One thing that drives me insane is how backwards the Health and Fitness market is.

On the one hand, we have the NHS struggling to treat medical conditions caused through a combination of inactivity and poor diet and government funded initiative ‘Change for life’ preaching we should be eating less and moving more and on the other hand, a burger from a fast food store can cost as little as £1 and be found on almost every street corner, but quality organic foods that nourish our bodies cost considerably more and have to be hunted down. Madness.

This is why I’ve taken matters into my own hands and started creating my own recipes. There are no hidden ingredients and I can trust what I’m eating is going to benefit my body and still taste good (providing I don't burn it).

These Quinoa Protein Brownies boast good complex carbohydrates for fuel and energy as well as a high protein content to build muscle and aid recovery.

What on earth is Quinoa and where do I find it?

Quinoa pronounced ‘keen-wa’, is a superfood often used to replace rice by health-conscious food lovers. It's small, spiral grains expand once cooked to provide up to twice as much fibre as most other grains, Magnesium, Zinc and Potassium. The grain is also a complete protein source. This often creates confusion as, yes, Quinoa falls into the carbohydrate food category. Quinoa can call itself a complete source of protein because it contains the 9 amino acids needed to make a protein molecule ‘complete’. Whilst Quinoa may not have as high a ratio per gram of these amino acids as a lean meat source, it is rare for a grain to fall into this category and also makes it a great source of protein for vegetarians. The body cannot make these amino acids itself, which is why it is so important that we source them for the foods we eat.

Most supermarkets will sell Quinoa although it tends to be with their health foods aisle rather than rice and pasta as you might expect.

Chocolate Protein and Peanut Butter Quinoa Brownies

The Protein Brownie Recipe:

These instructions make 6-8 brownies, depending on how you size them.

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa 75g (cooked weight approx. 300g)
  • Meridian organic crunchy peanut butter ( or any other nut butter) 50g
  • 1 Egg
  • 2 Egg whites
  • 2 scoops Chocolate protein powder ( I use Genetics Bio Whey, as it’s grass fed)
  • 2 Tablespoons Organic Coconut Oil
  • Pinch of Baking powder

 How to cook your protein brownie

  1. Preheat the oven to 190℃ or Gas Mark 4.
  2. Rinse the Quinoa and then cover with water in a saucepan. Use one part Quinoa to two & half parts water. Bring to the boil on the hob before leaving to simmer at a low heat whilst you prepare the other ingredients. When it is cooked the grains will ‘pop’ and expand until they look spiral-like and fluffy.This will take approximately 15 -20 minutes.
  3. Melt the Coconut oil, either on the hob or in the microwave (mine takes 30 seconds at full power) and combine with the peanut butter. This is the sticky consistency which is going to hold the Brownies together.
  4. Separate the egg whites and then combine with the egg, Coconut oil and Peanut butter.
  5. Ensure your Quinoa is cooked (remember you want it to look fluffy), drain and combine with the rest of your mixture.
  6. Add a pinch of baking powder and stir thoroughly. Your consistency here needs to be sticky, if it's a little dry try adding a sprinkle of water.
  7. Lightly grease a baking tray with Coconut oil and/or greaseproof paper and then add your mixture. Ensure it is flat so that all your Brownies have an equal thickness.
  8. Bake in the oven for 25 - 35 minutes. I set the alarm for 25 minutes, do a quick skewer test and then adjust accordingly.
  9. Once cooked through, cut into portions and leave to cool.

There you have it, guilt free high-protein Brownies. Perfect as an everyday snack or post-workout treat.

If you're feeling really naughty, my guilty secret is using peanut butter as icing on these. Just be cautious of the extra calories. Run a little faster, train that extra bit harder, earn it.

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