Another work week, another fight to beat hunger till dinner time. Saving grace? Home-made granola bars. I wanted to make something with popped quinoa, which you can find in bio food stores as cereal, but I don’t have it here. What was my solution? Toasted quinoa. So nutty, so yummy! When it started popping in the pan, I was wondering if I could pop it as pop corn?! (ok, crazy, calm down, calm down…)
This recipe is from the Quinoa Cookbook website. There is no picture there, but they are called Granola Bars there and I am hoping that they take that shape as well. I did not call mine “bars” because I ran away from the amount of liquid sugars used and mine… well crumbled…. no worries, they can be eaten as little pieces or crumbled as granola and mixed in with yoghurt. Whatever it is I made, is still delicious and definitely much lower in calories than the original recipe.
The original recipe has 1/4 cup brown sugar, 1/8 cup agave nectar and 1/4 cup honey. OK. I can hear my diabetes knocking on the door. No. So, I ran the risk of them crumbling. Instead, I used some honey and some lightly sweetened applesauce and together with the dried fruits, they are just as sweet as I wanted them. Therefore, for next time, to actually manage to make them into bars, I can maybe use one banana as a binding agent or an egg.
It also has 1/3 cup flax seeds, which I didn’t have and are a bit on the pricier end here, so I had to live without them. You can add them, I am sure they would be delicious. As a side note, I noticed that maybe due to the toasted quinoa, its new lively nutty flavour coming out and new texture, I tasted a bit of toasted sesame or sunflower seeds. So, those two would definitely work exceptionally well in here.
1 1/2 cup oats (or I used a mix of 5 cereals (flakes of oats, rice, wheat, barley, rye)
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
dash of salt
1 1/2 cup dried fruit (I had 1/3 cup dark & golden raisins, 6 dried apricots, handful of craisins)
1/2 cup crushed almonds (used around 20 almonds, roughly chopped, (original recipe uses walnuts))
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp applesauce (lightly sweetened)
2 tsp heaping/dripping honey
1. Preheat the oven to 350F/180C.
2. Mix oats and nuts (and flax seeds if you decide to use, I guess also here the option to use the sesame seeds and sunflower seeds would come in) and toast for 15 minutes in the oven, stirring occasionally. When done, take out and let cool.
3. Rinse and strain the quinoa. Heat a frying pan, dry on the stove and toast the quinoa, stirring. You need to wait for the water to evaporate, keep stirring, until you hear it start popping. I kept stirring until I heard more popping, because I wanted it to be nice and toasty. My stainless steel pan was starting to get brown, so I decided to stop. But the nutty smell was so nice! (no worries, pan didn’t burn)
4. Pour the oats/nuts mix with the quinoa, dried fruit, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and stir to combine. I made sure that the dried chopped fruit was separating from itself and sticking to the dry ingredients, so that I avoid having clumps of dried fruit stuck together.
5. Start adding the applesauce and honey and keep stirring till it’s evenly incorporated. You will see it does not stick into one ball, but it crumbles.
6. Press in a non-stick baking tin and bake for 30 minutes. Cool, and cut/break into pieces.