Sugar free and vegan puffed quinoa bars made with raw cacao, dates, and nut butter. These no bake snacks are a healthy gluten free riff on a prairie classic, puffed wheat squares.
A midweek pick-me-up! I’m bringing a prairie classic, puffed wheat squares, over to the healthy plant based world today with some chocolate puffed quinoa snack bars. You know what? I love them even more than the corn syrup laden version I grew up (obsessively) eating. This version is sugar free, using dates to hold everything together and adding that much needed caramel flavour. Using quinoa makes these gluten free and a little healthier than puffed rice. I think quinoa has a nicer texture as well – I don’t usually buy it but Graham brought a bag home from work and this recipe has been on my list for a long time!
The bars take about five minutes to make, then half an hour in the freezer – sorry! – before they’re ready, but still, no bake and so simple. Not eating the whole thing before it makes it to the bar stage is the hardest part. I usually choose peanut butter for these but other nut and seed butters will work the same way, and if you ever have hazelnut butter around, make sure to use that. These are oil-free as well.
If you like rice crispy squares, you’ll like these. They’re not super crisp but have the same kind of idea behind them (if you have had puffed wheat squares, they’re spot on). Same goes for if you like chocolate, nut butter, and eating several bars in one sitting and feeling good about it. We finished this batch in two days, mostly me, but I blame it on hormones. As if that would’ve made a difference, hah. So good! I know I’ve been on a bit of a chocolate snack kick lately – these breakfast brownies and flourless chocolate PB cookies are some examples – but it’s what’s happening in my kitchen right now. I’m starting to feel a bit desperate for warm weather and chocolate is always a good idea, especially when it’s so good for you.
There’s an older recipe I shared a few years ago for peanut butter puffed wheat squares made with kamut puffs, but I used honey or brown rice syrup there to sweeten them. I think these are even better and definitely prefer the date-sweetened version these days.
Chocolate Puffed Quinoa Snack Bars
- 100 grams / 3 cups puffed quinoa
- 130 grams / 1/2 cup soft dates packed
- 130 grams / 1/2 cup nut butter
- 125 ml / 1/2 cup nondairy milk*
- 20 grams / 1/4 cup cacao powder
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt**
Line a 20cm / 8 inch square baking tin with parchment paper and place the quinoa into a large mixing bowl.
In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment, add the dates and nut butter. Blend on high until smooth, then add the milk, cacao, cinnamon, and salt. Pulse until fully combined.
Add the date mixture to the quinoa puffs and mix until combined, then press into the lined baking tin. Use damp hands to really press it in and try to make it as even as possible. Place the tin in the freezer for 30 minutes, or refrigerate for a couple of hours, before cutting into 16 squares. Keep refrigerated in a sealed container.
• This is one of those times to use raw cacao if you have it for the extra nutrient boost, since you're not baking these. If you don't have it then use normal cocoa.
* I use oat milk but any type should work, even coconut.
** If your nut butter has salt added, you might want to reduce the amount of salt down to 1/4 teaspoon, depending on personal tastes.