These chocolate protein bars are made with quinoa and cherries, so they are high in fiber and protein and most daily nutrients, and provide a homemade energy bar how-to so you can customize your own energy bars!!
Chocolate Protein Bars (quinoa, cherry)
These homemade chocolate protein bars are no-bake, and high in fiber and protein. And they are so easy to make, and so customizable, it makes sense to make energy bars like this at home and not buy them.
How to Make a Homemade Protein Bar
Generally most homemade protein bars are made of three elements from three categories (one or more of within each category):
- Binder (dried fruits, chopped dates, nut butters or liquid sweeteners),
- Nutrient (nuts, seeds, oats, quinoa, buckwheat, protein powder) ,
- Crunch (almonds, walnuts, cashews, cacao nibs, chocolate chips).
Mix these elements together, bake or not, top or not. Easy peasy!
In this particular brew, I chose quinoa as my main nutrient.
And quite a nutrient it is!
How Healthy Is Quinoa?
Make your protein bar with Quinoa to really raise the protein sky-high! Quinoa, gluten-free pseudo-grain is considered a superfood these days, because of it’s incredible nutritional profile.
Pronounced “KEEN-wah”, quinoa is one of the few plant foods that offers a complete protein profile, all nine of the essential amino acids your body cannot produce.
It is also high in fiber, iron, zinc, copper, thiamin and vitamin B6, potassium and magnesium, phosphorus, manganese and folate. One cup of quinoa yields 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber.
Quinoa is so incredible that NASA scientists are considering quinoa as the crop to grow in outer space, because of its high nutritional content, and ease of growing.
Obviously I chose to top this recipe with a rich dark chocolate. And not just any rich dark chocolate, but a homemade mix of cacao paste, cacao butter, coconut oil and maple syrup.
The cacao butter and cacao paste are expensive ingredients, so if you want to skip to a less expensive method, just melt a high-quality chocolate bar in the microwave and use that instead of making your own chocolate.
And as you make your protein bars, just think of the customization potential! I hope you love my protein bar recipe and custom bar guidance!
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Chocolate Protein Bars (quinoa, cherry)
These homemade chocolate protein bars are made with quinoa and cherries, so they are high in fiber and protein and most daily nutrients, and provide a homemade energy bar how-to so you can customize your own energy bars!!
- 1 cup chopped almonds or walnuts or cashews
- 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds or poppy seeds or chia
- 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds or pinenuts or flax seeds
- 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and popped or rice cereal or popped amaranth
- 1 cup dried cherries or dried apricots, dried cranberries, dried apples, dried figs or even chopped dates
- 3 tbsps maple syrup
- 1 pinch salt
Chocolate top (Or use a melted dark chocolate bar or two)
Prep to Make Bars
Line the 8-inch square pan with a parchment liner.
Pop the quinoa next. To do this, pour it into a strainer and rinse through. Then pour it into a dry pan (no oil), and turn on the heat to medium high. Stir the quinoa around until it dries and begins to pop. Stop when the popping noise fades. It will be a bit brownish and smell nutty. Don't burn it. It took me about 3 minutes. Popped quinoa is still tiny; not popped fat like a corn kernel.
Chop with a knife anything that needs chopping: nuts, seeds, cherries..
Make the Bars
You can mix up the bar mixture by hand in a bowl, or you can put it into the food processor.
You want a texture that is crumbly, lumpy and damp so you can press it into the parchment-lined pan.
If you process, please don't over process so the texture becomes a puree from the oil being released by the nuts. Stop it at crumbly. Spoon some out to test by squeezing in your fist to see if it holds together..
When it is ready, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan. I used a flat-bottomed glass to flatten it evenly; some people actually use a roller meant for that. Refrigerate the bars for 30 minutes or more.
Homemade Chocolate Topping
- To prepare the chocolate topping, you can of course just melt a dark chocolate bar (70% cacao or higher) and pour it over the chilled bars before cutting.
- However, if you want to top them with the homemade chocolate layer, here is how to make it.
- First, melt the cacao paste and cacao butter in a double boiler - or I put a Pyrex measuring cup in a pot of boiling water and melt the chocolate mix in the cup. (just do not get water in the chocolate).
Once the chocolate is melted, add in the coconut oil and maple syrup, and stir everything until thoroughly combined. You can taste-test the chocolate and see if it needs more maple syrup to heighten the sweetness. You can also at this point add a tsp of cinnamon or mint extract.
Pour this mixture over the pan of uncut granola bars and refrigerate for another 30 minutes. Remove, and cut into bars.
And there you have it, healthy bars you made yourself so you know every single ingredient within them! Happy Snacking!
Dee Dine is the recipe developer and writer behind Green Smoothie Gourmet. She shares her super healthy wholesome recipes on her blog and her Instagram that she feeds her family and friends. She gravitates toward recipes that are fast to create, plant-based, nutritious, easy, and use familiar ingredients. And chocolate is always a good idea! More about Dee.