Y’all I’m so excited for this recipe because it’s part of a super fun snack swap with Kaitlyn from Fit Freedom Lifestyle. While living in Minneapolis, I met Kaitlyn through the power of Instagram and y’all, she is seriously such a gem. I am constantly inspired by her and John’s dedication to sharing health focused content that is totally real and can actually be applied to any lifestyle. Plus – I’m obsessed with her workout page – this HIIT workout and this leg series have been saving me when I just need to workout at home. As a part of our little snack swap, Kaitlyn whipped up a super yummy Paleo Banana Bread (which I made last week and it is seriously scrumptious and perfect for the fall season – I’ll share the link once live), while I made up this quinoa bark which is officially my new favorite evening snack when my ever-present sweet tooth always seems to pop up.
But before I get to the actual recipe, let’s chat about September. Ohhhhh September – there’s a part of me that always considers September 1 the official start to the fall season. I know that isn’t true, it’s not officially fall until September 22nd, but I like to get ahead when it comes to celebrating. I could wax poetic on the season, there’s just something so cozy and snuggly about breaking out the fall boots and flannel shirts and I LIVE FOR IT. Maybe it’s because I grew up in Texas where we don’t really have a fall season – which was reinstated as a fact after moving to Minnesota last year where fall is in fact an actual season – that I am so fond of the sound of crunchy leaves and scarves and misty mornings. Before I become extremely basic by listing out all of the things I love about fall, let’s talk about what’s actually going on. It’s 99 degrees today in Sacramento and I’m plugging in travel and meetings on my calendar through the end of the year. These next few weeks are going to be filled with so many flights, explorations, meetings, and celebrations. I get to head back to the midwest this next weekend for KBrenn’s wedding (literally so excited for this celebration because I also get to be reunited with Imani and we are going to be obnoxious tourists for five hours in Chicago the day after wedding!!), then I’m back to my home away from home, MPLS, twice in October, and then come November I return to Texas for a month and a half. I’m exhausted just typing that out.
People keep saying it’s good to be busy, and I don’t disagree. There’s something nice about having things going on and events to look forward to, but it can definitely be hard to keep up with routines and goals when there’s always something going on. I’m trying though! Just send up some prayers that I don’t get sick with all of these flights and time changes (:
Now on to why you’re really here – this quinoa bark. Y’ALL. I think I have found my new favorite snack of all time. So this is the thing about me: I don’t really snack during the day. I’m pretty good about getting in my breakfast, a hearty lunch bowl of some kind, and tossing together something for dinner, but it’s that post-dinner evening pre-bedtime zone where my snack monster comes out. I need something sweet after dinner, and then I want something salty, and then back to sweet, and the cycle goes on. Luckily this bark has a little bit of that salty-sweet thing going on so I knock out both birds with one stone. And if you’re wondering how the whole quinoa thing works out here – quinoa is actually a seed, so you can toast it up like any other seeds and eat it as is. Toasting it actually brings out its naturally nutty flavor, and couple with the richness of maple syrup you could eat the base of this bark on its own no problem. But, because I’m a chocoholic I obvi had to find a way to work chocolate into this scenario. Use some really high quality dark chocolate – 80% cocoa and higher, and top with all of your favorite ingredients. I went with a superfood theme here to go with the powerhouse that quinoa is, using the dark chocolate, goji berries, dried blueberries and cranberries, etc. You could sub in your favorite nuts and seeds, or even get crazy during the Halloween season and toss on some of your favorite sweets if you’re not feeling the superfood vibe.
Give this bark a whirl, I promise you’ll be hooked – and tell me your favorite topping combos!
superfood chocolate quinoa bark
yield – about 10 servings
time – 20 minutes prep, 30 minutes cook
for the bark –
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and dried
3 tablespoons maple syrup
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons of coconut oil
pinch of fine salt
for the toppings –
10oz dark chocolate, 80% cocoa or higher
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
toppings of choice: coconut shreds, nuts, seeds, dried fruit, etc.
- preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- in a large mixing bowl, add the maple syrup, honey, coconut oil, and salt. microwave in ten second increments until ingredients are all melted. add the quinoa to the syrup and stir to combine, coating all of the quinoa.
- spoon the quinoa mixture onto the baking sheet and spread into a layer about 1/2 inch thick and place into the oven (the quinoa will spread a little while baking). bake for about 30 – 35 minutes until the quinoa has started to turn golden brown. remove from the oven (the quinoa layer will still be soft) and place tray into the freezer to cool for five minutes, letting the layer harden.
- while the quinoa is cooling, add the chocolate and coconut oil into a microwaveable bowl and melt in 30 second increments.
- remove the quinoa from the freezer. spread the chocolate onto the quinoa into an even layer and add toppings of choice.
- place tray into fridge for at least 10 – 15 minutes until the chocolate has hardened.
- with a knife, chop the bark into large chunks and store in an airtight container. enjoy!