Nutty Quinoa Fuel Bars

Sometimes I get a wild hair and do nutty things.

Like signing up for 8 hour races, totally untrained.

The good thing is that I’m just a stubborn as I am nutty.  If I sign up for a race, I’m going to do it!  Next to proper training, the most important thing you can do is fuel properly.

Pangea Adventure Race canoeing

Photo credit: Pangea Adventure Racing

For last weekend’s adventure race, I made absolutely sure I had what my body needed.  A big part of that was these bars.  If they won’t keep you going, nothing will.

I’ve seen recipes for homemade granola bars, yet for some reason I was too lazy to make them.  But… I figured that if I could do a race like this, then I could muster the energy to make my own fuel.  After seeing Lindsay’s Quinoa Breakfast Bars I knew mine HAD to include quinoa – good, filling carbs.

Nutty Quinoa Fuel Bars

When I’m running, I don’t like to take in massive amounts of protein because it can cause cramping.  The moderate amount in these bars helps keep you sated and energized.

They also include brown rice syrup for energy – endurance is not the place to try to sub with Stevia.  The chia seeds are great for hydration, and contribute healthy fats along with the nuts.  Lastly, I added ginger.  Ginger is known to help calm the tummy, something I was worried about having just recovered from the stomach flu.

Nutty Quinoa Fuel Bars

Finally, the most important part: TASTE.  These are phenomenal.  Not so sweet as to exhaust your palate, but just enough to complement the peanut butter.  The way the oats and quinoa softened during baking bring to mind a fudgy peanut butter.  I also loved having the bite from the larger pieces of nuts.

Bonus: They held together in a baggie during the race, and the extras have worked well frozen and reheated as a quick snack/yogurt topper.


Nutty Quinoa Fuel Bars

Nutty Quinoa Fuel Bars

  • 1/4 C brown rice syrup
  • 1/4 C nut butter (I used 2T almond and 2 T peanut, freshly ground)
  • 2 T coconut butter (melted)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 C quinoa, cooked
  • 3/4 C rolled oats
  • 1/4 C vanilla protein powder (I used Sun Warrior)
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 T chia seeds
  • 1 egg (or flax egg)
  • 1/2 C nuts (I used crushed pistachios and walnuts)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Grease a square muffin pan or an 8×8-inch pan.  

Combine the syrup, butters, and vanilla in a small bowl.

In a large bowl, mix together the quinoa, oats, protein powder, cinnamon, ginger, and chia seeds.  Stir in egg, mixing well to avoid clumps.

Add the wet mixture to the bowl, again stirring well to distribute the ingredients and form a dough.  Fold in nuts.

Spoon the dough onto prepared pan, spreading into a flat layer. Bake for 18-20 mins, until golden brown on top. Remove from oven and let cool before removing from tins or cutting into squares.

Makes 11 squares.  (I must have eaten too much dough…)

Approximate nutrition: 183 calories, 9.5g fat, 21.6g sodium, 18.5g carbs, 3.2g fiber, 5.2g sugar, 7.g protein


I am all registered for the Blend Retreat!  Hope to meet /reunite with many of you there! :)

What is your favorite race fuel?

When was the last time you got a wild hair?  What did you do?


  1. says

    These babies sound delish! I’ve been wanting to try to make my own protein bars, and these sound perfect because I love me some quinoa. Totally jealous you’re going to Blend. Why, oh why, is it sooo far away? (From me at least) Enjoy!

  2. says

    Those bars look great! I have a sensitive stomach, so I eat very little before a race. Pb toast and fresh fruit are my favs. Last Saturday we went outdoor horseback riding at 20°F, does that count as wild?

    • Laura says

      I was the same way with short races. I’d eat a bit of banana and some PB, if anything.

      Horseback in well below freezing tips sounds beyond wild. There isn’t a big enough jacket in the world…

  3. says

    I am yet to try quinoa in sweet form but these look like the perfect recipe to do so…nut butter makes everything taste good right ;)! I love fuelling with dried fruit- sits well in my stomach and gives instant energy!

  4. says

    I’m registered for Blend, too!! I can’t wait! :)

    I really need to try quinoa in a snack bar. I’ve seen it in a few recipes, but I’ve only every used quinoa in savory dishes . . . or I guess I’ve used some quinoa flour in a bar. Just not actual quinoa. Great ingredients–it’s so cute that each ingredient has a purpose!

  5. says

    Yum! I have to try these because one time I made bars with quinoa and they were an epic failure! And I do the exact same thing- eat tons of dough and then think “why didn’t this recipe make as many as it said it should??” LOL!!!! Have a great monday pretty girl!!!

  6. says

    Oh these dsound delicious! I love how versatile quinoa is. I think these would make a great grab and go breakfast, esp on busy mornings. I think I’m going to be experimenting in the kitchen this week! Thanks for the inspiration, Laura!

  7. Michelle says

    This looks great! My family has a milk and nut allergy. I was thinking of trying this with wow Soy butter and chick peas for the nuts. Do you know of something I could use in recipes to replace nuts for that crunchy goodness?

    • Laura says

      You could try roasting the chickpeas first! Those have a fantastic crunch. Or how about seeds? Can you guys do sunflower seeds? Sun Butter or even a sweet “dessert” hummus would be good too! Please le tm eknow what you come up with – this could be really fun!

  8. says

    these sound perfect! quinoa is such an amazing thing, and you have paired it with some YUM flavors!

    I am another nut butter (almond!) on toast before races, although I haven’t run one in years… I used to make my own to go packs of nut butter to bring with – a runner ahead of my time 😉

  9. says

    Yummy…I would like some of those wrapped up and sent to me ASAP. Thankyouverymuch. :)

    I hope to perfect my grain-based protein bars by next week. Quinoa is a star ingredient. And they are VERY nutty. [Without actually having any nuts. Go figure.]

  10. says

    Perhaps signing up for a crazy race will give me the motivation I need to make my own granola bars? Lol I always complain about not being able to eat any store bought bars because they all seem to have peanuts or traces of peanuts, but so far I’ve been too lazy to make my own. You’ve officially managed to give me the bar baking bug…

  11. says

    Gosh, these sound amazing!nI definitely get lazy when making my own bars, but I always am thankful I did it after baking. I guess I just need to do it.

    • Laura says

      I think any sort of “sticky” sweetness can be subbed. Can you do honey or agave? Maple might work well too! Coconut oil works you fine – it’s the same thing. :

      I would love to send you a package!!! :)

  12. says

    Woa! This sounds like an awesome idea and I might need some of these now that I’m back to running. Not a big fan of artificial things like goo so grabbing one of these for a long run would be perfect. I wonder if they could keep in the freezer?

  13. says

    I made these over the weekend for after-school snacks–and they are awesomesauce–but am wondering when you’re supposed to add the crushed nuts? I don’t believe the recipe specifies–are they just a garnish like in the photo? It’s more logical to assume that they’re baked into the bars themselves, but I was worrying about them burning or something (bad experiences with ovens in the past…), lol :)

    • Laura says

      Oops! I fixed the recipe – you fold them in just before baking. Thanks for pointing that out! :)

      I am sooo glad you like them!

  14. Melanie Zimmerman says

    Help quick! I’m making these it 1/3 cup quinoa which yields a cup of cooked quinoa or is it a one cup measure then cooked??


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