I’m always on the lookout for new, real food dessert ideas. It’s just so much easier to avoid processed, sugar-laden desserts when you have a wholesome, real food option to enjoy instead. Who needs a processed brownie when you have a freezer full of Popped Quinoa Dessert Bars at home? Nah, didn’t think so.
And once your palate becomes accustomed to unprocessed desserts made with nutrient dense ingredients and wholesome sweeteners, traditional store-bought desserts start to taste fake and really really sweet. If you love sweets, like me, then it may be hard to imagine the day when traditional sweets taste sickeningly sweet…but give yourself enough time on a real food diet and it’s bound to happen.
Since learning how to pop quinoa a couple of weeks ago, I’ve been putting it into everything! First I tried it in some Trail Mix, which is awesome to carry with you for emergency snack situations. Then I added it as an unexpected crunch to these creamy dessert bars. Next up is real food crackers with popped quinoa for some nutty, crunchy texture.
B loved these bars. He thinks there’s a peanut butter taste, and asked the other day “Do we have more of your peanut butter bars?” No peanut butter here, those are legumes and on my do-not-eat list, but I’ll let him pretend 🙂
I noted at the bottom of the recipe instructions that you could easily make these no-bake bars. Just omit the chocolate piece from the top, or mix them into the dough instead. Store in the freezer to help keep them intact, and because these taste divine when cold. Enjoy!
- ½ cup popped quinoa
- 1 cup pecans
- ½ cup flax meal
- ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup coconut oil
- ½ cup dates, pitted
- ¼ cup almond butter
- 1 Tablespoon coconut flour
- ¼ cup blanched almond flour
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
- ⅛ teaspoon almond extract
- Topping: ¼ cup unsweetened shredded coconut, ¼ cup minced dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease an 8×8 pan with coconut oil.
- In a food processor, combine the popped quinoa, pecans, flax meal, coconut and salt. Add the coconut oil, dates, almond butter, coconut flour, almond flour and extracts. Pulse until thoroughly combined.
- Press the mixture into the prepared pan, sprinkle with the coconut and chocolate topping.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the chocolate has melted. Once cooled, place in the freezer for 40-60 minutes until set. Cut into 16 squares. Enjoy!
- Note: The baking is to melt the chocolate, so you could remove the chocolate and skip this step for a no-bake version of these dessert bars.