Quinoa Balls

After my triumphant win with the rice cooker quinoa the other day, I felt that I had to make something extra-good. And, as any gal will tell you, extra-good generally means that there is chocolate involved.

My first thought was to replicate the quinoa balls sold at the Heart Rock Cafe in the Reh-Fit Centre. They are packed full of protein and give a nice little burst of energy. Plus, they strike a pretty good balance between sin and virtue. Sure, they’ve got a few chocolate chips inside, but they’re also mostly quinoa…and we all know how good* that stuff is for you.

*Quick reminder: quinoa is considered a “superfood”, containing all eight 8 amino acids. It is gluten-free, easy to digest, and can assist in balancing blood sugars. Quinoa is full of phytonutrients, antioxidants and a good source of calcium, iron, potassium, copper and dietary fibre.

Anyway, I think I did a pretty good job with my copycat recipe. If you want to make these gluten-free, choose certified gluten-free oats, or omit them completely and reduce the peanut butter and honey by 1/2 tbsp each. These can also be made vegan if you use a non-dairy chocolate chip. Don’t omit the chocolate, though. You gotta have a little sin.

Quinoa Balls

1 cup cooked quinoa
1/4 cup quinoa flakes or quick oats
1/4 cup walnut pieces
1/4 cup dried cranberries
2 tbsp mini chocolate chips
1 1/2 tbsp natural peanut butter
1 1/2 tbsp honey

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine quinoa and oats in a medium mixing bowl; set aside. In a food processor, chop walnuts and cranberries.
Add chopped walnuts, cranberries, chocolate chips to the quinoa and oats. Stir in peanut butter and honey.
Using a tbsp as a measure, scoop out mixture into small mounds on a parchment-lined cookie sheet.
With WET hands, shape each mound into a ball shape. (This takes a fairly light touch. If you squeeze too hard, mixture will crumble.)
Once all of the balls are made and spaced evenly on the parchment, bake for 20 minutes, turning once.
Cool completely on the baking sheet. (Balls will still be slightly soft fresh out of the oven, but will firm-up a little as they cool.)

Makes 12-16

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