These No Bake Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars are a more wholesome twist on the classic Midwestern Peanut Butter Bars and make a healthy snack or dessert.
If you grew up in the Midwest or live there now, you know about Peanut Butter Bars.
They typically consist of a mixture of peanut butter, powdered sugar, and graham cracker crumbs spread on the bottom of a 9×13 pan and topped with a layer of melted chocolate. My mom made them and called them Peanut Butter Gems, and my high school cafeteria served a version dubbed Peanut Butter Confections. Whatever you call them, they’re an addictive crowd-pleaser. They’re so quintessentially Midwestern that they featured prominently in the novel Kitchens of the Great Midwest (which I named in my list of favorite books I read in 2015).
While I occasionally make my mom’s recipe, I wanted to create a version with more wholesome ingredients. This bar fits the bill and still lives up to the Midwestern Peanut Butter Bar hype. One of our 11-year-old house guests ate one and said it “tasted like a Reese’s Cup”, which I take as the highest compliment.
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How to make Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars
Combine oats (either old-fashioned or quick oats), cooked quinoa (see recipe for instructions), natural peanut butter, dry milk powder, and honey in the bowl of a food processor.
If you don’t have a food processor, you can also mix the ingredients by hand in a bowl. Your bars will be chewier, but just as tasty.
If using a food processor, blend until the ingredients come together in a ball.
Press mixture at the bottom of a square baking pan, lined with parchment paper (the parchment paper lining allows them to be easily lifted out to cut.
Top with melted semi-sweet chocolate and either freeze or refrigerate until firm. Remove from pan to cut into squares.
How to Store These Peanut Butter Bars
The bars will slice more neatly when slightly softened (cutting bars are straight from the fridge or freezer will result in cracking) . I recommend taking them out of the freezer or fridge and letting them rest at room temperature for 30-60 minutes or until softened. Then slice these quinoa bars into squares, place in an airtight container, and keep refrigerated.
Can you freeze Peanut Butter Bars?
Yes! You can either freeze the whole pan or freeze them once they’re cut into squares.
Hope your family enjoys these bars!
Recipe for Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars:
- 1/3 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed (equals 1 cup cooked)
- 2/3 cup water
- 1 cup oats, (quick or old-fashioned; be sure they are labeled "gluten free" if you are avoiding gluten)
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/2 cup powdered milk (see recipe note for substitutions)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
- Combine quinoa and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Turn heat to low, cover pot, and simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.
- Add oats, peanut butter, powdered milk, honey to the bowl of a food processor. Add cooled quinoa and process until it comes together into a ball. (f you don't have a food processor, you can simply mix these ingredients by hand!)
- Line a square baking dish with parchment and then pat mixture into pan until evenly pressed into pan.
- Melt chocolate chips in microwave on 30-second intervals, stirring after each interval, until fully melted. Spread melted chocolate over mixture in pan.
- Refrigerate or freeze until ready to serve. Cut into slices (to avoid the tops cracking, set bars out at room temperature about 30-60 minutes or until softened, then cut into square). Place bars in an airtight container and keep refrigerated.
If you don't have (or want to use) powdered milk, you can swap in extra oats, crisped rice cereal, or unsweetened protein powder.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 12 Serving Size: 1 bar
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 194Total Fat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 58mgCarbohydrates: 24gFiber: 3gSugar: 14gProtein: 6g