Oh my goodness. I don’t even know where this idea came from. Seriously, who thinks of turning quinoa into a dessert? Well, if anyone’s going to do it, it’s gotta be me. I’m the girl who just doesn’t like to say no to sweets. I can do it. I have the self-control to say no. But I have no desire to. If I want it, and I’m feeling like it’s time for a snack, I’m gonna go for the dessert. So the solution is this: making my own desserts at home and controlling what goes in them. So that’s where the quinoa comes in.
For quinoa week, I wanted to show you just how versatile quinoa could be. I’ve made Dark Chocolate Energy Bites with quinoa before, so I knew it could be done. I just wasn’t sure how well a quinoa-based crust would hold up with a pie filling or cheesecake.
What I really wanted to do was run the idea by my wife. I will be honest – my wife is a huge part of recipe development on the blog. She has some great ideas and squashes some of the dumb ones that I have (or at least helps re-direct me to something better). So having her gone for military training is going to be rough in that aspect (and many others), but I think I have it in me to push through and find my own creativity. Hell, this recipe idea probably would’ve been one that she didn’t think would work. So I’m glad I gave it a shot.
Honestly, the crust is perfectly sweetened with honey and dates. You can’t even taste quinoa. It’s a slightly nutty crusty flavor. But definitely not the quinoa. And the cheesecake filling is so light because of the added Greek yogurt. And just a tiny drizzle of chocolate for that extra sweet-tooth, although it’s totally not necessary: I liked these bites with and without chocolate. Of course I had to taste it both ways – for testing purposes only.
So here’s your opportunity to have your cake and eat it too. Seriously, I hear it all the time. I can’t lose weight because my tastebuds take over too often. Let your tastebuds take over. Don’t deprive yourself of yummy things. But have control of the yummy things that are surrounding you. Make healthier versions of your favorite treats. Don’t buy things you’ll regret eating later. You have that freedom!
3/4 cup cooked quinoa (full instructions on how to cook quinoa, check out the blog)
1/2 cup walnuts
4-5 dates, pitted
2 Tablespoons honey
4 ounces Greek Cream Cheese, softened
1 cup nonfat Greek Yogurt
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup dark chocolate, for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a mini muffin tin with non-stick spray (up to 12 cheesecakes).
- In a food processor, combine all ingredients for the crust. Pulse food processor until all ingredients come together and start to form a dough. This will be a perfect weekend for a pie crust!
- Place a scoop of about 1 and a half Tablespoons of "dough" to each muffin tin receptacle. Set aside.
- Combine cream cheese, Greek Yogurt, sugar, lemon juice, and vanilla in the bowl of your stand mixer.Once combined completely. Spoon filling into the quinoa crusts so that the cups are full up to the top of the crust.
- Cook for about 25 minutes, or until the cheesecake has mostly set. Let cool in the refrigerator for about 8 hours, or overnight, to set completely
- Once cooled, melt optional chocolate down. I just did this in the microwave in a micro-safe bowl for about 20 seconds at a time, stirring each time, until all melted.
- Drizzle on the top of each cheesecake bite.