Dark Chocolate Amaranth Bars (6 Ingredients!)

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Crispy chocolate amaranth bars on a piece of parchment paper

Anyone else have fond memories of those irresistibly crispy chocolate wafer cookies? Well, these no-bake chocolate amaranth bars are kind of like those, but made vegan, gluten-free, whole grain, and…maybe even better! They’re crispy, chocolaty, delicious, and require just 6 ingredients and 15 minutes of active prep time. Basically, they’re flawless!

Inspired by our Easy Vegan Protein Bars, this chocolaty version is rich enough to satisfy that post-meal sweet tooth but balanced enough to enjoy as a healthier snack. Needless to say, we’re thrilled with the result! Let’s make bars!

Chocolate chips, almond butter, amaranth, coconut oil, salt, and vanilla

What is Amaranth?

Amaranth is a pseudograin, which means it’s technically a seed but can be cooked and used similarly to other grains. It was considered a “super grain” by the Aztecs who saw it as a nutritious option for infants and found it provided enough strength for soldiers!

It’s rich in iron, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium, calcium, vitamin B6, and protein. Plus, it contains all the essential amino acids.

How to Make Chocolate Amaranth Bars

Making these amaranth bars starts with popping the amaranth (like popcorn, but faster!). The keys are to make sure the pan is hot and to cook it in small batches. It can take a few tries to pop the amaranth without burning it, but you’ll get it right!

Dry amaranth in a skillet before turning it into puffed amaranth

When everything goes as planned, the dry amaranth will pop after just 10 seconds, expanding in size and transforming into super snack-able puffed amaranth! Popping it yourself is more affordable, but if you want to make this recipe even easier, you can use store-bought puffed amaranth.

Pan of homemade puffed amaranth

Next we get to the chocolate situation. A simple (but oh-so-delicious) mixture of melted dark chocolate, almond butter, coconut oil, salt, and vanilla combine for a rich, chocolaty coating that holds the amaranth together.

Pouring the melted chocolate mixture over puffed amaranth

Stir it all up.

Wooden spoon in a bowl of chocolate amaranth mixture

Then press it into a loaf pan (or any similar-sized dish) lined with parchment paper and transfer to the refrigerator to let it set.

After a quick hour or so, these tasty treats are ready to be sliced into bars and enjoyed!

Wooden spoon in a pan of the chocolate amaranth mixture

We hope you LOVE these amaranth bars! They’re:

Crispy
Chocolaty
Rich
Balanced
Satisfying
& SO Delicious!

We love having them around as a nutrient-packed option for sweet tooth cravings. They’d pair dangerously well with a glass of Creamy Chocolate Hazelnut Milk or Feel Good Hot Chocolate. There’s no such thing as too much chocolate, right?!

More Chocolaty Treats

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to tag a photo @minimalistbaker on Instagram. Cheers, friends!

Showing the crispy wafer-like texture of a chocolate amaranth bar

Dark Chocolate Amaranth Bars (6 Ingredients!)

Crispy, satisfying Dark Chocolate Amaranth Bars resembling wafer cookies! Whole grain puffed amaranth combines with creamy, rich chocolate and almond butter for a healthier sweet treat or quick snack. Just 6 ingredients required!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Picking up a chocolate amaranth bar from a stack
5 from 12 votes
Prep Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 12 (Bars)
Course Dessert, Snack
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 1-2 Weeks

Ingredients

  • 6-7 Tbsp uncooked amaranth (6-7 Tbsp uncooked yields ~1 ¼ cup or 65 g popped/puffed)
  • 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or pieces (ensure vegan-friendly as needed, such as Enjoy Life)
  • 1/4 cup creamy unsweetened almond butter (if nut-free, sub sunflower seed butter)
  • 1 Tbsp coconut oil
  • 1 healthy pinch sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

  • Line a standard-size loaf pan or similar-sized dish (~8 ½ x 4 ½ inches) with parchment paper and set aside.
  • To pop the amaranth, heat a large rimmed skillet (or large saucepan) over medium-high heat. Set a medium mixing bowl to the side for the popped amaranth. Once the pan is hot (give it at least 3-5 minutes to heat up), add 1 Tbsp (10 g) unpopped amaranth and immediately cover with a lid. Shake/slide the pot back and forth over the heat (wearing oven mitts can be helpful) to move the grain around. It should start popping within 1-3 seconds and be done popping at the 10-second mark (if it’s not, that means the pan isn’t hot enough). Quickly empty into the mixing bowl.
  • Be sure to pull the amaranth off the heat at around 10 seconds (or when the unpopped grains are turning from golden to dark brown) or the amaranth will burn. It’s okay if not every single grain has popped. It may take a couple tries to dial in your heat and not burn the grains, but then you’ll hit your stride!
  • Continue until you have roughly 1 ¼ cup (65 g) popped grain (adjust amount if altering number of servings).
  • Add 1 inch of water to a small saucepan and bring to a low boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer. Place a small glass or metal bowl over the saucepan and add the chocolate chips, almond butter, and coconut oil. Heat, stirring occasionally with a spatula or spoon, until melted and no lumps remain (~3-5 minutes). You can also melt them in a heat-proof glass bowl in the microwave in 20-second increments.
  • Once melted, stir in the salt and vanilla and carefully remove from the heat. Pour the chocolate mixture into the bowl of popped amaranth and stir until it is evenly coated in chocolate.
  • Transfer to the parchment-lined pan and refrigerate until set — about 1 hour. Then slice into bars — we like slicing into ~12 bars as they are rich and satisfying even as a small bar.
  • Store in the refrigerator for up to 1-2 weeks or in the freezer for 1 month.

Video

Notes

*Prep time includes 1 hour for chilling the bars.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate.

Nutrition (1 of 12 servings)

Serving: 1 bar (~1 inch x 2 inches) Calories: 100 Carbohydrates: 8.9 g Protein: 2.4 g Fat: 7.4 g Saturated Fat: 3 g Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.9 g Monounsaturated Fat: 1.8 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 6 mg Potassium: 70 mg Fiber: 1.9 g Sugar: 2.9 g Vitamin A: 0 IU Vitamin C: 0 mg Calcium: 27 mg Iron: 1.9 mg

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My Rating:




  1. Betsy says

    Hi Author and Staff at Minimalist Baker! First, I really appreciate your website and all your healthy recipes. I remember reading somewhere that you created this website because you were lazy and liked sweets. We speak the same language! I have cooked several of your dishes more than once and this is my first review. Your dark chocolate amaranth is my favorite snack and dessert! I had so much fun learning to pop those tiny amaranth. I burned a couple of tbsp, but I slowly got the hang of it. It was worth spending time to cook it. I look forward to eating a bar everyday after work and my family loves it too. Next time, I will double the recipe. Thank you for sharing your love of healthy food with us.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, this is so great to hear, Betsy! Thank you so much for your kind words and lovely review! xoxo

  2. Rima says

    Thank you so much for the delicious recipe. Ok so these are so scrumptious and crunchy!!! Very chocolatelty too! Will definitely double the recipe and perhaps next time I’ll add some nuts to it to make it into a proper protein bar.
    Only one question.. is it possible to substitute the chocolate chips for cocoa powder?? If so, what needs adding as I would like to make it completely sugar free and cocoa nibs as you already may know don’t melt?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Rima, we’re so glad you enjoyed the recipe! If you want to sub cocoa powder, we’d also suggest using cacao butter to prevent them from being dry and crumbly. Hope that helps!

  3. Jennifer says

    I love these bars – the popping of the Amaranth is probably the most difficult part of making them (at least for me)… It will take more practice for sure.

    Thank you for all of your lovely recipes.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed them, Jennifer! Thank you for your kind words and lovely review! xo

  4. Beth says

    Even though I burned a few of the rounds of amaranth these bars turned out amazing!! I’ve been too scared to try popping amaranth in the past and am glad you helped me get over my fear. It did get easier as I went along, and I think the more I make these the better I’ll get. Such a delicious treat- thank you!

  5. Jessica says

    Took me a few tries to get the amaranth to pop but finally got there! I have a really old electric stove so it is what it is. I definitely could have doubled the batch it’s so good!

  6. meagan says

    Hi!

    I just wanted to let you know that the first image on your pages is blurry! Seems like a recent change.

    Thank you for all the recipes.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thank you for letting us know, Meagan! It isn’t looking blurry on our end. Is it still blurry on yours?

  7. Kelly says

    Wow. These are so, so, sooo good! I am a dark chocolate lover, these are rich and delicious. A great way to get that chocolate fix without all of the sugar and empty calories. These will be a staple in my fridge! ❤

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Ooo cool! Thanks so much for the great review and for sharing your modifications, Sophie!

  8. Carolynn says

    Delicious! It was my first time popping amaranth but I got the hang of it after the first tablespoon. Found it close to the quinoa at Whole Foods, much cheaper to buy it unpopped. Used semi sweet morsels & peanut butter instead of almond butter since PB & chocolate is my favorite combo, it worked beautifully! Nice to have a treat that’s nutrient-dense…. Thanks a bunch for the recipe!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Georgia, we think any already puffed grain (millet, quinoa, rice) would work in place of the amaranth. But in terms of dry grains that you puff at home, we haven’t had success using this stovetop popping method with other grains. Hope that helps!

  9. Katherine Galliford says

    Thank you for the recipe and tips on popping the amaranth. I’m getting better at popping it this time around versus the last time I tried about a year ago. My only question now is does the amaranth have a deep nutty flavor once popped or did I take it too far and that is actually a burned taste? Thank you in advance for your help.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, it could be either! It does have a nutty flavor, but we wouldn’t say it’s deeply nutty. We’d suggest turning up the heat and popping for less time to see if that makes a difference for you. Hope that helps, Katherine!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Yes! We’d suggest using ~1 ¼ cup or 65 g popped amaranth for the default number of servings (12 bars). Hope that helps!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Tonia, in our experience, millet doesn’t puff up like amaranth does using the method in this recipe. If you have already puffed millet, we do think that would work!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Daniella, we haven’t tested it, but we do think it would work. Let us know if you try it!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Daphne, you could likely use puffed quinoa, but in our experience, dry quinoa doesn’t puff up the same way amaranth does using the method in this recipe.

  10. Sarah says

    I made these for dessert tonight. They were yummy! I had a difficult time popping the amaranth though! Only about 1/4 teaspoon of the 1 T would pop before it turned dark brown. Suggestions for next time?

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sarah, we’re glad you enjoyed them! That typically means the pan isn’t hot enough. Hope that helps for next time!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Colleen, we haven’t, but we think it would work well! Let us know if you try it!

      • Gina says

        I’m seeing all the questions and comments about quinoa but can you share some other substitutes? Does puffed rice work? I searched 4 major grocery stores near me and none of them carry amaranth or puffed quinoa (wegmans, whole foods, market basket, target)

        • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Gina, we’re surprised Whole Foods didn’t have amaranth! We typically get it from Natural Grocers. We haven’t tested with other grains, but puffed rice would likely be the next best option.

    • Lauren says

      Yes! I make a similar treat, based off of the Mexican candy alegria (joy in Spanish), using tahini. If you use tahini consider moisture/fat content- oil not necessary. And make sure your tahini is not old and dried out.

  11. Kate says

    HI there – so excited to try this! would a cast iron pan or a non-stick one be better for popping the amaranth?
    Thanks!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Kate, stainless steel is best, but between cast iron and non-stick, we’d suggest cast iron, unless your non-stick pan can withstand medium-high heat. If your cast iron is heavy, we’d suggest using oven mitts on both hands to more easily transfer the popped amaranth to a mixing bowl. Hope that helps!

    • Lauren says

      Another vote for stainless! You could give a stainless tall pot with 2 handles a try. With a tall/large pot, the amaranth doesn’t fly out of the cooking vessel as much (you can also use a screen). And the handles make it easy to use your oven mitts to lift the pot and moderate the heat as needed. With stainless, it’s lighter to lift and a thinner surface area for faster heating of the cooking vessel and quicker popping.

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Leora, you could likely use puffed quinoa, but we haven’t experimented with puffing dry quinoa using the same method as amaranth, so we’re uncertain whether it will work. Let us know if you try it out!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Leora, this was a popular question, so we just tested it out and couldn’t get dry quinoa to puff up the same way amaranth does. Hope that helps!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Cleden, you can, but we prefer the flavor of these with almond butter. Hope that helps!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Mai, if you can get store-bought puffed quinoa, it should work well, but we haven’t tried it. We didn’t have luck popping dry quinoa like we have dry amaranth. Hope that helps!

    • Jen K says

      Made these with pre-puffed amaranth and they turned out great! Instead of a loaf pan, I used a silicone mini muffin pan and it worked really well! Perfectly sized little treats and my little one loved them too :)

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sophie, you could likely use puffed quinoa, but we haven’t experimented with puffing dry quinoa using the same method as amaranth, so we’re uncertain whether it will work. Let us know if you try it out!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Sophie, this was a popular question, so we just tested it out and couldn’t get dry quinoa to puff up the same way amaranth does. Hope that helps!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Diana, you could likely use puffed quinoa, but we haven’t experimented with puffing dry quinoa using the same method as amaranth, so we’re uncertain whether it will work. Let us know if you try it out!

    • Support @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Diana, this was a popular question, so we just tested it out and couldn’t get dry quinoa to puff up the same way amaranth does. Hope that helps!