Quinoa bars are the best way to sneak a little nutrition into a dessert recipe! Made with cooked quinoa, rolled oats, cocoa powder, and without refined sugar, these bars are a healthy yet decadent treat.
Quinoa bars are just the sweet treat you need!
They're on the healthier side -- sweetened with dates and maple syrup instead of cane sugar -- but are still quite decadent. They have a chewy texture and are topped with a chocolate layer, which is what takes them from snack to dessert (in my opinion).
I love a healthier dessert recipe, like my chocolate pretzel bars or my flourless pumpkin bars. If you're a fan of these quinoa bars, be sure to check out my other dessert recipes as well.
- A delicious chocolate bar that's both vegan and gluten free
- Made with cooked quinoa for a little added nutrition, making it the perfect snack or dessert
- Easy to customize to your liking!
- Quinoa - I used white quinoa, which has the most mild flavor of all the varieties. Make sure to rinse it before cooking it (see tips and tricks section below for why this is important)
- Dates - I used deglet, but medjool are fine too, just make sure they're pitted
- Rolled oats - Also known as old fashioned oats. Quick oats work as well, but I don't recommend using steel cut oats, as the texture isn't quite what we want.
- Almonds - I like using almonds because they're fairly neutral tasting, which is a good thing. Another good option is cashews if you're looking for a substitution.
- Coconut - Shredded unsweetened coconut is the way to go, as these bars are plenty sweet on their own.
- Cocoa powder - No substitution!
- Maple syrup - I find that maple syrup pairs well with chocolate (better than honey) but you can use honey if you're in a pinch.
- Coconut oil - I prefer using coconut oil in most of my baked goods because it's a little sweeter, and in this case, it adds the slightest coconut-y flavor. If you want a substitution, opt for avocado oil, which is pretty neutral tasting.
- Chocolate chips - Semi-sweet or dark chocolate
Step 1: Cook the quinoa. Start by pouring the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer, then rinsing it for at least 1 minute. Then, transfer it to a saucepan and cook it according to the package instructions. Pour the cooked quinoa into a large bowl and set it aside to cool.
Step 2: Mix ingredients. While the quinoa is cooling, add the dates, oats, almonds, coconut, and cocoa powder to a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. With the motor running, pour the maple syrup and coconut oil in through the top and continue mixing until the mixture forms a giant ball. Transfer the mixture into the bowl with the quinoa and stir to combine.
Step 3: Refrigerate. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper and spray the sides with nonstick spray, then transfer the quinoa mixture to the prepared pan and use a rubber spatula or your hands to press it down into the pan. Refrigerate the bars for at least 30 minutes.
Step 4: Add the chocolate. Place the chocolate chips and coconut oil into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30 second increments until the chocolate is smooth. Pour the chocolate over the bars, using the back of a spoon to spread it out.
Place the bars back into the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Pull on the parchment paper to remove the bars, then slice and enjoy!
Tips and FAQs
Make ahead: Want to prep this recipe in advance? Cook the quinoa ahead of time and store it in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in advance.
Always rinse quinoa! Quinoa has a protective coat over it which is pretty unpleasant tasting. Rinsing quinoa removes any bitterness from the quinoa and makes it much more delicious.
To ensure these bars are gluten free, make sure you're using certified gluten free oats.
I sliced these into 9 large bars, but you could also make smaller cuts so you end up with 16 smaller bars if you prefer.
- Two tablespoons of peanut butter or a peanut butter drizzle on top
- Peanuts instead of almonds
- Dried cranberries
- Pumpkin seeds
- Chia seeds
- Sunflower seed butter
- Scoop of chocolate protein powder
Can I bake these bars?
Nope! These bars are meant to be no bake. I'd place them in the refrigerator and allow them to set that way rather than baking them.
Refrigerator: Store bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
Freezer: Alternatively, you can store the bars in a freezer-safe container for up to 4 months. Just make sure to put parchment paper in between the bars so they don't stick together.
More healthy desserts
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Chocolate Quinoa Bars
- 1 cup quinoa cooked
- 1 cup dates pitted
- 1 cup rolled oats
- ½ cup almonds raw, unsalted
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¼ cup cocoa powder
- 3 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil melted and cooled to room temperature
for the top layer:
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- If you haven't already, cook the quinoa according to the package instructions (don't forget to rinse it first!); set it aside. At this point, you should also melt the 1 tablespoon of coconut oil in the microwave and set it aside to cool.
- Add the dates, oats, almonds, coconut, and cocoa powder to a food processor and pulse for 30 seconds. With the motor still running, pour the maple syrup and coconut oil in through the top and continue pulsing until the mixture forms a giant ball. Scoop the mixture out into a large bowl, then add the quinoa to that bowl and stir to combine.
- Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper, leaving a 1" overhang, and spray the remaining sides of the pan with nonstick spray.
- Transfer the quinoa mixture into the prepared pan, then use a rubber spatula or your hands to press the it down into the pan. Place the pan in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes to allow the bars to set.
- Once the 30 minutes are up, melt the chocolate: add the chocolate chips and coconut oil to a microwave-safe bowl and microwave in 30-second increments (stirring every 30 seconds) until the chocolate is smooth.
- Remove the bars from the refrigerator and pour the chocolate overtop, using the back of a spoon to smooth it out. Place the pan back into the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes or until the chocolate has hardened.
- Pull on the parchment paper to remove the bars, then slice them into 9 bars and enjoy!
These are so tasty and chocolatey! I love the fun texture with the quinoa in there and makes you feel healthier eating these!
So glad to hear you loved the bars Mara!