Kind Bars, one of the yummiest, healthiest snacks you can find on the go…and the most freaking expensive. I get it, nuts cost a lot. But $2 or more at most places? Come on.

No, I said to myself. There must be a better way! And what do you know, there is. The ingredient list on my favorite flavor – Dark Chocolate Nuts and Sea Salt — is so minimal that I wondered, what if I just threw all these things into the oven? Would it taste the same? No spoiler alert here — it does!

One important note on sweetener (which acts as the binder in the recipe):

Brown rice syrup is the ingredient used in Kind Bars themselves, though it’s not one that most people have on hand. If you can buy it, I highly recommend it. It’s inexpensive, quite sticky, and will allow the bars to be kept at room temperature.

Maple syrup, the more common ingredient you’re likely to have on hand, can be used, but you will have to keep the bars in the freezer to prevent them from falling apart. Good news though! No thawing required. Just eat them right from the freezer.

Kind Bar Copycat Recipe:

2 cups roughly chopped mixed nuts
(recommended: peanuts, almonds, walnuts, pecans)
1/2 cup popped quinoa (see below)
1/3 cup brown rice syrup or maple syrup
A couple generous pinches of sea salt

Preheat oven to 325F. Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl. Press firmly and flatly into 8×8 parchment-lined baking pan. Bake for 15-17 minutes if using maple syrup, 17-20 minutes if using brown rice syrup. When edges are browned but not burned and middle is still slightly bubbly, remove from oven and allow to cool on a wire rack before drizzling with chocolate.

Chocolate Drizzle:

2 Tbsp coconut oil
2 Tbsp maple syrup
2 Tbsp cocoa powder

Mix all ingredients thoroughly until smooth chocolate sauce forms. Drizzle over all bars.
(Note: Melted chocolate chips will work here just as well.)

Homemade Puffed Quinoa

In a pot over a medium-high flame, evenly distribute 1/2 cup raw quinoa. Cover and listen for light popping, similar to popcorn but much quieter. Gently shake occasionally to redistribute the grains. When most have popped and it begins to smell like popcorn, they are done. Note that this will happen very quickly, just a few minutes. Don’t leave pot unattended because their small size will cause them to burn if left just a minute or two too long.