quinoa apple-cinnamon bars

Welcome back for another apple-themed recipe! Today I’m sharing a tried and true breakfast bar that my clients ask for again and again: quinoa apple-cinnamon bars. I’ve made them more times than I can count and although there are quite a few ingredients, as long as you’ve got them on hand, it’s really simple to pull together.

Now, you know I like to tinker with recipes to get them just right for me, but honestly this recipe is so damn perfect I didn’t need to do much besides add protein powder. I’ve also made them with peanut butter instead of almond butter, subbed real egg whites instead of 100% whites from a carton, and used walnuts instead of pecans. And if you want to dress them up, you could mix in dried fruit or chia seeds or bananas instead of apples. Let yourself get creative, that’s what builds confidence in the kitchen! Also, I use Naturade vegan vanilla pea protein powder, but I’ve used all kinds based on what my clients have on hand, so use what you’ve got at home.

One note, the recipe calls for 1 cup of cooked and cooled quinoa. Typically I cook the quinoa right before making these since it only takes about 12 minutes on the stove, but it’d be a handy time-saver if you could use leftovers from dinner the night before. And a tip from me to you- it’s ok if the quinoa isn’t 100% cooled, just remove the lid after it finishes cooking and let sit for a few minutes until it’s no longer hot. In my early, naive days, I would be the person waiting until it was completely cold before mixing it in; that’s not necessary.

These are perfect to grab on your way out the door in the morning or for a mid-afternoon snack. Enjoy! Recipe serves 9-16 (slice into 9 squares for breakfast bars or 16 for snack bars).

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INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cups quick cooking oats

1 cup cooked and cooled quinoa

1 teaspoon baking powder

2 scoops vanilla protein powder

1/4 cup ground flax seed (also called flax meal)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1/3 cup 100% liquid egg whites

2 Tablespoons almond butter

1 teaspoon vanilla

1 apple, peeled, small dice (1 cup)

1/2 cup chopped pecans


INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat your oven to 350°F. Line a 9x9 inch square baking pan with parchment paper and spray with nonstick cooking spray. This makes clean-up a breeze.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, quinoa, baking powder, protein powder, flax seed, and cinnamon and stir until evenly distributed. It should come together in a nice, loose crumble.

In another bowl, whisk together the maple syrup, applesauce, 100% liquid egg whites, almond butter, and vanilla. It may not fully incorporate and that's ok.

Pour the wet ingredients over the dry ingredients and stir until mixed thoroughly to form a thick batter.

Gently fold in the apples and pecans.

Plop the batter into the prepared pan and smooth with a spatula. Ok, plop isn't a technical cooking term, but you'll know exactly what I'm talking about when you get to this step.

Bake on the center rack of the preheated oven for about 25 minutes until the bars are golden brown and firm to the touch.

Remove and cool for about 30 minutes in the pan. This is important, otherwise they may fall apart if you cut them too soon. Slice into bars (9 squares for breakfast bars and 16 for snack size) and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for several days, or freeze to keep longer.

I like to reheat mine in the microwave for 30 seconds-1 minute before enjoying. You can serve with a dollop of yogurt, a dash of cinnamon, or whatever you prefer.


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recipe adapted from Cupcakes and Kale Chips