I’m fairly convinced I could be a vegetarian without much hassle. Now don’t get me wrong, I love me some steak fajitas, barbecued ribs or pork chops…I just don’t cook meat that often. Especially if I’m only cooking for myself. That being said, I’ve had low iron levels on more than one occasion and my mother is constantly badgering me about my eating habits. Sorry I love popcorn and wine for dinner Mom! (jk. I don’t do that. Often…) In searching for easy ways to add more protein into my diet I came across quinoa and began experimenting with it.
By now I’m sure you’ve heard of this magical grain (technically a seed). If not…welcome to the party! 2013 was even considered the Year of Quinoa. Type in “how to cook” in google and “quinoa” is the first option that pops up. It is lower in fat, lower in calories, and higher in protein than most grains and can easily be substituted for rice or pasta into many recipes.
Quinoa is also very easy to add into baked goods. I almost always have some on hand, but haven’t done anything with it lately and decided it was time for it to make an appearance. In sticking with the protein theme, I wanted to make peanut butter cookies. If I could get my daily protein from peanut butter and only peanut butter…I would. But alas, that’s not a realistic (or healthy) goal.
I added protein powder into the cookies, but that could be left out if you don’t have any (or don’t want it). On the other hand, you could easily add more powder too. I estimated the protein content of these cookies based on the peanut butter, quinoa, and protein powder and it came out to about 2-3g per cookie (for comparison, a protein bar will have somewhere around 10g of protein). Clearly these cookies are still a treat and not necessarily healthy, but you can feel better about eating them knowing that you’re getting a little extra nutritional value than some other junk food.
What is your favorite way to eat quinoa? Have you experimented with it in baking? Let us all know so we can jump on the quinoa band wagon together, even if we are a year late 🙂
Peanut Butter Quinoa Cookies
- 1 c cooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 c flour
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 c protein powder (add more or less depending on preference)
- 1/2 c softened butter
- 3/4 c peanut butter
- 1 c brown sugar
- 1 tbsp vanilla
- 2 eggs
- 2 tbsp milk
- Cook quinoa and set aside to cool (I use this ratio. About 1/4 c dry quinoa will equal the 1 c needed for this recipe).
- Combine flour, soda, salt and protein powder in mixing bowl. Set aside.
- Cream butter, peanut butter, and sugar until fluffy. Add in vanilla,eggs and milk. Mix until just combined *NOTE* if omitting protein powder, don’t add milk at first. If dough seems too thick, add 1 tbsp milk to thin it out. If dough still seems thick, add second tbsp. Conversely, if using more protein powder you may need an additional tbsp of milk to reach proper consistency**
- Slowly mix dry ingredients into wet until incorporated.
- Stir in cooled quinoa by hand.
- Cover and let cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.
- Roll dough into balls, flatten and use fork to make traditional criss-cross pattern on cookies. If dough becomes too sticky to roll, place back in refrigerator for 5-10 minutes.
- Bake at 350 for 7-9 minutes, until edges began to brown.
- Let cool on wire rack, then store in airtight container.