No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies [V + GF]

I gotta be honest people, it’s really starting to annoy me that I can’t eat the sweets that I absolutely loved to eat anymore.

No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free! No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free!
I used to go through life seeing any kind of food as something that was completely available to me. I was living in an age where the world of gastronomy had so much to offer and there was nothing limiting me from choosing if I wanted to venture into that area of cuisine or if I wanted to eat that particular food product.

Nothing was stopping me and therefore I never felt the need to take advantage of my impenetrable stomach because it didn’t seem necessary. Life would go on, I would eat what I wanted, whatever came my way and that was that. My youthful stomach always prevailed no matter what I put in it and therefore I was indifferent.

No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free! No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free!
Now the landscape of my life as an omnivore has completely changed. Food isn’t an allotted freedom and convenience that America’s advanced yet monstrous food industry has gifted me (which I’d take full advantage of and didn’t ask any questions as to how such an industry exists).

Now every time I go to a supermarket or look at a restaurant menu a limitation always presents itself. Before there had always been a sense that my overly-zealous stomach could conquer anything on that menu. There was always a feeling of exhilarating freedom coming into that supermarket seeing all the countless aisles of guaranteed delicious and salivatory food and it was completely available for my taking – only if I wanted it or not.

No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free! No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free!
Of course my stomach isn’t as willing anymore and seeing all that food in the supermarket or on restaurant menus is now an obstacle for me. I don’t even acknowledge the food anymore, or better yet don’t even see it as food. Looking at the candy aisle or the cereal aisle to me is the same as passing by the home improvement section – it is just a bunch of gismos and gadgets and I don’t now what it is, what it does or what it’s made from.

Basically my stomach is now starting to talk back, trying to voice it’s independence from the general makeup of organs that is just considered my body. And the big thing is that I am actually listening to it now. When I used to eat a heaping bowl of chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream I wouldn’t necessarily feel good afterwards. But somehow I allowed my mind to associate this feeling (bloating, cramping, nausea) with the satisfaction one has after eating and indulging in good food. So I was convinced that this is what my body is supposed to be doing and that therefore it was okay.

No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free! No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free!
I mean it sounds utterly ridiculous. Now I am just becoming less tolerant of these symptoms. It seems that my stomach may have been speaking to me then, but it is screaming at me now.

I’m learning that I don’t have to be mad at my body for not being able to handle the sweets that me and the rest of America are accustomed to. It might actually be a blessing. I am now on this wonderful path of learning about healthy sweets and that indulging can actually feel good and can even benefit my body. And this is where I finally start to talk about these cookies.

No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free! No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free!
Thanks for hanging in with me there! My love for sweets is pretty passionate and I was so happy I can share these cookies with you! I have been eating these A LOT lately and I even made a batch to send to my sister 3,000 miles away for her birthday. It is always a GREAT feeling when you have found a yummy and delicious treat that you can feel good indulging in! For this recipe I was definitely inspire by this wonderful bar of dark chocolate I found that mimics the ‘crunch-esque’ style of Crunch bars by adding puffed quinoa to it. Biting into these little cookies gives the most unbelievable crunch and puffing quinoa at home is actually super fun!

Puffed quinoa was also a good substitute for rolled oats which is usually what I put in a lot of my sweet treats. The only issue with rolled outs sometimes is I’ve noticed when I’m on my third serving I end up getting a stomach ache because basically with raw oats you need to soak them in something or make sure you are drinking while you are eating them. But with quinoa I can just pop these cookies in my mouth one by one and no problem!

Is there anything that you all of a sudden can’t eat or you have to limit yourself eating now? It’s tough but you are not alone!

No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free! No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies - Vegan and Gluten-Free!

No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies

adapted from Minimalist Baker, makes about 15 cookies

1/2 cup coconut palm sugar
2 tablespoons unsweetened almond milk
3 tablespoons coconut oil
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for topping
3/4 cup quinoa
1/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon sea salt


Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

Heat a large stock pot over medium heat. Once the pot is hot, pour a small amount of pre-rinsed and dried quinoa over the bottom of the pan. Gently move the pan so that the quinoa swirls around as it pops (this helps prevent burning). Once all the quinoa has popped (a minute or two), pour it into a bowl and repeat with the rest of the quinoa.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add coconut sugar, almond milk, cocoa powder and coconut oil, stirring frequently until incorporated.

Once bubbling, let boil for 1 minute, then remove from heat and add peanut butter, puffed quinoa, shredded coconut, vanilla and salt and stir to combine until all ingredients are well mixed together.

Let the mixture cool for 5 minutes. Using your hands or a spoon, measure out 1-2 tablespoons of the batter and form into a ball. Roll into a bowl of coconut flakes evenly on each side and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat this step until there is no more batter, making about 15 cookies. Sprinkle with additional coconut flakes and cool in the fridge for 40-45 minutes before serving.

Keep leftovers covered at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

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26 thoughts on “No-Bake Coconut Quinoa Crunch Cookies [V + GF]

  1. Growing up in India, even at a time when the concept of grocery stores didn’t exist in India (it still doesn’t for the most part) I couldn’t eat a lot of spicy food just because my tummy couldn’t handle it. I mean no spicy in India is hard! I’ve never really had to try and listen to my body because mine has a mind of its own. I have always been intolerant to liquor, smoking, too much sweet or dairy (i can in small amounts) and I would just get violently sick. Not being able to eat those foods even though I would get sick was still hard.
    I love these no bake cookies. They sound so simple and so very delicious. <3

    1. Oh my goodness I can’t handle spicy food at all! My stomach bloats to the size of a basketball and I just feel terrible. I regretfully can’t eat Indian food which is a major bummer but I can easily avoid it as for you I’m sure that was really tough!! Thanks Rakhee! I hope you continue to eat food that makes you feel good!

  2. Having certain foods off limits is so frustrating! I have been lucky enough to not have any dietary restrictions affect me much (yet) but I do notice that when I eat too much processed flour or sugar I don’t feel great. I am loving these healthier cookies. Puffed quinoa is such a great addition, I have never tried that before and now I need to! Pinned!

    1. Yeah one day it just changed for me! Just like that. One day I couldn’t drink that glass of milk like I used to and cheesy potatoes always had a bad aftermath! I’m happy you can still enjoy and indulge in certain foods! And yeah those processed flours and sugars are just evil haha. No nutrition what so ever. I hope you give puffed quinoa a go! Thanks Meghan!

  3. You’re describing my exact experience! The grocery store….the restaurants….the awkwardness. But I’ve also been challenged to get creative with my food and recipes, and found things I would have never discovered beforehand. These chocolaty crunch goodies look amazing, and I love that they’re no-bake.

    1. You are totally on point about having newfound creativity! It’s cool when you realize there are other more delicious things out there than just your basic processed sugary chocolate cake. I’m happy there is someone else who also goes through the same awkwardness as me haha. Thanks Annie!

  4. I’ve had stomach issues my whole life and I’m allergic to chocolate, so I feel your pain… or lack of pain. 😉 Love these cookies!! No bake and packed with goodness? Yes please! Using quinoa in here is genius! I’ll take a few dozen! Cheers, girlfriend!

    1. Ahh girl I’m sorry you’ve had to deal with it for so long! On the bright side there are so many delicious things out there that are still good for our stomachs! YAY! Thanks Cheyanne!

    1. Yess I like the term “sensitive stomach” a lot! Being sensitive isn’t always a bad thing! It just means you are more attentive to noticing the things that aren’t good for you and that you don’t like. Thanks Jennifer!

  5. I’m in the same boat. My stomach can’t handle certain food items anymore, like dairy, which was really hard to give up. Hello! Cheese. But then I discovered in this day and age, there are so many options out there that are diet sensitive. I love these cookies, and the addition of puffed quinoa. They look like the perfect way to indulge.

    1. Oh man I am having a hard time giving up cheese! I eat goat cheese if it is given to me but I’m definitely going to miss the grilled cheeses or cheesy casseroles or my childhood! Thanks Nicole!

  6. Linda, these cookies sound so yummy! There are some things I used to eat years ago that I can now no longer stomach- most of them are just too sweet or processed for my liking. A few years ago I was still drinking dairy as I had been my entire life and one day I just couldn’t have it anymore. It’d end up with very painful episodes for me. So I totally feel you on the “sensitive stomach” thing! xo

    1. It is the same thing for me when it comes to dairy! It would be a ritual for me to have a class of chocolate milk every night and it was like my favorite thing! Until it gave me stomachaches from hell. Happy to know another sensitive stomach! Thanks Genevieve!

  7. These look and sound so yummy! I also have a more sensitive stomach. Sometimes it’s so disheartening… I still eye and buy food like I’m a 16 year old sometimes, but my stomach will feel icky after like, 5 bites of a cupcake. Usually gluten things do it. WAHHH!!! I’m going to give these a try! They seem pretty simple, too 🙂

  8. I’ve never tried puffed quinoa before, so I’m very keen to, Linda! I love cooked quinoa so I imagine I would love it, too. I also love that these are naturally sweetened and no-bake. No-bake is the ONLY way to go here in Australia, as where I am (Brisbane) it’s SO INCREDIBLY hot (sorry for yelling there, it’s just so hot!!). I know these would go down so well in our house! 😀

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