Nutty Puffed Quinoa Crispy Treats (vegan and GF)


GAH. It’s so hot outside. Anyone else melting? I’ve been neglecting my cooking all week because I do not, under any circumstances, want to turn on my oven. Smoothies are now my go-to meal, for every meal. Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner = smoothie time.

Even toast and coffee is unbearable because IT IS SO HOT. We have two window air conditioners on full blast 24/7 and our apartment still feels like a oven. This summer has had the most bizarre weather. It is either raining or sweltering outside, sometimes at the same time. It’s mid-July and I haven’t even gone swimming yet! What is going on!

Besides smoothies, I have also been munching on frozen cookies from my freezer. Usually when I make a batch of cookies, I freeze half of them so we don’t eat them all in one sitting. I bring them when we travel on the weekends so we have a quick snack. But lately, I have been eating these babies straight from the freezer (they are like little ice blocks). It takes me longer to eat them and they cool me off.

Yesterday when I was at the Bulk Barn, I stumbled upon puffed quinoa as I was browsing the aisles, soaking up the air conditioning. The little puffs really intrigued me. I immediately thought that they would be great as a sub to rice krispies!


Aren’t those little puffs awesome? Puffed anything is pretty fun. They are so light and fluffy and can be a great nutritional boost when added to cereal, oatmeal, or trail mix.


Quinoa is high in protein, iron, and fibre. It is an excellent source of vitamins E and C, and contains minerals such as thiamine, riboflavin, phosphorous, and potassium (aka all the good stuff).

When I got home with my big bag of puffed quinoa I couldn’t wait to try it out. Like most puffed cereals, puffed quinoa doesn’t really have a taste. You have to add some sort of sweetener or other flavor to really enjoy it.


So after a long time contemplating and walking in and out of the kitchen.. I decided to make crispy treats. I knew I would have to turn on the burner on the stove so I really didn’t want to, but my need for crispy treats with puffed quinoa was too strong…

I gave in.

And thank goodness I did. These are the perfect treat and the puffed quinoa stole the show. Grant said they have a hint of quinoa flavor (duh), which he wasn’t keen on, but I don’t notice it at all. It just tastes like puffed cereal to me.

Make these and store them in your freezer. And my advice, make sure you take an ice bath to relieve yourself from the heat you endured while making them. It was well worth it, my friends.


Nutty Puffed Quinoa Crispy Treats (vegan and gluten free)

by Christine Shaver

Prep Time: 15 min

Cook Time: 20 min (cool)

Keywords: dessert snack gluten-free vegan

Ingredients (12-15 squares)

  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
  • 1/2 cup almond butter
  • 1 tbsp Earth Balance (vegan butter)
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3.5 cup puffed quinoa
  • 1/4 cup chopped peanuts
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
  • 1 tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp shredded unsweetened coconut


1) Line a 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper. If you don’t have parchment paper you can grease the bottom of the dish with a little vegan butter but the paper makes it very easy to remove.

2) In a large saucepan, add brown rice syrup, almond butter, Earth Balance, almond and vanilla extract. Sprinkle with salt. Heat on medium-low, stirring frequently until heated through (5-7 minutes).

3) Remove saucepan from heat and add in puffed quinoa, peanuts, and chia seeds. Stir until well combined (everything is coated).

4) Spoon mixture into lined baking dish. Gently wet your hands and push down (you can also use a pastry roller if you have one handy). You want to make sure everything is compressed well so that the bars don’t crumble. Place dish in the freezer.

5) In a microwave safe dish, add chocolate chips. Heat for 30-40 seconds in the microwave. Stir and heat longer if there are still big chunks. Add sunflower seed butter and salt. Stir until well combined.

6) Remove baking dish from freezer and drizzle chocolate mixture on top. Sprinkle with the coconut flakes. Return to freezer and let cool for 15-20 minutes. Once the chocolate has hardened, lift the parchment paper to remove from dish. Cut into squares.

Note: I kept my treats in the freezer until I wanted to eat/serve them. Because it is so hot, I didn’t want to leave them at room temperature. You can also store them in the fridge.

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13 responses to “Nutty Puffed Quinoa Crispy Treats (vegan and GF)

  1. I’ve never tried puffed quinoa. These crispy treats look delicious, and sound super simple to whip up!

  2. They look really yummy and your photos are very professional looking :) I have never heard of or seen puffed quinoa in stores, but if any store has it, I’m sure Whole Foods would. I’ll have to be on the lookout.

  3. makingthymeforhealth

    I’ve never seen puffed quinoa but these look so good! Can you imagine all of us bloggers living in one huge house? We would have delicious and healthy treats all of the time!
    It finally cooled off here so hopefully it will make it’s way up to you soon!!

  4. Oh these sound tasty! I haven’t heard of puffed quinoa but with its high protein I’m sure it’s better than puffed rice. This weather, it’s been crazy! Pouring rain or burning up or both like you said. My poor little doodle dog, it’s been so hot he hasn’t got to go on a run in a week.

    • My pup doesn’t run with me (he’s more of a stop and smell the roses type) but even I can’t run outside! It is just waaay too hot. I’ve been trying to run inside on the treadmill but this hot and humid weather is the worst motivator.

  5. I’ve never had puffed quinoa but now im so intrigued!! they look delicious! i cant wait for this heat to break. have a great weekend!

  6. What?! Where have I been–I’ve never heard of puffed quinoa! I need to find this ASAP. :) I love the idea of using it in bars like this!

  7. Hi, Christine! I love, love this post! I cook with quinoa a lot, but am now going to scour my American midwestern grocery stores’ shelves for puffed quinoa, which (like so many of your other readers) I have never seen! What a find! Plus, my business partner Gretchen looooves Rice Krispie Treats, but (as someone trained in nutrition who blogs about healthy recipes) she rarely eats them! Yay … won’t she be delighted?!?!

    • Thanks Shelley! These are a nice treat and the puffed quinoa is a great twist. I found the puffed quinoa at the Bulk Barn but I am sure you can find some at other bulk grocery stores or health food stores!

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