These bars are SPECIAL, so special that they received 1st place in the Bars and Brownies category (subcategory Special Diet (sugar-free, gluten-free, vegan)) of the 2017 OC Fair’s culinary competition(just two weeks ago) . Last year I won second place in the same category, so this year I was out to win it! There are some detractors (mainly my sister who has won just about every color ribbon in every category but this one) who say this has to be the easiest category to win, but in this locale (where everyone is so self-conscious about what they eat), I think it has to be the toughest. Anyway, these bars are easy to make–no bake, healthy, and tasty. The popped quinoa is a little hard to find (I buy mine on Amazon) and a little pricey , but don’t worry about it because they are SO good!
Quinoa Pop Bars
- 1 1/2 cup popped quinoa
- 1/2 cup pitted Medjool dates, chopped
- 2 tbl goji berries, chopped
- 2 tbl hemp seeds
- 2 tbl raw pepitas (pumpkin seeds)
- 5 tbl coconut oil
- 3 tbl raw almond butter
- 2 tbl maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 tbl vegan chocolate chips
- Prepare pan for bars. I like to line a loaf pan with parchment paper, which makes for smooth bars and easy cleanup.
- Place popped quinoa, dates, goji berries, hemp seeds, and pepitas in bowl to combine.
- In small pan over low heat, combine coconut oil, almond butter, and maple syrup. Heat up and stir until ingredients come together and it becomes slightly bubbly. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla extract.
- Add the liquid from the pan to the dry ingredients. Stir to combine. Add chocolate chips; stir.
- Place mixture in pan and smooth down with your hands, firmly pressing the mixture into the pan.
- Place in freezer for at least 30 minutes.
- Cut into 6 individual bars and keep in refrigerator.