These amazing Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Quinoa Bars will make all your fall dreams come true! Made with quinoa, pumpkin, banana, flax, hemp, and chickpeas, they're healthy, vegan & gluten-free!
Well hello there! Does anyone else spy a little orange tint to those quinoa bars?
Oh yes my friends, it's happening. Pumpkin. And chocolate. And quinoa. All wrapped up into one little square of deliciousness.
You aren't going to believe me when I tell you about these bars. They're sort of a crazy jumbling of ingredients and my goodness they are good. Like realllllly good. So good in fact, that I've had to give part of the latest batch away because I'm finding myself sitting on the couch and eating like four at a time.
Although they do taste super bueno and, despite their decadent look, they're actually healthy too.
I know it's probably a little early for pumpkin season, but I just couldn't help myself.
After your response to the peanut butter bars and the blueberry breakfast bars I made a few weeks ago, I've been dreaming up fun new ways to add quinoa to bars. Why? Because since so many of you are busy busy, bars are a great option when you need something quick and healthy while you're on the go.
These? They're no exception. And even though they are studded with dark chocolate chips, you're going to love all the goodness that's happening inside.
Aside from the obvious addition of quinoa, these bars are stacked with a whole list of super-charged ingredients:
- Pumpkin: not only is pumpkin one of the greatest flavors ever, but it's also got lots of nutritional benefits that work for us. Pumpkin is packed with fiber, is high in vitamin A, has lots of beta-carotene (gimme all the orange veggies!) AND is super high in potassium. Plus, it's relatively low in calories and can be a great addition to baked goods (like these) to replace some fat and add some moisture.
- Banana: Oh how I adore banana and if you haven't already noticed, I'm kind of obsessed with adding it to my baked goods. Banana is high in natural sugars which makes it perfect for adding to things like this because it amps up the sweetness without the need for tons of added sugar. Bananas are also high in fiber, potassium, vitamin B6 and vitamin C.
- Flax: we use flax a lot around here as an egg replacer, but flaxseed meal is also a really amazing ingredient. Flax seeds are one of the highest plant-based sources of omega-3 fatty acids which support heart health, regulate circulation and support proper kidney function. Flax is also high in both soluble and insoluble fiber and is super easy on the digestive tract.
- Hemp hearts: ahh hemp hearts! They've seriously stolen my ❤ (see what I did there?) We don't use them much around here, but man are these tiny little seeds amazing. Hemp hearts are an excellent source of fatty acids, are considered a complete plant protein, meaning they have all the essential amino acids (like quinoa). They're also high in antioxidants and a multitude of vitamins. Arguably one of most powerful things about hemp hearts is their protein content, with a serving size clocking in at 10g, and this particular form of protein is much more digestible than meat, dairy, eggs, and other animal proteins. ????????
And while all those ingredients are simply amazing, I've got one more surprise in store for you.
Unlike my blondies or peanut butter bars, the base of this sweet treat isn't a nut butter. In fact, there's hardly any fat in these at all.
Instead, we're using…
Say whaaa? I know it sounds insane. But it's pretty amazing too.
Granted, this isn't a new idea. There are lots of recipes out there for chickpea blondies, but this is my first time dabbling in the chickpea-inside-of-baked-goods world and yes, while I was also a little skeptical at first, I think you're going to be amazed at how tasty these are.
Let's think of them as a different version of black bean brownies, which definitely have become a “thing” in the last few years.
Adding chickpeas to your bars is basically the same thing, but I almost think better because they let you play around with your other ingredients more. Black beans? They need chocolate. Chickpeas? You can go in whichever direction your heart takes you!
Plus, they really amp up the protein of these quinoa bars. So there's that going for them too.
OKAY. Let's review.
We've got: quinoa, pumpkin, banana, flax, hemp, and chickpeas (plus coconut sugar, spices and chocolate chips). What we don't see: gluten, dairy, oil, refined sugar, eggs, or nuts.
Ummm hello. These bars are perfect.
And if it was me…these beauties are TOTALLY breakfast worthy. Woo hoo!
PS: if you make this recipe (or any others!) make sure to snap a pic and share it on Instagram using hashtag #SIMPLYQUINOA – I want to see your creations!
More Healthy Quinoa Pumpkin Recipes
- Pumpkin Quinoa Granola
- Slow Cooker Pumpkin Quinoa Chili
- Skinny Pumpkin Quinoa Muffins
- Pumpkin Quinoa Pancakes
- Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Quinoa Bread
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Protein Quinoa Bars
- 1 flax egg 1 1/2 tablespoons flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons water
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1/2 cup mashed banana
- 1/2 cup pumpkin puree
- 3/4 cup quinoa flour
- 1/2 cup coconut sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 teaspoon ground vanilla bean or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract*
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- Pinch of salt
- 1/4 cup hemp hearts
- 1/2 - 3/4 cup dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment and set aside.
- Whisk together the flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, blend the chickpeas, banana and pumpkin in a food processor until completely smooth.
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, reserving the hemp hearts and chocolate chips. Pour the chickpea-pumpkin mixture into the bowl along with the flax egg and mix to combine.
- Fold in the hemp hearts and chocolate chips.
- Dump the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the center rack for 22 - 26 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 - 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing.
- Slice into 12 - 16 bars. Store in an airtight container for 2 - 3 days.
45 comments on “Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Quinoa Bars”
Is it possible to substitute applesauce for the banana? I can’t have bananas. 🙁
You could absolutely try, but I’m not sure that it would work since applesauce isn’t as sticky as bananas and the bananas really help hold the mixture together. I think what I would try if I was replacing the bananas, was to increase the pumpkin by 1/4 cup, add 1/4 cup more sugar and add an extra flax egg. If it seems too wet, then I’d add a tablespoon or two of quinoa flour.
Let me know if you give it a try!
What can I use as a substitute for the hemp hearts?
Feel free to add some cooked quinoa or 2 tablespoons of chia seeds!
how do these freeze Alyssa?? Thx
I haven’t tested freezing, but I’m not sure they would work very well due to the beans. I’ve read others who freeze black bean brownies successfully, so I think it’s worth a shot. Make sure to stop back and let us know how they are 🙂 xo
I just made these, because pumpkin season. And I really, really like them! I had slightly not enough banana, so I increased the pumpkin to make up for it, and I also halved the sugar (and also used cane sugar since I don’t have coconut) and found them perfectly sweet.
Woo hoo! So glad you liked them 🙂 I need to make another batch 😉
I want to try this but all I have is dried chickpeas… would you happen to know how long to soak them before adding them to the recipe. I bought them thinking I could use them for hummus but thought I could possibly use them for this 🙂
You’ll need to cook them. I usually soak them overnight, rinse, and then cook. To cook cover with water by a few inches, bring to a boil and then simmer until done (60-90 min for me usually but you’ll have to test as you go).
Thanks! We have the same method 🙂
I do the same as Lena! Soak overnight and then simmer for about an hour 🙂
Oh, you had me right up until chickpeas (I”m allergic.. I know, right?!) I usually sub navy beans in every other recipe.. do you think they would work ok in this?
I think it would work, yes! But I haven’t tried it so I can’t guarantee it 😉 Let me know if you try!
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OMG these look so good and I would not have thought they had chickpeas in them. I want to try these for the kids who are picky eaters.
YES! Let me know how they turn out 🙂
My dish is in the oven now. Wondering why garbanzo beans? seemed a little chunky in the batter as i sampled it. Navy beans may be smoother? I’ll have to experiment! Thanks for sharing!
How did they turn out? I didn’t find mine to be chunky at all – perhaps you didn’t blend them long enough? Definitely think navy beans could work, but they would be a little more watery, so you might want to adjust other ingredients (or baking time) accordingly!
They were FABULOUS! I had a few chunks here and there but nothing to be upset over. Probably my terribly food processor! I loved this recipe and have it saved for future use! First time using the toasted quiona you recommended doing. Not bitter at all! Thanks!!!!
Hi, Your website is great! Thank you for sharing your recipes and techniques. I would like to make this recipe. Do I measure the chickpeas before or after they are cooked? Thanks for your time. 🙂
Thanks, Lynn! Great to have you here 🙂 The chickpeas are measured after they are cooked. If you’re using canned it’s about 1/2 a can. I’m not sure what it would be if you were starting with uncooked beans. Let me know how they turn out!
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great recipe, do you know a substitute for the quinoa flour? 🙂
I haven’t tested it with anything other than quinoa flour, but you could try another flour and see how it works!
I couldn’t find quinoa flour, I just threw quinoa in my ninja. Worked great. Also, I just realized I used a whole can of chickpeas. Oops! They still were good. Really moist but good. I didn’t have flax. :/
Wonderful! Next time I would reduce the chickpeas and then roast the rest in the oven for a salad topping 🙂
sounds good – one thing I do know, cooking or heat of any kind with flax destroys its most important benefits. I usually grind and use fresh in salads. I am going to try this recipe – as I am trying to go plant based for life.
Can’t wait to hear what you think!
Hi there – these look fabulous and ours are in the oven baking right now! Wondering if you have a nutritional information anywhere on these beauties?
I don’t have it calculated at the moment, but you can use this tool to plug the ingredients into! https://www.caloriecount.com/cc/recipe_analysis.php
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I have a food sensitivity to flaxseed and eggs. How would you make an egg substitute if not using the flax version? mashed banana?
Mashed banana or chia seeds!
Would chickpea flour work in place of quinoa flour?
I haven’t tested it, so I’m not sure! I think mostly likely it would 🙂
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Can you make your own quinoa flour?
You can! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FQ4Nr7sDkIk
I’ve made these twice and they are a new favorite healthy treat! Really moist and not too sweet. As an FYI – the second time I accidentally omitted the flax egg and didn’t have any problems.
Yay I’m so happy to hear that! xx
I have tried numerous cookie recipes using chick peas that were awful, so I was sceptical about this recipe. Glad to say we liked it and will definitely make again.