Quinoa Nut and Fruit Protein Bars

vegan protein bars

Often I don't want to fuss with breakfast, or should I say most of the time, meaning a quick alternative must be on hand for not only morning grazing, but also healthy bites to satisfy cravings whenever they hit. Energy bars have always been a good choice, though most of the store-bought varieties are filled with artificial sweeteners and are just too sweet and stale tasting. Did I mention how costly they are?

The solution is to make your own energy bars at home, for a fraction of the cost, with total control over what you are adding into the mix, and with very little investment in time. As a health conscious vegetarian, I find that these are especially handy for road trips. Pizza, bland oily salads and bagels just don't satisfy hunger when you need a real energy fix on the road. Packed with protein, homemade energy bars are also a great snack to take to work or school. What I particularly like about these homemade bars is that there is no added sweetener — just the goodness of dried fruit and some unsweetened apple juice. Feel free to mix and match your favorite staples. You really can't go wrong with this recipe.

I've adapted this recipe from Power Hungry, a new release by Camilla V. Saulsbury devoted to energy bars. Spanning over 150 pages, there are plenty of ideas for homemade healthy snacks and treats. "Super-Natural Knock-Offs", "Activity Bars", "Endurance Bars", "Protein Bars" and "Raw and Almost Raw Bars" are offered up for our consideration, complete with an informative and comprehensive pantry section. All of the recipes are easily adaptable for vegans as most are dairy-free, and can easily meet gluten-free requirements. The book is also soy-free. If you are looking for ways to incorporate more seeds, nuts, dried fruits and grains into your diet, then I would highly recommend this book. I know already that this recipe is only the first of many that I will try. I'm already planning to make cherry pie bars, black bean protein brownies, citrus seed fruit bars, chickpea champion bars, Greek yogurt muesli bars and many other ideas from the book.

*Note: I received a complimentary copy of Power Hungry for possible review. The opinions expressed here are my own.

fruit and nut protein bars

Quinoa Nut and Fruit Protein BarsQuinoa Nut and Fruit Protein Bars
Recipe by
Adapted from Power Hungry: The Ultimate Energy Bar Cookbook
Published on September 28, 2013

Easy homemade energy bars packed with protein and flavor from nuts, seeds, dried fruit and spices

Preparation: 25 minutes
Cooking time: 25 to 30 minutes

Print this recipePrint this recipe

  • 1/2 cup dried dates, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 1/3 cup prunes, pitted and roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp seeds (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup quinoa flakes
  • 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup almonds, chopped
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin or sunflower seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 cup dried apricots, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/4 cup dried cherries
  • Line a 9-inch square baking pan with parchment paper. Set aside.

  • In a blender or food processor, combine the dates, prunes and apple juice and let stand for about 10 minutes to let the fruits soften. After 10 minutes, blend until mostly smooth. Add the chia seeds, hemp seeds and vanilla and briefly process to combine. Let this mixture sit for another 10 minutes or so.

  • As this mixture is sitting, heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the quinoa flakes, walnuts, almonds, sesame seeds and pumpkin or sunflower seeds. Cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is fragrant and golden brown. Stir in the spices and salt, and stir for another minute or so. Transfer to a large bowl.

  • Stir in the apricots, cranberries and cherries into the nut and quinoa mixture. Using a spatula, stir in the prune and date mixture until everything is well combined.

  • energy bars
    Transfer everything to the prepared pan. Press down evenly and firmly with the spatula or the back of a spoon. It is important that the mixture is firmly compacted so it doesn't fall apart when removed from the pan.

  • Bake in a preheated 350°F oven for 20 to 25 minutes until the edges are browned and the top of the pan begins to dry out. Remove from the oven, transfer to a wire rack, and let cool completely.

  • Lift the bars out of the pan using the sides of the parchment lining and slide onto a cutting board. Cut into squares or thin bars about 2 inches long and 1 inch wide.

  • Eat at room temperature or refrigerate for up to a week.

Makes 15 bars

energy bars

Other healthy snacks you are sure to enjoy from Lisa's Vegetarian Kitchen:
Peanut Butter Carob Balls
Cocoa Fruit Treats
Peanut Butter Cookie Dough Bites
Quick and Easy Peanut Butter Balls

On the top of the reading stack: Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje

Audio Accompaniment: Carbon Based Lifeforms


Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Those look wonderful Lisa. A quinoa version of flapjacks with lots of lovely extras.

Kathy G said...

These look wonderful, and I have most of the ingredients in the house! Lately I've been snacking on almonds, walnuts, or roasted chick peas.

Unknown said...

healthy bars.love this version of bars......

Rhianna said...

Love yhis recipe just working out the carbs for my very active type 1 diabetic daughter

Nayna Kanabar said...

These look really healthy nad delicious ,I am going to book mark and try them.Please do drop by simply.food sometime.

Pattie from Vermont said...

Thanks for this recipe! It is the first time I have seen a recipe for an energy bar that actually excites my taste buds. One question: where do I find quinoa flakes?

As far as favorite snack, recently I am snacking on a slice of Steady Eddie bread from Silver Hills Bakery with a smear of hummus, a slice of sweet onion, and a thickly sliced tomato with a sprinkle of Tajin Classico on top. So good. Of course, I cannot slide it into my purse or pocket to take with me on a trip...

Lisa Turner said...

Quinoa flakes can be found in most large grocery stores and also "health food" grocery stops. The recipe is certainly worth trying. Delicious.

Anonymous said...

These look so delicious. I have just started making my own granola. After seeing this I think I m ready to move on to power bars. Thank you for the inspiration.

janet @ the taste space said...

Oh yum! This book looks right up my alley! I love making energy bars! My recent favourite was a PB & J ball... so quick and easy to make, too. :)

Anonymous said...

I will definitely make these - and adapt for nut-free / seed only so the kids can take them to school. The book sounds like just what we need to get good snacks in - for all of us! My fav healthy snack when I'm craving salt and crunch is dried seaweed - and the kids love it too!

Unknown said...

These look so delicious! Do you think cooked quinoa could be substituted for the flakes?
My favorite snacks at the moment are Suzie's Spelt and Flax ThinCakes and your coconut fruit energy bites.

Lisa Turner said...

I did think of using cooked quinoa myself. Why wouldn't it work with some tweaks with the other proportions? Please do let me know how it works out if you do use the cooked grain.

Anonymous said...

Based on this recipe, I'd really love to win this book. My fav (relatively) healthy snacks are peanut butter on crackers, fruit and edamame.

Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

Wonderful! Those healthy bars look delicious.



Anonymous said...

Power bars are my favorite healthy snack! I'd love the book.

Basil said...

Probably definitely apples. Yup.

Kathy Lowe said...

Something like a rice cake with almond butter and a few sunflower seeds or a couple celery sticks with hummus do the trick in the afternoon.

Your bars look wonderful and I'll be trying that recipe. Thank you!

Ashley said...

I love a flatbread with almond butter! Thanks so much! ammauceri@gmail.com

Terri Cole said...

My favorite snack is hummus with, well, pretty much anything!

gaia (at) cinci (dot) rr (dot) com

Kerry said...

These bars sound delicious - I put the ingredients on my grocery list.

My go to healthy snack is carrots with homemade black bean or chickpea hummus.

Great post - thanks!

Preety said...

Your bars looks delicious...next on my list to try for sure..

My fav healthy snacks..

Roasted spiced chickpeas
Apple with peanut butter
dates and nuts
Popcorn...OMG i have so many..:)

swaranjit said...

Do You have nutritional breakdown for this?? recipie sounds really good.

Lisa Turner said...

No, I don't have a nutritional breakdown of this recipe unfortunately. I can assure you that's it's quite delicious and good for you too.

Unknown said...

I attempted this recipe using cooked quinoa, and it did work to a degree, but it's probably better off with the flakes. The bars are quite soft (because of the soft cooked quinoa), and they took an extremely long time to bake in the oven. At least an hour, I'd say. They still taste fine (although I accidentally used way too much cardamom).

marie said...

This is a wonderful power bar.

Unknown said...

Great Posting for the needful. Thanks for the content covering amazing nutritional facts behind Quinoa Superfoods.