Nutty & Decadent Quinoa Bars

I almost hesitate to post this quinoa bars recipe. Not because it isn’t amazing.  It is.

In fact, it may be one of my favorite recipes on the entire site.

The reason I hesitate to post it is because it is quite a bit indulgent.  Invariably, when I post recipes with butter and/or sugar (even the healthier coconut palm sugar I’ve used here) a flood of emails ensues. If you have been around here a while you probably already know that I’m not a fan of sweets and don’t do a tremendous amount of baking. If I’m going to indulge in something with sugar its got to be good. And this is.  Hence my willingness to risk the wrath of emails that is sure to come.

These quinoa bars were an over the top hit at my house.  They are the perfect combination of sweet and slightly salty and are the perfect example of decadence with quinoa.

quinoa barsIn fact, if you have family members who turn up there nose at anything even slightly healthy, this may be the recipe to win them over.  My only regret is that I don’t live near my parents anymore because my Dad’s birthday is next month and this would be better for him that a cake!

quinoa bars recipe

Now, a couple of adjustments that could be made:

Lower the Saturated Fat– You can half the butter and replace the other halve with canola oil.

Make it Vegan by using earth balance and your favorite egg substitute.  Skip the honey and use maple syrup.

Make it Gluten Free by using your favorite gluten free flour mix.

This recipe was adapted from Fine Cooking.


Nutty & Decadent Quinoa Bars

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Yield: 24

Serving Size: 1 bar

Calories per serving: 205

Fat per serving: 17.3g

Nutty & Decadent Quinoa Bars


  • Crust
  • ½ cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup coconut palm sugar
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat white flour
  • 1 cup quinoa flour
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 12 T cold unsalted butter cut into ½ inch pieces (or 6 T butter, 6 T canola oil)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • Topping
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar
  • 6 T unsalted butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 2 T heavy cream
  • 3/4 cup popped quinoa
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
  • 2 cups mixed nuts, toasted


  1. For the Crust
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with cooking spray and line with parchment.
  4. In the food processor, grind almonds and palm sugar.
  5. Add flour, baking powder and salt.
  6. Process until combined.
  7. Add butter and pulse five or six times.
  8. Add egg and process until dough forms large clumps.
  9. Using your hands, press dough into the prepared pan on the bottom and one inch up the sides.
  10. Using fork tines, press the crust all over.
  11. Bake for 15 or 20 minutes.
  12. Allow to cool slightly.
  13. ------------------------------
  14. For the Topping
  15. Rinse quinoa and allow to completely dry.
  16. If you are in a hurry dry the quinoa in a saucepan over low.
  17. Put one tablespoon of oil in a popcorn popper.
  18. Add quinoa and pop until seeds are golden brown.
  19. Alternatively, pop quinoa in a covered saucepan, shaking to prevent burning.
  20. Bring sugar, butter, honey and salt to a boil over medium high heat.
  21. Stir often.
  22. Carefully add cream and return to a boil.
  23. Remove from heat and add nuts, sunflower seeds and popped quinoa.
  24. Pour over crust and spread to even out.
  25. If necessary, tilt pan to get mixture to the edges.
  26. Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.
  27. Let cool for 10 minutes and run a knife around edges.
  28. Let cool completely and invert pan on a flat service.
  29. Cut into 24 bars.

  • Mama J

    These look AMAZING! No complaints from me!!! :)

  • vicki

    Yummy looking recipe! Thanks for the palm sugar tip. Do you have any suggestions to replace the brown sugar in the topping? I have an allergy to cane sugar :(

    • Wendy Polisi

      I would try using the same amount of the palm sugar as the recipe calls for brown sugar plus a tablespoon of molasses.  I haven't tried it this way but my guess is that it would be pretty close to the same.

      Sent from my iPad

  • @BurnishedDragon

    What is popped quinoa?

    • Wendy Polisi

      There are instructions on how to pop the quinoa in the recipe – I just put popped quinoa as an ingredient so no one would mistakenly mix raw quinoa with the nuts.

      Sent from my iPad

      • Tori

        THANKS! I was trying to figure that out too…I guess if I had read the whole recipe I would have found it.

  • Debra

    This recipe calls for using "…a popcorn popper, …or if you don't have one…" Does everyone have a popcorn popper (except me)? I thought I had every kitchen gadget. 😛 If I am using a saucepan, do I still use the same amount of oil? Looking forward to trying this one! Will need to cut the fat a little. :) Thanks!

    • Wendy Polisi


      To be honest I only bought my popper a year ago.  My boys started to love popcorn and it became a daily thing.  I couldn't stand the thought of the chemicals in microwave popcorn!  Use the same amount of oil with the saucepan and make sure you shake it.  The process is just like making popcorn but there will not be nearly as much popping and you will barely notice the expansion.

      I agree about the fat –  this was a real treat but I want to find a way to make this healthy enough for every day.

      Sent from my iPad

  • Eleanor Irons

    I hope you are planing to market these.

    • Wendy Polisi

      You think I could?  :). My next mission is trying to make them healthier!

      Sent from my iPad

  • Dodie

    Could you "pop" the quinoa in a hot air popcorn popper?

    • Wendy Polisi


      I haven't tried it yet myself but my understanding is that you can.  I'm planning on getting one and trying it out for myself.

      Sent from my iPad

  • Pierrette Cameron

    Can you kindly give me the amount of carbs and fiber. On WW we need the fat, carbs, fiber and protein to give us a total point count.
    Thank you

    • Wendy Polisi

      Sure, I will make sure that I do that going forward and try to remember to get it done on this recipe for you first thing in the morning.  I've actually been contemplating Weight Watchers myself.  Thanks for reading!

      Sent from my iPad

    • Tori

      On Weight Watchers you can enter the ingredients and find out what the pointplus value is. go to the website it's on the left side.

  • Honey Rowland

    Oh my! That looks divine. This would make a lovely snack for the extended family members that turn up their noses at our healthy food. And, while sugar may not be good for you it does taste yummy! 😉

    I wonder how this would do with a thicker crust so it's more of a cake/brownie instead of a bar…… I'm always looking for healthier "cake" options for birthdays and events.

    I'm quite glad you shared and I'm also your newest follower! :)


    • Wendy Polisi

      I think the topping here would be perfect for a cake/brownie instead of a bar. You might want to add a little more liquid – not much – just enough to make it more spreadable.

  • Kim – Liv Life

    Oh MY! I'm loving these guys!! My daughter is always looking for an energy source while she is at dance class, this is one that will make me happy to give her. Love it!!!

    • Wendy Polisi

      You are right, this is perfect for that!  I actually froze some and they did just fine so even if she doesn't eat them all right away it's something you could store in your freezer.  They keep at room temperature for about 5 days too!  I hope she enjoys!

      Sent from my iPad

  • Tabatha

    Is it possible to make this recipe gluten free? My son and I have celiac disease. Also, using coconut cream to replace the dairy should be a problem, should it?

    • Wendy Polisi

      To make it gluten free use your favorite gluten free flour blend and make sure your baking powder is gluten free. I like equal parts sorghum, brown rice, tapioca and quinoa flours mixed with a teaspoon of xantham gum. Replace the butter with oil (though this will slightly impact flavor it should still taste great). For the egg I would use a tablespoon of ground flax seeds mixed with 3 tablespoons water. I haven't played with coconut cream but it should be an ok substitution for the heavy cream.

  • Khadija

    With all the news on the benefits of quinoa, I just read it is packed with oxalates, and could be bad for people who are allergic to it, specially with stomach/gastro allergies. Can you comment? and is it really for everyone? thanks.

  • Ronda

    I have to watch my cholesterol. Would it be too much trouble to include cholesterol mgs with each recipe?

    • Wendy Polisi

      I will certainly try to remember to do that going forward! Quinoa has no cholesterol and many of my recipes are cholesterol free.  Not this one though! :)

  • Bekki

    I made these over the weekend (for the first time) for our annual county-wide Grange baking contest. I took the extras to work, and my co-workers raved about them. Imagine my surprise when I went to the contest wrap-up meeting that evening, and found I'd won first place in the cookie contest!

    • Wendy Polisi

      That is amazing! :) Congrats on the win and thanks for sharing! I'm smiling right now….

  • terrifischer

    I pop popcorn in my microwave in a paper bag. No oil needed. Will this popping method work with quinoa also? These look delicious!

    • Wendy Polisi

      It would certainly be worth a try! I haven't tried it because we don't use the microwave, but it might be a great and easier solution.

  • Carrie luna

    Just got the junk food junkie foster child to try them.-He ate 2 and wanted more!! There's hope for him yet!! Can't wait to make some of the other recipes now!! By the way we have no food allergies or sensitivities-so we will be trying lots of these recipes. Thanks a million for what you do for others..

    • Wendy Polisi

      Yeah! :) So glad to hear it! I love it when kids become open to healthier alternatives!


    where do you get quinoa flour aND COULD YOU USE REGULAR FLOUR INSTEAD?

    • Wendy Polisi

      You can get quinoa flour at most larger grocery stores (often in the gluten free section), in places like Whole Foods (or other natural market) or on the internet. You may substitute regular flour.