found Chia seeds at Trader Joe’s. If you have one nearby go check them out! :-)

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Janae July 30, 2012 at 5:24 pm

Hi!

I wish I had read these comments before venturing to the store for all these items.

I’m going to use the Amazing Grass chocolate infusion powder since my local stores didn’t have Barleans.

But for when I don’t have Amazing Grass available, I am confused as to how I’d substitute the cocoa powder. Is it 1 tbsp cocoa powder and 1 tbsp sweetener instead of the 2 scoops of Barleans?

Also, if you use cocoa, is the sweetener you add with it in addition to the 1 tbsp the recipe already calls for?

I hope I’m not being difficult or confusing. I just bought the packets of Amazing Grass instead of the big tub of it and might want to make these again with cocoa powder instead.

Thanks so much. I’m excited to try them.

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greenplaterule July 30, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Hi Janae. If you are substituting cocoa powder for the Barlean’s or Amazing Grass you will add 1 tbsp cocoa powder, or you could add 2 tbsp…a little extra chocolate never hurts :), and add 1 tbsp of sweetener. You do not necessarily need any extra sweetener, but it’s personal preference. You could taste the batter and adjust as needed. I’ve made these with both Amazing Grass and Barlean’s and it’s great both ways! The chocolate greens add so much flavor…and extra greens!
Have a great day! Enjoy!!

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Kelli August 1, 2012 at 10:41 am

Can you make these with couscous? quinoa is expensive and I cannot afford expensive things right now:/ I would like to get amazing greens as well but I will be using cocoa and agave for now! I love your blog btw it is amazing and has given me inspiration! I am breastfeeding and can’t eat many things right now such as dairy, eggs, onions, and garlic and your blog has given me awesome ideas! so kudos and thanks!

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greenplaterule August 1, 2012 at 4:21 pm

Hi Kelli! I haven’t tried it with couscous but I don’t see a reason why it wouldn’t work. You could also try using rolled oats, but would probably have to add more agave so there is enough moisture. I’m so glad you found the site and that it’s helping you. I had to cut out lots while nursing my first born, so I know just how hard that can be. Kudos to you for sticking to it! Have a great day!

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Kristy Neeley August 1, 2012 at 11:53 pm

Love your recipes! SO hard to find truly healthy truly yummy recipes sometimes! YEAH!! Thanks! Kristy from http://www.apronsandapples.blogspot.com

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greenplaterule August 2, 2012 at 7:57 am

Thank you Kristy! Have a great day.

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Jenna August 14, 2012 at 10:33 am

I would like to try making these as we work to incorporate more whole foods and less processed junk, but I am allergic to bananas. Any thoughts on a substitution or if I can adjust the measurements of other ingredients to keep the consistency of the batter? Thanks for your input!

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greenplaterule August 14, 2012 at 9:05 pm

Hi Jenna, I have not tried these without bananas so I’m not sure how they would work out. Hopefully soon I can give some variations a try because lots of people are asking for different things. The bananas add some sweetness, but also work to hold everything together. Maybe a little extra peanut butter and sweetener would do the trick but I would hate for them to not turn out. Thanks!

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Jimma Attaway August 17, 2012 at 8:13 am

Any information about the nutritional content of these bars? They look terrific – I am a big Quinoa fan, and have an allergy that doesn’t tolerate the Whey too well, so I am trying them.

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greenplaterule August 17, 2012 at 6:21 pm

I usually don’t figure out nutritional info, sorry! If I work on this I will make sure to let you know what it is. Thanks, Jimma!

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Kelli September 4, 2012 at 5:14 am

Yes, please. I too would be interested in the nutritional content of these bars. They are great! Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe.

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ahsley burnett August 26, 2012 at 3:29 pm

I don’t have any dates or agave. Would it still work out?

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greenplaterule August 26, 2012 at 7:45 pm

The dates and agave are the only sweeteners in this recipe, so if you remove them both you loose all the sweetness. I like to use dates as a sweetener since they are natural and also add fiber, but you could replace both with whatever sweetener you have on hand. I have not tried it so I’m not exactly sure how much to use or how it will turn out. I would start with 3 tbsp of sweetener, and add more if needed.

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ahsley burnett August 26, 2012 at 8:22 pm

I ended up going for it! I added honey for a sweetener and my quinoa was a little too moist (my 1st time cooking it) and they wouldn’t roll into balls so I added oats… they turned out pretty good!! thank you so much for the recipe and the help :)

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greenplaterule August 31, 2012 at 6:22 am

Thanks for the feedback, Ashley! So glad they turned out for you. Have a great day!

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Paula October 3, 2012 at 9:17 am

Quinoa Protein Bars:
Do you possibly have the nutrition stats for these. Carbs, Fat, Fiber, Protein..
I’m doing Weight Watchers and really like the idea of these in my recipe file.
I want to try them. Thanks and am really enjoying your website.

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Niki October 6, 2012 at 12:06 am

I loved these!! I’ve made them twice now. I’m not using peanut butter due to a suspect allergy with my 5 month old, so the first time I used tahini. I also subbed the chocolate chips with carob chips. They turned out great! I just finished making another batch with almond butter and dark chocolate chips…amazing. Thanks for sharing these delicious and healthy recipes. I found you through Pinterest and I’m excited to keep reading :)

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Angie October 11, 2012 at 5:15 pm

Please don’t remove this recipe :). I make this almost two times a week for my family. I just recently found your website and I’m on it everyday and I’ve shared it with everyone I know. I’m holistic health coach and your recipes are perfect to share with my clients, friends and family. Thank you for your inspiration!

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greenplaterule October 19, 2012 at 9:01 am

Thank you so much for sharing, Angie! So glad you love them as much as we do! :)

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Dan April 11, 2013 at 9:16 pm

What serving size would you suggest? Made these tonight and they’re awesome. Thanks!!!

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allison chang June 10, 2013 at 2:56 pm

These are great! I might have accidentally dumped too much cocoa powder and turned these into chocolate balls…haha. Second time I made them I left out the quinoa and added coconut flakes and it’s got so much more chocolate-y flavor! Love it!

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Sarah January 9, 2014 at 10:02 am

For first time quinoa users make sure you rinse uncooked quinoa for at least three minutes before preparing with cold water. It will remove the film on quinoa that has a very bitter taste. These look really good and I can’t wait to make them for my family! I have been looking for other things to do with quinoa and chia seeds other then the normal salads and smoothies:)

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Helene January 10, 2014 at 12:11 pm

Need the calorie intake on your recipes that you have posted . Quinoa protein bars?

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Julie January 28, 2014 at 7:12 pm

I’m not 100% sure this is correct. I plugged in all ingredients at caloriecount.com and this is the result:
Nutrition Facts
Serving Size 54 g
Amount Per Serving
Calories 202Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8.0g12%
Saturated Fat 1.9g10%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 7mg0%
Total Carbohydrates 25.9g9%
Dietary Fiber 3.0g12%
Sugars 4.5g
Protein 7.5g
Vitamin A 0% • Vitamin C 2%
Calcium 2% • Iron 16%
Nutrition Grade B+

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Amy February 18, 2014 at 10:09 pm

I made these today (minus the Chia seeds–not good for you–they inhibit the absorption of vital nutrients AND give you ridiculous gas and a terrible bloating feeling). They had a good flavor, but the freezer idea is difficult for people like me who have sensitivity to cold. So, I put them in the refrigerator after I couldn’t tolerate the extreme cold. They were mushy and tasted like they needed to be baked. I will try again, but I will bake them.

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