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Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

This recipe was inspired by a really great (and hard to find) nutrition bar with an unfortunate name. That sounds judgy, I know, but the word “slim” in a name brings to mind: diet, fad, and a mindset that equates thin with healthy.

Okay, rant over.

For these homemade peanut butter cups, popped quinoa takes the place of soy crisp for a fun crunch. If you’re not familiar with quinoa, get to know it here. Sprouted, toasted, or cooked like rice, quinoa is incredibly versatile. Popping quinoa is just like corn. Not every seed will pop. But unlike popcorn kernels, toasted quinoa is delicious and quite edible.

A word of warning – this recipe is just barely sweet. And guess what? It still tastes good. At least that’s the skinny on homemade peanut butter cups.

Popped red quinoa

Healthy Peanut Butter Cups

30 minutes

8 Peanut Butter Cups

Make homemade peanut butter cups for a healthy anytime snack. Popped quinoa adds a delightful crunch to this high protein, not overly sweet snack. Gluten free, vegan, and full of awesome.


  • Peanut Butter Filling
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons toasted or popped quinoa (see notes)
  • 3/4 cup almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup
  • Chocolate Coating
  • 2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (or chopped chocolate), divided
  • Pinch of salt


Place 8 paper liners in cupcake pan.

In a medium bowl, combine peanut butter, popped quinoa, almond meal, and maple syrup. Let mixture chill in fridge for a few minutes. Divide into 8 portions and roll into balls. Refrigerate balls while you prepare coating.

In a microwave safe bowl, heat coconut oil, 1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons chocolate chips, and salt until chocolate is melted. It takes 50 seconds on high in a 1500 watt oven. Time will vary depending on how powerful your microwave is.

Add remaining 2 tablespoons of chocolate chips to bowl and stir until melted and glossy. This is the easiest way to fake-temper chocolate for coatings.

Drop 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate into each paper liner, spreading out to edge. Chill pan in fridge or freezer for only a few minutes to help set chocolate. Place a peanut butter ball, flattened slightly, on top of chocolate. Finish by drizzling about 1/2 tablespoon of chocolate coating over peanut butter in each cup.

Place pan in refrigerator for about 10 minutes, just long enough to set the chocolate (not longer or the coating won't hold up at room temperature). It's easiest to peel wrapper off while chocolate is chilled from the fridge.


To pop quinoa, place 2 tablespoons of uncooked quinoa in a paper bag. Fold top over about an inch and seal with a small piece of tape. Lay bag down in microwave and cook on high for 45 seconds (in a 1500 watt oven). Cook time will vary depending on how powerful your microwave is. Yield: about 3 tablespoons of popped/toasted quinoa.

Quinoa can also be popped in a hot skillet with a lid.



  1. I’m thinking hemp seeds could take the place of quinoa, too. What do you think?

  2. Also a good idea would be to skip the grain popping all together and just use chunky peanut butter instead!!!!

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  4. How many carbs in each? Please