Get to Know Your Grains: Quinoa (Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars)

12 Aug

About eight years ago I was exposed to quinoa at Walt Disney World while staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge.  Boma, the African buffet restaurant on property, served a hot quinoa breakfast porridge every morning and even without knowing its nutritional prowress I found it to be a delightfully tasty alternative to normal breakfast cereals.  I knew I just had to have it as a morning meal option in my own home.  Anyone who has been to WDW knows that they do customer service right so when I asked about how it was prepared, the chef provided me with the preparation method and recipe.

When I returned home, I did a little research on this mystery grain and quickly learned that it was quite the super grain.  Along with preparing quinoa in the mornings I started seeking out other ways to enjoy it.  At that point I was living in Houston and the fabulous Monica Pop would sell a red quinoa salad (that I have often tried to copy, yet have never managed to get quite right) at the T’afia farmers market that became a common staple for me.  I also started making a quinoa and flax granola occasionally that- looking back- seemed very forward thinking despite the fact that my friends made fun of me for taking time to home make a seedy little granola.  It’s probably one of the biggest contributors to my crunchy hippie reputation amongst my NFL dance friends.

By now I think most everyone is familiar with quinoa and has used it at least once in their kitchen- even if it’s simply been in place of rice as a side dish.  And however you might use it, you’re doing your health some serious favors.  Nutritional evaluations of quinoa lead most dietitians to classify it as a complete protein.  It’s high in antioxidants, phytonutrients and the flavonoids quercetin and kaempherol- higher, in fact, than the celebrated cranberry.  It contains eight essential amino acids yet is low in fat.  It is gluten free.  It’s easy to prepare and store for midweek meals.  No wonder it’s considered the “Mother Grain.”

To be frank, practically the only way you can go wrong with quinoa is to pronounce it phonetically.  Stop with the “kwin-oh-uh”… it pronounced “Keen-wah.”

Say it with me- “Keeeeeen-waaaah.”

Now go eat some!

Nutritional Information (1/2 c prepared quinoa)-

  • Calories- 111
  • Total Fat- 4 g
  • Sodium- 7 mg
  • Carbohydrates- 19.5 g
  • Fiber- 2.5 g
  • Protein- 4 g
  • Vitamin E- .6 mg
  • Thiamin- .1 mg
  • Riboflavin- .1 mg
  • Niacin- .4 mg
  • Vitamin B6- .1 mg
  • Folate- 37.5 mcg
  • Calcium- 16 mg
  • Iron- 1.4 mg
  • Magnesium- 59 mg
  • Phosphorus- 140.5 mg
  • Zinc- 1 mg

Go Running, Mama!- Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars; clean, healthy snack or breakfast on the go

These are perfect for my toddler’s snack during dance camp because they pack a protein punch!  If you’re making them for adults, up the flavor factor by tossing in some additional baking spices.  You can also toss in raisins to make them more similar to traditional granola bars for bigger kiddos.

Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars

  • 2 1/2 c quinoa, prepared and at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tbs flax meal
  • 6 tbs water
  • 1/3 c almond milk (I’m crazy for Califia Farms)
  • 1/3 c grade B maple syrup
  • 1 tbs local honey
  • 1 tbs cinnamon (ceylon is the best bet for use in this quantity)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • pinch of salt

Directions: Preheat oven to 370 degrees F.

Line an 8×8 baking dish with parchment paper.

In a small mise en place bowl, mix flax meal with water and allow to congeal.

In a mixing bowl, whisk eggs and flax meal mixture.  Reserving quinoa, add remaining ingredients and whisk once again.

Add quinoa and mix well to combine.

Pour into parchment lined baking dish and bake for 25 minutes.

Allow to cool 10 minutes in pan before removing on parchment to a cooling rack.

Once completely cool, cut in  a 2 inch grid to create 16 bars.

4 Responses to “Get to Know Your Grains: Quinoa (Cinnamon Quinoa Lunchbox Bars)”

  1. FoodBabbles August 14, 2013 at 3:57 am #

    I adore quinoa! I’ve never used it in a granola-esque bad. What a great idea!! With my nearly 4-year old starting preschool next month (sniffle) I’m starting to think about healthy lunchbox items to pack for her. This one definitely fits the bill! Thanks for the great recipe.

    • Jenn August 14, 2013 at 4:11 am #

      Hope it works well for you little one’s lunchbox, Kate! Good luck with back-to-school, Mama.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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