Quinoa Protein Bars

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Pack these delicious bars for your mid-morning snack or before your next workout.

quinoa protein bars snack

When you’re craving a less-than-healthy snack, look to these Quinoa Protein Bars instead. They’re a great way to satisfy your cravings while still maintaining a healthy diet. This delectable snack combines quinoa and dark chocolate, as well as other superfoods, to create a tasty treat. It’s a perfect snack for before or after a workout, and it definitely satisfies when that afternoon sweet-tooth craving hits.

If you’re on a gluten-free diet, you’ll especially love these Quinoa Protein Bars. Having quick-and-easy access to a healthy treat that also happens to be gluten-free is like hitting the jackpot! Unlike store-bought gluten-free snacks that are packed full of refined sugar, all the sugars in this tasty treat are naturally occurring from the dates and raw honey.

Superfood Quinoa

Quinoa is one of the most versatile superfoods you can eat. Superfoods are natural, unprocessed foods that are low in calories and high in nutrients. They help the body fight disease and provide it with what it needs to be in excellent health.

As compared to other grains, quinoa contains higher-than-average levels of nutrients. It’s an excellent source of fiber, and it also happens to be a complete protein. That means it contains all the essential amino acids your body needs (just like meat), so it’s a great plant-based way to get your protein. Its also full of antioxidants and minerals, like manganese, folate, iron, and zinc.

Luckily, quinoa is super easy to cook, too (and we have a few secrets for making the perfect light and fluffy quinoa). Once you let it cool, you can easily throw together the remaining ingredients and whip up a batch of these tasty, nutritious Quinoa Protein Bites. You can store them for several days, so enjoy these as a grab-and-go snack all week long!

Have Some Fun with this Recipe!

To create a little variety or to accommodate any food allergies, sunflower butter and pumpkin seeds are great alternatives to peanut and almond butters. You can make your own alternative nut butter, or check out these seven healthy nut butter brands if you want a store-bought option. As far as other modifications go, feel free to add the chocolate chips directly to the mixture instead of melting them and drizzling on top. Or, omit the chocolate altogether if you’re trying to watch your sugar intake.

Speaking of sugar, you’ll love the way the dates keep the bars moist without providing a distinct flavor. They’re also a healthy, naturally occurring sugar source. They’ll give you a burst of energy without creating a crash later because they’re considered low on the glycemic index.

TIP: Make this recipe into 20 Quinoa Protein Bites, and you’ve got a snack that’s under 100 calories! For more low-calorie snacks, check out these 100-calorie gluten-free snacks, or curb your cravings with one of these foods.

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Quinoa Protein Bars

With superfood ingredients and delicious flavors, this protein bar will energize your day the right way.
Yield 6 people
Serving Size 1 bar
Course Snack
Cuisine Universal

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup quinoa pre-rinsed
  • 2/3 cup water
  • 16 whole dates pitted, no sugar added
  • 1/2 cup almonds raw, with skin
  • 1/3 cup peanut butter natural, crunchy (almond butter is an option)
  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips
  • 1 tablespoon honey optional

Instructions

  • Add quinoa and water to a small sauce, cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and cook approximately 15 minutes or until all water has been absorbed. Cool to room temperature and refrigerate at least 2 hours or overnight.
  • Using a food processor, or high-powered blender, add dates and pulse until they form a ball. Remove dates and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add almonds to the food processor and pulse until finely minced. Be careful not to turn the almonds into mill.
  • Add dates, almonds, peanut butter, and chilled quinoa to the food processor and pulse until ingredients are well combined. Return ingredients to the mixing bowl, shape into six 2-inch x 1-inch bars, about 1-inch thick.
  • In a small saucepan, add chocolate chips and honey, melt over low heat or in a double-boiler. Evenly spread a thin layer of chocolate over the top of each protein bar, return to the refrigerator and allow chocolate to harden. Bars can be stored in an airtight container for several days.
  • Optional, omit the honey and add chocolate chips to the food processor when adding the quinoa.

Nutrition Information

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 376kcal | Carbohydrates: 63g | Protein: 14g | Fat: 13g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 3mg | Fiber: 10g | Sugar: 33g |
SmartPoints (Freestyle): 17
Keywords dairy-free, Gluten-Free, Plant-Based, Vegetarian

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Gale Compton

Gale co-founded SkinnyMs. with a goal to provide women with delicious recipes, fitness routines, and ways to reach their ideal weight. Gale has been featured on the Today Show in which she won a cook off for the best Lasagna. Be sure to search for her winning recipe, Skinny Lasagna Rolls.

Guided by her firm belief in healthy eating and the power of exercise, Gale has written two cookbooks and several fitness ebooks. She earned her Fitness Training Certification from, National Exercise & Sports Trainers Association. Gale loves to run with her dog Maggie and has completed numerous half-marathons.

More by Gale

130 Comments

  1. These look fabulous, but I am on a low carb diet. Do you have any great low carb protein bar recipes you could share. By the way, I LOVE your page !

  2. We have a treenut allergy in our house – can you think of something to substitute for the almonds?

    1. Jennifer, Peanuts are not considered tree nuts…they are actually a legume. To my understanding all other nuts are tree nuts.

    2. We have a severe nut allergy in our house, too. SunButter is totally safe for us, it tastes very close to peanut butter, and can be used as a direct substitute to peanut butter in recipes.

      1. Texmib, WOW…thank-you so much for this info! We'll post on facebook for those weren't aware! We just love our readers…you give us so much good info! Thanks!!!

  3. Is there any other fruit I could use besides dates?  I'm sure I wouldn't taste them, but just knowing they are there, I just don't think I could do it.  

    1. Guest112, Raisins will work…although will take a little long to pulse into a big ball. I'd recommend 1 cup raisins to start and see if you need more…think that should do it!

  4. These sound good but I was wondering if there was a way to cut the carbs as well. Maybe skip the honey with the chocolate and use less chocolate. Even a half serving is double my snack allotment. I am really trying to find lower carb, higher protein options that aren't meat but it's a struggle. I may play around with this to experiment. Thanks for posting.

    1. Neelixntes, I recommend leaving off the chocolate altogether…it's yummy without too. That should bring your carbs way down.

    2. Carbs are a must for a POST workout meal. Complex low GI carbs with protein is needed to help your muscles recover πŸ™‚

      1. Absolutely but when restricted to 175g per day (dietician recommended) they get used up fast with freggies and beans. πŸ™‚

  5. I made these according to the directions and ended up with 14 – 2" x 1" bars, at 1" thickness.

  6. These are the best ever!!!Β  I actually get about 8 bars.Β  The 3rd time I made them, I used mostly dates but had dried peach and some prunes.Β 

  7. These are the best ever!!!Β  I actually get about 8 bars.Β  The 3rd time I made them, I used mostly dates but had dried peach and some prunes.Β 

  8. Maybe figs (stems removed) or apricots?  Dates provide sweetness, so if you go with something less sweet you might want to be sure and add the honey suggested in the recipe.

    1. Ashley, I've used figs the other night, out of dates, and the taste just wasn't that great. I think dates are a must in this recipe!

  9. You have to get past the word 'dates' but I will promise you they are devine in a recipe. My mom made a cake for years that all 3 kids devoured and she wouldn't tell us the 'key' ingrediant until we were adults — dates. Everyone in my family (my own kids) love grandma's 'date cake'.

  10. I agree totally with Jgags14! I make a cake that dates and a ripe banana are the main ingredients and it is amazing. Just give it a try. I swear, you'll become a fan!

  11. These are so good! I was worried it would be too good to be true that they would taste good and be good for me, but it IS true. I used cashew butter and loved them.

  12. I tried this and did not have good luck. I double the recipe. But I evidently did'nt read the recipe through before deciding to do this. I only have a small food proccessor so I could not put it all back in at the end. I kind of neaded and mixed it with my hands. Then I tried spreading it in a pan instead of forming like it mentioned. I burnt my dark chocolate I was going to drizzle on them. When I tried getting it out of the pan it just crumbled. I could'nt form it any longer. I ended up tossing the entire double batch.

  13. I just cooked up 1 cup of quinoa tonight. I may have to try dividing my cooked quinoa into thirds and trying this out. Thanks!

  14. Not a healthy snack. Divide the bar in half and you still have a filling snack. Also, try making the mixture into balls for a quick and low cal pick me up.

  15. It's a protein bar, its supposed to be high. Its good for you protein If you workout and follow a high protein diet, its fine!

  16. Pingback: Homemade Protein Bars…no bake! « Fit Mom Circuit Training
  17. These are so good! I just made them for the second time and left off the honey/chocolate top and added raw cacao nibs into the mixture. It still combined well.

  18. These are amazing! Didn't even need the honey. Can I freeze them? If not, how long will they last in my fridge?

  19. How much cooked Quinoa do I add? I made a bunch recently, but not the measurements listed here. It is cooked up and sitting in a bowl, but I want to make sure the ratios are correct!

  20. Roughly how much cooked quinoa is 1/3 cup uncooked?
    I have some left over and am looking for ways to use it up.

  21. Made these yesterday! Shocked at how delish these are — the dates sweetened it nicely. My picky eater thought they were good. I made 16 smaller 2-bite bars. Entered the recipe on myfitnesspal and it said 123 calories, 14 carbs, 7 fat, 3 protein, 10 sugar, 3 fiber for 16 bars. Did not use honey (doesn't need it), and used semi-sweet chocolate chips (on hand). Tip — store them in airtight container or the quinoa gets a little dry/crunchy on the outside of the bar.

  22. i'm confused why this post is on 'skinny ms.' but the calories are 376 – none of the protein bars in the store even use that many calories! and 33 grams of sugar? that's more than a coca cola! why in the world would you eat this? it's not skinny or good for you at all.

    1. Casey, Great question! The Quinoa Bars nutritional info is based on a fairly large bar, so you might consider making half a bar or rolling into balls. With that said, our bars are made with only Whole Foods. Almonds are high in fats and calories, but they are healthy fats and a great source for antioxidants. Quinoa is a complete protein and a complex carbohydrate, which makes this a perfect food for lasting energy. Dates are probably nature’s sweetest candy. We use dates to sweeten a lot of our desserts and never use refined sugar. Dates too are a superfood and ultra healthy. We realize a lot of people are concerned about calories, as are we. This is why, we give suggestions for lowering calorie content by cutting down the size of the bar. Our focus is primarily on whole minimally processed foods and less on calories. I hope this helps! Feel free to email me with additional questions at [email protected]. πŸ™‚

  23. My goodness these things are DELICIOUS and addictive! I love them! Used a small scoop and drizzled them with chocolate what an Awsome snack! No more cookies for me πŸ˜‰

  24. Just made these and they are delicious. I only had cocoa almonds (not chocolate covered), but the were delicious anyway!

  25. My favorite!! Every Sunday I make a new batch! I have one every morning as soon as I get up before my workout!

    1. Tanya, Thanks so much for letting us know. This is one of our favorites. I’m doing a cooking show today and this is one of the recipes I’ll be making. πŸ™‚

    1. Janet, Somehow that got deleted from the recipe. I just added it back in. It calls for 1/4 cups chocolate chips. Thanks! πŸ™‚

  26. Lisa, It’s 1/4 cup chocolate chips! πŸ™‚ I made these today and shaped them into 1″ balls, dropped a little of melted chocolate in the center and they were yummy & pretty. I called these Quinoa Protein Drops. πŸ™‚

  27. I have a tree nut allergy so I can do the peanut butter no prob but not the almonds. Can I substitute walnuts for the almonds? Thank GOD I'm not allergic to them HAHA!!!

  28. These were the BEST protein bars I have ever made! I combined everything together (using mini chocolate chips), and made 16 bars. Think I'll try the balls next time I make these. Thanks so much for the recipe!

  29. These are delicious! Thanx so much for the recipe. Having to cut out sweets has been hard for me but this fits the bill.

  30. I totally love these but is there a better way to store them? They got gooey in the air tight container.

  31. I made these a few days ago and just stored them in a Pyrex container in my fridge (I'm still eating on them). Made them into balls, got about 25. They are SO good. Will definitely be making them again. Thanks for the great recipe!

  32. Just made these – yummy!! And I'm one of those who HATES dates! I did make 2 changes; one intentional, one unintentional. Instead of using peanut butter, I used peanut butter powder (no chemicals, organic, and only 45 calories per 2T vs. 190 calories in real peanut butter). I added a little water and honey to compensate for the dry powder. I added the chocolate chips to the food processor so I wouldn't have to mess around with frosting these; mixed a bit too long and ended up with chocolate batter. I also just patted the mixture into a loaf pan lined with saran wrap… Thanks for the recipe!!

  33. These were really good! I made them with prunes instead of dates, my choco almond pistachio butter i make in place of pb (since i have an allergy to peanuts), caroub chips with some dark choc. chips & also added some banana & cream & vanilla protein powder to up the protein. Definitely making these again!

  34. I made them with prunes instead of dates, added 2 tablespoons of chia seed, added the chocolate chips to the mix, and made them into 24 tablespoon size balls. I don't have a large food processor, so I mixed it by hand and they turned out great! Thanks for sharing!

  35. Has anyone tried adding Acai powder to these? I am trying to find a tasty way to get my boys to eat Acai, but it just tastes terrible in everything.

  36. I made these but can't anymore!!! Mine didn't turn out in bars and I didn't read well and just mixed the chocolate chips in and I don't think I'm suppose to have eaten half of this in like 24 hours. I crave it. It has a taste that lingers and I stay full till I walk by the fridge again then I forget that I'm suppose to eat food besides this. IT will be a treat like at holidays and such …Thankfully Labor day is just around the corner. πŸ™‚

  37. I am curious if anyone has frozen these? I usually have a 100 calorie snack so would need to make this into 22 or 23 balls. That would take me over three weeks to eat them if I had one per day. I definitely want to try them but need to watch portion size. Thoughts??

    1. Did you try freezing some? I just made my first batch and I'm tickled with the yuminess of this treat but if I keep them in the fridge I know I will eat them too quick. Guess I'll try freezing them, why not?

  38. I just made this, I eliminated the dates, honey and chocolate since my son can't have sugar and certain fruits and added in 2 1/2 swirls of agave and it came out great.

  39. My friend and I just made these, but our nutritional info is way different and we're confused. We love how they taste but are coming up with only 8g of protein per bar – any idea what kind of pb you used? I wonder if that makes up the difference? Or what quinoa? Maybe different types have different amounts of protein?

    1. HB, 14 is correct when it's 8 bars. If you are doing the 20 pieces, then the protein will be lower as will the calories.

    1. Jen, Store them in an airtight container and they should keep for a few days. If you would like them to keep longer than that, store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks.

  40. Help! I just made these bars (they have cooled in the fridge for about 3 hours) and they are very moist like raw cookie dough. They are very tasty but I was hoping for a more dense texture like the picture, more like a Larabar. Something easier to grab on the go. I did mix the chocolate chips in with the remaining ingredients. Any suggestions?

    1. Jenn, These are not very dense. To get them less moist, less water can be used in the mixing process. It's important that the quinoa used is not too wet in the beginning.

  41. My toddler gave me a high five as he ate this for the first time! And he is very picky – he will hardly eat anything and I am trying to work with him. These are a little messy and I had a hard time working with the chocolate (maybe I didn’t melt it enough), but the taste and nutritional content is AMAZING. Thank you for this exceptional recipe.

    1. Pam, There are lots of gluten & dairy free options on the site. This recipe is gluten and dairy free if you use Enjoy Life Chocolate Chips, which we did.

  42. Hi. Great recipe. I was wondering what size date you use. Do you use a larger variety like Medjool or a smaller variety like Deglet Noor. Thanks for your help!

    1. Linda, I’ve used both with good results. Typically, I buy Deglet Noor because they come pitted, whereas Medjool often doesn’t.

  43. The nutritional info states: yields 8 bars. The instructions say to form into 6 bars. The video shows 6 bars. So, if it’s 6 bars instead of 8, then calories per bar are going to be more than 376….????

  44. I just made these. I used walnuts as I didn’t have almonds and added coconut and oats. I didn’t make individual bars. Instead, I scooped all of it into a square baking pan and smooshed it down with another pan on top. Chill and then cut into bars.

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