Toasted Quinoa Cashew Cranberry Bars

A few weeks ago I bought some tri-color quinoa from the bulk food section at Whole Foods. After grinding most of it into flour to use in quinoa chocolate chip blondies, I started thinking about ways to use the rest and came up with these bars.  Because they were experimental, I made them in a loaf pan so that I wouldn’t feel bad if I had to throw them out.  But as luck would have it, they held together and tasted great.

Quinoa Bars

As mentioned, by biggest concern as I put these in the oven was that the bars wouldn’t hold together and I’d be stuck eating them like granola. Sure enough, when I tried to lift the foil out of the pan while warm, the bars started to crumble. I let them cool a little more then finished off the cooling process in the refrigerator. This time, they held together nicely, though they did crumble a little around the edges. But overall, the flavors went really well together and the bars were pretty thanks to the tri-color quinoa.  That being said, I’m sure regular quinoa would be fine, too.

quinoa-bars-2

Toasted Quinoa Cashew Cranberry Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Granola bars made with quinoa, oats, cashews and dried cranberries
Author:
Recipe type: Snack
Cuisine: American
Serves: 5
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup tri-color quinoa
  • 1 scant cup quick cooking oats (slightly less than 1 cup)
  • 1 large pinch salt
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 tablespoon vegetable oil (or use another 1/2 tablespoon of butter)
  • 2 (generous!) tablespoons honey
  • 2 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • Small handful of cashews (I used salted)
  • Small handful of dried cranberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a 9x5 inch metal loaf pan with nonstick foil. Set aside.
  2. Rinse ½ cup of quinoa using your favorite method. I like to put it in a bowl, cover it with water, dump it all into a sieve, then rinse some more. Let the quinoa air dry a bit on paper towels.
  3. Heat the saucepan over medium and add the quinoa. Stir it every so often until you hear it pop. Using my gas stove, this takes about five minutes. If nothing is happening, raise the heat.
  4. Dump the toasted quinoa, into a separate bowl and toss in the oats and salt.
  5. In the saucepan you used to toast the quinoa, melt the butter over medium heat. Reduce heat to low and add oil, sugar and honey. Stir until sugar is dissolved, then remove from heat. Stir in vanilla. Add the quinoa mixture and stir to coat, then stir in the cashews and cranberries. Pour batter into the lined loaf pan and press it down as tightly as you possibly can.
  6. Bake for about 10 to 12 minutes, then let cool at room temperature. Transfer to the refrigerator and chill for several hours or until very firm. Slice into bars.
  7. Note: Bars will not hold together if you attempt to cut them while warm. They need to be cool. However, if you get them TOO cold in the refrigerator, it’s possible they’ll break. The best time to cut them is when they are completely cool but not yet cold.
Notes
I've made these with and without the final 12 minutes of baking. Both versions work, but they hold together a little better if you bake them for a bit. Also, if you are using a heavy metal saucepan such as an All-Clad pan, be careful adding the butter to the hot pan. I recommend lifting the pan from the burner and letting the butter melt over residual heat. Return the pan to the burner and lower the heat as you add the other ingredients.

 

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Comments

  1. Caley says

    This makes me want to try an idea I’ve had…using the tiny, tiny pasta (around one millimeter in diameter).

  2. says

    These look good. I just bought more of the tri-colored quinoa at Whole Foods. They seem to be out of the plain and red a lot, but we like this kind to. I never thought of toasting it and adding to a granola bar.

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