janet @ the taste space

Chocolate Puffed Quinoa Treats (aka Quinoa Choc-Crackle Slice) & Cookbook Giveaway

In Book Review, Desserts on April 10, 2014 at 6:49 AM

Chocolate Puffed Quinoa Treats

Another  bike ride and another treat!

Although this weekend was more about travelling to Austin for the Texas VegFest to meet the ever wonderful Tess Challis, instead of cycling. We had lofty plans for both, although the rainy weather foiled our plans.

We decided to play chicken with the weather. We wanted to cycle at least 100 km, if not more. Instead of going out for a long loop, we drove out to a more rural location and used it as our home base. I would have been very happy doing multiple laps along a straight and flat road but Rob thought that would be too boring. Instead, Rob drafted 30-35 km loops in a few directions. We pedalled through two loops before giving in to the wind and rain.

Us versus the weather? We lost. Our bikes? Super dirty. Our car won. It became clean.

The nice thing, though, was that I was able to take out these treats. I was really curious to try them out. Not only to see whether it would be better than my last puffed quinoa treat, but I was curious about using coconut sugar as a binder.

Chocolate Puffed Quinoa Treats

The good part? They tasted great. A chocolately goop to keep everything together. Not too sweet with a hint of almond. Since the quinoa was puffed and not crisp, they were easy to munch on. However, my intuition was correct about the coconut sugar: it did not hold up well as a binder. The only way I could keep these treats together was by chilling it in the freezer. Even then, perfectly cut squares were hard to craft. I resorted to breaking off nibbles when I wanted a treat. As such, these were not portable snacks but worked out well with our continuous looping back to the car. I wonder whether coconut nectar would work better as a binder, although I have never tried it.

The treats are from a fun new vegan cookbook called (wait for it) The Vegan Cookbook. It is a gorgeous cookbook with creative yet approachable recipes: breakfast tagine, kale & soba noodles with ginger-chilli sauce, curried chickpea patties with satay dipping sauce, chai-spiced banana muffins and chocolate banana wontons. Authored by Adele McConnell of Vegie Head, I must admit I had never heard of it before, but we have been enjoying many of her recipes, including the super fast chickpea curry and South African sweet potato stew (very similar to my previously shared recipe).  The rasam soup was a bit too tart for me, but at least it wasn’t mind-blowing spicy. In any case, with a wide range of international whole food recipes, I have many more dishes I look forward to making.

The Vegan Cookbook cover by Adele McConnell

Here’s to hoping the nice weather persists for this weekend. Not only for our cycling adventures but for all those partaking in the MS150 this weekend, too. 🙂

Thankfully, the publisher allowed me to share the recipe and giveaway the cookbook to a reader living anywhere in the world (YAYAYA!). To be entered in the random draw for the cookbook, please leave a comment below telling me about your favourite vegan meal. The winner will be selected at random on April 21, 2014. Good luck!

PS. Recipes from The Vegan Cookbook elsewhere:

Moroccan Quinoa Soup (with a giveaway, too)

Peanut Butter and Banana Bread

Mushroom and Pea Coconut Korma

Raw Chocolate Torte With Salted Pecan Sauce

Chocolate Puffed Quinoa Treats (aka Quinoa Choc-Crackle Slice)
From The Vegan Cookbook

1.5 cups coconut nectar, or 1/2 cup brown sugar or coconut sugar (I used coconut sugar but the coconut nectar may yield a more sticky bar)
4 cups (250g/9oz) puffed quinoa (I found it at nuts.com)
2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup almond butter
2 tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder

1. If using sugar, put it in a small bowl and add 1/2 cup warm water. Stir to dissolve. Tip the puffed quinoa into a shallow non-stick 9×9″ traybake tin and leave to one side. Put the coconut nectar or sugar water in a bowl and add the oil, salt, almond butter and cacao powder. Stir well to combine.

2. Pour over the puffed quinoa and stir well. Press the mixture down firmly and chill for 2 hours (Janet’s note: I popped mine into the freezer). Slice into squares using a sharp knife, then serve. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

Makes: 16 squares
Preparation: 10 minutes, plus 2 hours chilling

  1. Now that’s an unusual and lovely way to use quinoa x

  2. Love this recipe and the giveaway! Always looking for vegan cookbooks that works for athletes!

  3. I really admire your drive and energy for such long bike rides! I’m sorry to hear the weather got the best of you but… you got to go to Texas Veg Fest! I’m slightly jealous. Tess is a wonderwoman.

  4. Yum! I hadn’t heard of this cookbook before but it sounds great! I so cannot choose a favorite vegan meal, but I guess anything that involves hummus ??

  5. Favourite vegan meal? That’s tough! I’ll go with an early, nostalgic dish: BLT brunch casserole from La Dolce Vegan.

  6. A falafel sandwich and fries is one of my favorite meals.

  7. Thanks for doing this giveaway! Favorite vegan meal? Any of my Mexican-inspired concoctions, of course; and banana ice kream for dessert.

  8. would love to have an international vegan cookbook on the shelf, meal in a bowl, bit of grain, carrots, beets, corn, kale, shrooms, tamari almonds, shoyu, ginger, garlic dressing!!!!

  9. I love making big “vegan bowls” with a grain, some beans, roasted veggies, sauerkraut, and a sprinkling of nutritional yeast!

  10. I have a handful of recipes that I make on a regular basis that are tasty and, of course, vegan. But my favourite go to recipe for dinner after a busy day (AKA fast) is something I call “balsamic braised chickpeas. Sweat sliced onion in olive oil, add chopped garlic and soften, add a 19oz can of chopped tomatoes and simmer to reduce liquid slightly. Add thyme, oregano, salt, pepper and rosemary to taste. Add balsamic vinegar to taste (1/4 cup if you really like balsamic, 2 tablespoons if you’re nervous of that much vinegar). Add can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed. I like to throw in whatever greens are wilting in my fridge, roughly chopped. Serve over your favourite easy rice.

  11. These treats look great! And while I’m sorry the weather didn’t cooperate for your bike ride, I’m glad you at least got to go out – I’m sure the cycling made these taste even better 🙂

    As for my favourite vegan meal? There are so many that it’s hard to choose, but I agree that bowls are hard to beat. Quinoa, greens, spice, almond butter and tofu or legumes – perfection!

  12. This book does look great. I love quinoa but have not heard of puffed quinoa. My favorite vegan meal is definitely raw tacos made with cashew sour cream and walnut meat.

  13. curried tofu salad

  14. Fave vegan meal? Oh gosh, I think I’d have to go with something Indian, I think a selection of curries, mild and creamy, spicy and sour, and loads of lovely naan!

  15. This book looks great. Thanks for the giveaway. My favorite mean would be roasted root vegetables with tofu.

  16. Lately I’ve been really loving wild rice and roasted squash – so simple, but so tasty.

  17. These look and sound so delicious Janet!! I absolutely love anything with coconut sugar and I love chocolate and almond butter. This looks so easy too. I have tried a few quinoa bars from the store but wasn’t a fan of how strong the quinoa flavor was, but these sound DELISH!!

  18. All the better to crumble over vegan ice cream, my dear.

  19. Wow those look nice. My favourite vegan meal is probably asparagus risotto, with olive oil and no cheese. So good!

  20. WHOA, these puffed treats look SO good!! My favorite vegan meal is a classic GIANT bowl of quinoa or beans with avocado, tomoato, greens, and any other veggies and SALSA galore. With a side of CHIPS! I also love any and all vegan treats.

  21. It’s autumn in Australia and I’m finding the cooler weather gives me the perfect excuse to indulge in comfort foods. My favourite meal lately has been marinated tempeh ‘steaks’ smothered in a rich mushroom gravy with sides of crispy roasted potatoes and citrus-garlic roasted asparagus… along with a glass of (vegan) red wine! It’s what we’ll be having for dinner tomorrow night while we watch Game of Thrones. 🙂

  22. Oh I love this recipe! I love using puffed quinoa in dessert – so fun.
    I would love the cookbook – my favourite vegan meal is probably pad thai.

  23. One of my favorites is Vegan spinach alfredo

  24. My current cold weather fav is bibimbap; warm weather fav would have to be a raw taco salad.

  25. Lately my favorite is spring rolls with spicy dipping sauce.
    I’ve had good luck with quinoa bars using dates as a binder…I love dates in anything so this recipe is another good excuse for me to play with them again. 😉

  26. lately my favorite meal’s been vegan mac n cheese

  27. Those puffed quinoa treats sound great, and the recipe pictured on the book cover looks amazing! Two good reasons for me to want to add that book to my collection, and I’m sure there are more to be found by leafing through it!
    My favourite vegan meal at the moment has to be the huevos rancheros plate I’ve had at Aux Vivres in Montreal on Sunday, right after I was dismissed from the hospital: I was starving and it really hit the spot!

    • Nice, Josiane! We haven’t been to Aux Vivres for brunch yet. And the last time, we just had the takeaway… but their takeaway options are great. Next time, it sounds like brunch is in order. 🙂

  28. My favourite meal? Either taco salad or enchiladas with arroz verde.

  29. Those treats look wonderful! I don’t think I can get puffed quinoa but I might try these with puffed amaranth.

  30. […] There is still time to enter the giveaways for The Blender Girl and The Vegan Cookbook, […]

  31. My favorite vegan meal is Tuscan Vegetable Soup. It really is a complete meal, loaded with so much flavor.

  32. Those treats look nom! I have puffed brown rice (since I’ve never seen puffed quinoa) so I’ll give it a try :D.
    My favourite vegan meal is a noodle-free veggie lasagna (with baked eggplant strips as “lasagna”, or a nori wrap layered with avo, sprouted mung beans, baked tofu and some home-made chutney. Yum! Veganism is so versatile, but that’s why looking at recipes and recipe books is so grand – it just flips a switch in one’s brain to think about all the possibilities 😀

  33. Favorite vegan meal lately is a “stir fry” using a homemade lemon dressing. Different, but Yummmy good.

  34. My favorite vegan meal was the one I made last Christmas: with various hors d’oeuvres followed by a Christmas log.

    Those treats are original! Too bad about the book’s title being a little, well… less original.

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