Wild On Wednesday: Wild Jungle Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars

Quinoa, International Year of the QuinoaBy now, you are probably aware that emerald is the color of the year, but did you know that the United Nations declared 2013 as the International Year of the Quinoa?

The IYQ was proposed by Bolivia back in December of 2011, and was approved at the 66th session of the UN General Assembly. The objective of this project, according to the IYQ website is:

“[To affirm] the need to focus world attention on the role that quinoa biodiversity can play, owing to the nutritional value of quinoa, in providing food security and nutrition and in the eradication of poverty.”

After participating in Live Below the Line last week, and sadly, failing, I feel compelled (now more than ever) to spread the word about foods than can help eradicate hunger.

This nutritious grain (pronounced KEEN-wah), has gained notoriety in the last 5 years or so because it contains all nine essentials amino acids, making it a complete protein. It’s filling, suitable for all diets (vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free alike), and is rich in iron, magnesium, riboflavin, lysine, and manganese. Quinoa is so amazing that it’s been dubbed the “Supergrain of the Future”, despite its popularity among the Andeans thousands of years ago.

International Year of the Quinoa

Several varieties of quinoa (white, red, and black) have become a staple in my kitchen, but I’m always looking for new ways to prepare this ancient wonder grain. When I saw that Whitney from EcoVeganGal posted a video of a healthy and vegan version of the infamous rice crispy treat, I knew I had to give them a try.

Whole quinoa is available at nearly every grocery store chain, but I found it difficult to locate quinoa crispies, which are similar to – you guessed it – rice crispies. I looked online, but it wasn’t until I was visiting Montreal a couple of weeks ago that I spotted them in a health food store and brought them home (hence the sexy French packaging).

The recipe also calls for a more exotic ingredient, Wild Jungle Peanut Butter, which was surprisingly easy to find online, albeit a little expensive. Wild Jungle Peanuts are an heirloom breed of peanuts grown in Amazon rainforest. They are 100% raw, organic and fair trade and do not contain aflatoxins (a potentially dangerous type of mold) found in regular peanuts and peanut butter. The jungle peanuts also have a richer flavor and the most amazing chocolate-colored stripes, making them impossible to resist when on display.

If you have trouble finding WJPB, I recommend using a natural peanut, almond, or sunflower butter instead. Add sweetener of your choice (I used the agave nectar I had on hand), and enjoy this gooey, delicious, and addictive no bake dessert!

I’m a little late to the IQY game, but I plan on posting my favorite quinoa recipes sporadically over the rest of the year. The IQY website provides more detail about the project and lists upcoming events around the globe, so I recommend checking it out and sharing your recipes on Twitter with the hastag #IQY13.

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Wild Jungle Peanut Butter Quinoa Bars

  • 1 box quinoa crispies cereal
  • 3/4 cup agave nectar, honey, or brown rice syrup
  • Pinch of salt (I used pink Himalayan, but any salt will do.)
  • 3/4 cup wild jungle peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut flakes
  • A dusting of raw cacao powder (optional)

Instructions:

Pour the quinoa crispies into a large bowl. Heat the agave nectar and salt in a saucepan over low heat until the syrup liquefies. Add the wild jungle peanut butter to the liquid syrup and stir until well combined. Pour the syrup and peanut butter mixture over the cereal and mix well with a wooden spoon.

Add coconut flakes, stir and pour the mixture into an 8×8 baking dish. Gently wet a wooden spoon with water and press the mixture evenly into the pan. Let cool for 1 hour, cut into squares, and serve.

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