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Choc & Goji Berry Quinoa Squares

  • June 4, 2016
  • By Carly Neave

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Photographs shot by the talented Sukaina Rajabali

If I could find the best way to describe these addictive quinoa superfood treats, it would be to imagine the Rice Krispie cakes you had as a kid.

Now … cover them with rich dark chocolate … throw in a load of naturally sweet dates and goji berries … up the crunch level by at least 10 and convert something unhealthy and sugary into nutritious and completely guilt-free!

And don’t forget, utterly addictive.

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Last month I was asked to feature in Spinneys Food magazine for their ‘Learn to Cook’ feature and to create something that people could learn from as well as having a healthy twist. I came up with these absolutely delicious popped Quinoa bars that are full of healthy superfoods and nutritious combinations! Popped quinoa gives a whole new level on regular quinoa with it’s taste and texture. It’s crunchy, somewhat earthy, and paired with naturally chewy and sweet ingredients like medjool dates and goji berries – it’s a dream!

I couldn’t really keep my hands of them one they were made and lucky for me, as we were doing a step-by-step feature, I had to have the whole before and after shots ready which = double portions = winning!

They’re honestly great for everything! On-the-go-snacks, after-dinner treats or simply an any-point-of-the-day guilt-free indulgence! They keep well in the fridge for 4-5 days so make up a big batch and get munching!

You can buy already popped quinoa which saves steps 1-6 in the instructions below and will make these really quick to put together. If you have kids running around at home or want to be able to whip together a quick tasty treat then I’d recommend going that option, it then becomes as simple as mixing all the ingredients together and letting them cool.

It’s always lovely to make things from scratch though, plus you get to learn a new cooking skill … so if you have the time then follow the recipe step by step!

Please do share your creations by tagging @LeanLivingGirl on your social platforms, I would love to see the end results and you have a chance to feature :)

Here are the pictures to make these delicious popped quinoa squares! (Full recipe below).

***

Rinse and bake the quinoa

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Caramelise the pecans

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Wild guess anyone!?

Blending our moreish medjool dates…

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Mix errrrr’thing together until fully combined

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Press it down real good into the baking tray

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Because what’s a treat without Lindt 85% dark chocolate

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Pour it over (slightly better than I did here)

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And sprinkle with toasted almonds!

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Voila!

Crispy, chewy, totally indulgent (yet healthy) nut and berry quinoa bars! Thank you @AmysCooking for the being the most awesome food stylist!

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Nut and Berry Quinoa Squares
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Nut and Berry Quinoa Squares
Author:
Serves: 12 Squares
Ingredients
  • 300g quinoa
  • 1 tbsp honey, plus 2 tsp
  • 1 tsp extra virgin coconut oil, plus 1½ tbsp
  • 40g pecans, roughly chopped
  • 12 Medjool dates, pitted and chopped
  • 2 tbsp nut butter - almond or cashew
  • 30g dried goji berries
  • 2 pinches of Rock Salt
  • 20g unsweetened desiccated coconut
  • 35g dried strawberries
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 75g 85% dark chocolate, broken
  • 1 tbsp toasted flaked almonds
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 35°C.
  2. Add the quinoa to a fine sieve and rinse thoroughly under cold water.
  3. Spread the rinsed quinoa evenly out onto a baking tray.
  4. Bake the quinoa for 60-90 minutes, stirring every 20 minutes so that the water evaporates and quinoa has completely dried out.
  5. Once the quinoa has dried out, set a deep-sided, heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Add the quinoa to the pan and stir continuously to prevent the grains from catching.
  6. Keep stirring until until the quinoa has popped ”“ you will hear popping noises. Try the quinoa to test. If it’s crunchy it is ready ”“ place in a large bowl.
  7. Line a baking tray with baking paper.
  8. Caramelise the pecans by adding 1tbsp honey and 1tsp coconut oil to a frying pan and leave until it starts to bubble. Working quickly, add the pecans and a pinch of rock salt to the pan and stir continuously, keep coating the pecans until the mixture goes a dark brown colour then tip onto a baking tray, quickly separate with a spoon and to cool for 2 minutes.
  9. Add the dates, remaining coconut oil and nut butter to a blender and blitz until smooth.
  10. Place a pan over a low heat, add the date mixture and cook, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes until the mixture starts to soften and then add to the bowl of popped quinoa then add the caramelised pecans, goji berries, desiccated coconut, strawberries, cinnamon and a pinch of rock salt and mix well until thoroughly combined.
  11. Tip the mixture into a 21cm x 21cm baking tray and press down firmly using 2 metal spoons. Transfer to the freezer while you melt the chocolate.
  12. Add the chocolate to a heat-proof bowl and set over a pan of barely simmering water until the chocolate has melted.
  13. Once melted, remove the tray from the freezer and drizzle the chocolate over the top. Top with toasted almonds and chill in the fridge for 60 minutes, until the chocolate has set.
  14. Slice into 12 squares and serve.

 

By Carly Neave, June 4, 2016 Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!
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Carly Neave

Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!

About Me
Hi, I'm Carly!
A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!
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