Recipe: Quinoa trail mix balls with chocolate bits

by Julie Snyder

Quinoa Snack BallsFor a tasty, nutritious treat that gives a little crunch and pop, as well as a chocolate chip-cherry flavor combo, look to last night's supper.

Use your leftover quinoa or cook up a batch just for these yummy little balls. They're perfect to take on a hike, bring to a cookie exchange or grab on your way out the door for a breakfast on the go.

When you're tired of the same old snack, you can eat these tasty morsels. If dried cherries aren't your thing you can substitute your favorite dried fruit instead.

Quinoa trail mix balls with chocolate bits

Prep time: 15 minutes | Total time: 2 1/2 hours | Yield: 15 balls

Ingredients

• 1/4 cup quinoa, dry + 3/4 cup water
• 1 cup old fashioned or quick-cooking oats, dry
• 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
• 1/3 cup unsalted sunflower seeds
• 1/2 cup dark chocolate mini chips
• 1/3 cup dried cherries, raisins or cranberries
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 1/2 teaspoon salt, optional
• 1 tablespoon peanut butter
• 1/4 to 1/3 cup honey

Directions

Combine the quinoa and water in a small sauce pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, about 12 minutes. Fluff and scoop quinoa into a large mixing bowl.

Add oats, coconut, sunflower seeds, and dried cherries to quinoa and mix well.

Heat the honey over low heat in a small pan. When it is warm and runny, add the vanilla extract. Pour it over the quinoa, nuts and seeds. Mix the ingredients until they're well combined.

Allow the mixture cool before adding the chocolate chips, peanut butter, and salt. Mix with your hands so the peanut butter is mixed in evenly. Try not to melt the chocolate chips.

Using wet hands, scoop out very generous tablespoons full and gently roll into a golf-sized balls. Place the balls on a plate and chill for at least 2 hours until firm.

Cook's Note

If you eat 3 or 4 of these finger-licking breakfast balls (along with some fruit) for breakfast, you will get 9-12 grams of protein and 6-8 grams of fiber. Certainly not a bad way to start the day!

Photo courtesy of iStockphoto.