Rice Krispie treats are reminiscent of childhood snacking. But they weren’t as wholesome as they tasted. Sure, they were cereal based, but they were smothered in sugary marshmallows and butter, so they were more of a sugar rush than anything else. Even so, it’s hard not to crave Rice Krispie treats, even as an adult. Luckily, with a few tweaks, these yummy treats can take a deliciously healthy turn, so you can indulge in a childhood favorite (but with the metabolism of an adult).
Rice Krispie Treats: The Better Way
These vegan Rice Krispie treats feature quinoa, nut butter, seeds, and coconut, and get lightly sweetened with brown rice syrup.
Original Rice Krispie treats call for the Kellogg’s cereal. Naturally, the cereal’s main ingredient is rice. However, it’s the second ingredient on the list that makes a seemingly harmless cereal lose its charm: sugar. And for those with gluten sensitivities, take notice: Kellogg’s Rice Krispies cereal contains malt.
To avoid packing in sugar and gluten when you can easily avoid it, purchase a gluten-free puffed brown rice. I used Arrowhead Mills’ version for this recipe.
Meanwhile, these treats are sweetened with brown rice syrup. Like most high-calorie sweeteners, brown rice syrup must be used in moderation and cannot be considered fully “healthy” just because it’s derived from brown rice. However, brown rice syrup contains no fructose or sucrose, and can thus be considered safer than high fructose corn syrup or ordinary sugar. Feel free to use another liquid sweetener in it’s place, such as honey, maple syrup, agave, or coconut nectar.
I love the popped quinoa, because it adds crunchy texture (and some fiber and protein) to each bite. When it comes to the add-ins, don’t feel restricted to the ingredients listed. Once you master this recipe, start to get experimental! Try tossing in carob chips, dried fruit, different nuts and seeds, or even swap the cashew butter for a different kind of nut butter.
Enjoy a childhood classic without all the sugar and animal-based fat with this vegan rice krispie treats recipe with cashew butter and quinoa.
- ½ cup cashew butter
- ½ cup brown rice syrup
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- ¼ cup uncooked quinoa
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 2 cups puffed brown rice
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- ¼ cup chopped raw almonds
- ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
- In a saucepan over low heat, add the cashew butter, brown rice syrup, and vanilla.
- Stir as the mixture melts. Once heated, well combined, and thin in consistency, set aside.
- Rinse and drain the uncooked quinoa. In a skillet over medium heat, add the quinoa and stir while it begins to puff up and pop. Continue to stir and let the quinoa pop for a few more minutes.
- Once popped, transfer the quinoa to a large bowl. Stir in the sea salt, puffed brown rice, coconut flakes, chopped almonds, and pumpkin seeds.
- Fold in the cashew butter mixture and continue to mix until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated with the cashew butter mixture.
- Transfer the rice krispie treats mixture to a glass dish and use clean hands to push and pack the mixture into the dish as tight as possible.
- Cover the dish with plastic wrap and set the rice krispie treats in the refrigerator to harden. After about 30 minutes to one hour, the rice krispie treats are ready to eat!