Who needs Lara Bars!
There a bunch of snack bars out there, and some of them are great and simple, and relatively clean. But is it necessary to spend a bunch of money on them when you can make them yourself, and also know what is actually in them. There is always some form of added sugar or preservative in almost everything that you will buy off a shelf, because that is the only way that it can stay on a shelf (makes sense right?).
I am a fan of protein snacks, such as protein brownies, or protein balls, but some people aren’t either wanting added protein, or might just might not enjoy the taste of some proteins. Well I have been toying around with some other alternatives and luckily it is pretty simple no matter what directions you want to take.
Below is a quinoa, fruit, and nut bar that came out great, and was relatively simple to make. You can pretty much any variation of the dried fruit components that you would like, but here was what I did with these.
Quinoa, Fruit and Nut bar
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 1/3 cup dried coconut flakes
- 1 cup of dried apricot
- 1 cup of low sugar dried cranberries
- 1/2 cup of dates
- 1/3 cup golden berries (these are fairly tart, and can be bitter. I like to add them for their tart and sourness to balance out the sweet. But to keep cost lower you can exclude them)
- 1/2 cup fruit juice ( you can use water, or coconut water as well. Just enough to bring the mixture together)
In a 400F degree oven, toast the quinoa, almonds, sunflower seeds, pepitas, and coconut flakes for 10-15 minutes, or until everything has a light brown color. You will want to stir every few minutes just to get even color on everything. Once toasted let it cool before you start to mix.
Add all the toasty bits to a food processor along with the fruit. Pulse the mixture to begin to combine (be careful not to go to hard and fast on this. This is a dense mixture and you don’t to burn out your food processor or unevenly blend the fruit.
Once the mixture seems to be evenly distributed but slowing down on the mixing, add the fruit juice a little at a time. You only want to use enough to get everything together. Too much blending or too much juice and make for a soft or loose bar. Once combined transfer to a cookie sheet lined with parchment, plastic, or is sprayed with a non stick spray and begin to evenly lay everything out into an even layer. Once you have the desired thickness smoothed out, place it in the refrigerator for 4 hours or overnight to allow it to firm up to cut it into bars.
Tips: If you would like a loose or more crumbly mixture, then use less juice and pulsing so you can leave the mixture slightly chunkier. This will allow to have something that you can use as a crumble on oatmeal, ice cream, or yogurts. The more you blend the smoother and denser it will be.
You can also cut these into shapes if you would like or roll them into balls. I find that bars are handy though to keep wrapped in plastic and held to grab when I am headed out the door. Please try it out and let me know what you come up with