Jan 28

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?



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  1. Debbie

    Those sound great! Pinning!

  2. Lauren @ Sugar Coated Sisters

    I’m totally going to make these soon…. anything that tastes like “fudgy peanut butter” while including quinoa has got to be good…. I might swap chocolate protein powder for the vanilla though!

    8 hour race?!!! oh man.

    1. Laura

      Chocolate would be fantastic! Let me know how you like them! :)

  3. Sylvia @ Frolic Through Life

    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!

    1. Laura

      You should come!!! It’s far from me too… great excuse for a vacation! :)

  4. Sue

    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?

    1. Laura

      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…

  5. Khushboo

    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!

  6. Michelle @ Eat Move Balance

    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!

  7. Angela @ Happy Fit Mama

    Pinned and making asap!

  8. Lindsay @ The Lean Green Bean

    looks yummy!

  9. Andrea

    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!!!

  10. Fran@BCDC

    These sound so good, Laura. Now if you would just come to NJ and make me some, I’d be all set! ;-)

    1. Laura

      I wish I could!!

  11. Brittany @ GOtheXtraMile

    Yum!! I’ve never made bars with quinoa.. they look so delicious!

  12. Miz

    and I love me the nutty.

  13. Heather @ girlyeverafter

    I typically eat some type of PB on toast or with a banana, these look good and I love the added chia seeds idea! I’m so excited about going to the Blend retreat! Counting down the days!!!!

  14. Heather (Where's the Beach)

    Oh those look really yummy! I’m with Heather on the PB on toast and banana before a race. I need something that’s easy on the tummy.

    1. Laura

      I do the same for a shorter race. I’d always cramp up!

  15. Meg

    lol you make me smile :) I HAVE NEVER raced before – still so proud of you! This recipe looks amazing!!

  16. Parita @ myinnershakti

    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!

    1. Laura

      I can’t wait to see what you come up with!

  17. Danielle

    I’ve been all about the quinoa lately so these bars come at a perfect time for me! They look amazing!

  18. Michelle

    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?

    1. Laura

      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!

  19. Kierston

    These look great! I haven’t yet tried Quinoa lol I’m not kidding.

    1. Laura

      No way!!! It’s so good. And high protein (for a gain)!

  20. Allie

    I love that you’re wild and spontaneous. It’s totally B-A!

  21. Kristina

    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 ;)

    1. Laura

      Don’t you wish you’d patented that idea? ;)

  22. Laura @ Mommy Run Fast

    Ooh, these look fantastic! And I was in the mood to bake something today… have to see if I have everything on hand. Can’t wait to try them!

    1. Laura

      Please let me kno what you think! Good marathon fuel. :)

  23. RavieNomNoms

    These look fantastic!! I need to try this ASAP! NOM

  24. Sarah @ The Smart Kitchen

    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.]

    1. Laura

      Special Blend delivery? :)

      I cannot WAIT to see yours!

  25. Hannah

    Yes I want these. I need to start making work snacks. These look just the ticket!

    1. Laura

      Add chocolate chips! ;)

  26. Amanda @ .running with spoons.

    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…

    1. Laura

      Doooo it! I want to see what awesomeness you come up with . :)

  27. Alex @ therunwithin

    those look pretty sweet. I need to try to make my own sort of gluten free bar

  28. Lisa

    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.

  29. Carol @ Lucky Zucca

    So creative!!! These sound incredible. I’m lazy about making my own bars too. Then again, I don’t eat a lot of bars to begin with so I’ve never really been motivated to make any… haha

    1. Laura

      I’ll bring you one!

  30. GiGi Eats Celebrities

    You are just FULL of creative and fueling ideas now AREN’T YOU!

    I am so not creative when it comes to food… Hell, I am too scared to even bake! LOL!!!

    1. Laura

      Scared to bake?! No way. You just need to come on over and we’ll cure you of that!

  31. Purelytwins

    cannot wait to try this…hopefully one day soon!

    we are both excited to meet you at blend ;)

    1. Laura

      I hope so too! It made me sad when you guys had to cut avocado. I love following your journey.

      4 more months!!! :)

  32. Jody - Fit at 55

    THOSE look delish!!!!! I have to find something for the rice syrup – does not do well with me. ;) Got coconut oil but not butter – OK?

    How about you just send some to me! ;)

    1. Laura

      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!!! :)

  33. Nadiya

    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?

    1. Laura

      Yep! See the end of the post… I have some in the freezer now. :)

  34. Brittany @ Delights and Delectables

    I’m so excited to see you at Blend!!! I’m so excited!! So… you bringing me some of those bars to Blend?? ;)

    1. Laura

      I will! We have a kitchen… we can make soooo many things! :)

  35. CCU

    Need to make these bars to fuel me up for school tomorrow :P


    1. Laura

      You let me know if you do! I bet you’ll add chocolate chips. ;)

  36. Tina @ Best Body Fitness

    Those sound good and I love the ingredients you used to maximize performance. :)

  37. Heather @ Better With Veggies

    So fun, although I can’t eat anything this solid in a race. My belly is a wimp when I’m racing – I’m just glad I know that now! :) And YAY for Blend!!!!

  38. The Girl in the Orange

    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 :)

    1. Laura

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

      I am sooo glad you like them!

  39. Melanie Zimmerman

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

    1. Laura

      It’s 1 cup cooked. :) Let me know how they turn out!

  40. Melanie Zimmerman

    So it’s 1/3 cup which equals a cup of cooked quinoa? Sorry but I want to be sure!

    1. Laura

      Right. 1 cup, after cooking.

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