Let me start by saying that quinoa has become my latest obsession. Any time I can make something and sneak some healthy quinoa into it, I’m all in. But when I can experiment with quinoa and carrots—it’s ridiculous how excited I get. Just look at that gorgeous orange-ness over there, willya? Since I’ve confessed this obsession, it’s no surprise I’ve been dying to try these Healthy Quinoa Carrot Cookies that I discovered by way of the folks at Love & Lemons.
If you’re into healthy, mostly vegetarian meals, this blog is amazing. Featured in Food & Wine, Food 52, SELF Magazine, and even Oprah Magazine Love & Lemons is the real deal and needs to be on your must-subscribe list. If you want more healthy breakfast items, check out this Healthy Granola Breakfast Cup recipe that I tried out a few weeks ago. It has been a huge hit.
Now on to these Healthy Quinoa Carrot Chocolate Chip Cookies. Couple of things that are important to chat about right up front. I wanted to make these to test them for myself, as the L&L blog billed them as “healthy breakfast cookies.” Cookies for breakfast? Who doesn’t want that? So, I thought it worth a shot to see if they were decent and, even better, if they were something my kids would buy into.
But with ingredients like healthy quinoa, grated carrots, sunflower seeds, and flax seed, well, let’s just say I knew I had an uphill battle ahead of me. As a result, I adapted the recipe a bit, and you’ll see those adaptations reflected here. The thing that made this recipe absolutely over the top was the brilliant (humility, anyone?) idea of adding an entire bag of Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips to this mix. Really and truly, this turned these cookies from fine to fan-freaking-tastic. Want to try them? Let’s go—
Healthy Quinoa Carrot Chocolate Chip Cookies
Note the original L&L recipe was created to yield 12 cookies, and I knew right out of the gate that if this worked, there was no way 12 cookies was going to cut it with my people. So I did what I do and went for broke, tripling the recipe for a net of 36-40 cookies. That’s what you’ll see the ingredients for here, so if you don’t want that many, cut the measurements indicated back to suit your preference. I should tell you before you get started that my children LOVED these cookies and they have no idea they contain quinoa, carrots, flax seed, or pecans. So factor that in as you’re deciding what quantity to make. I’ll be over here quietly whispering “Go for it!”
Ingredients + Shopping List
Recipe Ingredients Below Yields 36 Cookies
3 Cups Oat Flour (you can buy this or you can make your own by simply putting rolled oats into your Ninja or blender and grating them up)
3 Cups Whole Rolled Oats (if gluten free is important to you, be sure to use certified gluten free whole rolled oats, otherwise, use what you have)
1.5 tsp Baking Soda
1.5 tsp Salt
1.5 tsp Baking Powder
1.5 tsp Cinnamon
3 Cups Very Finely Grated Carrots (about 6 to 7 medium-sized carrots)
1.5 Cups Cooked Quinoa
6 Tbsp Ground Flaxseed + 1 Cup Warm Water
1.5 Cups Almond Butter (I used Justin’s Maple Flavor Almond Butter)
¾ Cup Melted Coconut Oil
1.5 Cups Maple Syrup
1 Cup Sunflower Seeds (also called Pepitas if you want to be fancy)
1/2 Cup Chopped Pecans
1.5 Cup Dried Cranberries (or Currents)
1 10 oz. bag Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips
Flaxseed and My Reservations [Let’s Be Honest]
I had all the ingredients on hand for these Healthy Quinoa, Carrot, and Chocolate Chip Cookies except for ground flaxseed. While fancy, my closest neighborhood grocery store doesn’t offer much in the way of organics, grains, seeds, and the like, so two trips was in my stars for this one sussing those out. Thankfully the nearby Hy-Vee store has a great selection and I was able to find ground flax seed with no trouble. I’ll admit to a little trepidation about making these cookies, mostly related to flaxseed. I mean, I like healthy, but too healthy can sometimes be …. well, nasty-tasting. I bought a couple of different kinds of flaxseed, including the Decadent Blend combination of Chia & Flax Seed below, but when I opened it, it smelled a little more pungent than I expected. So I opted for the Golden Flaxmeal option that I’d purchased from the bulk section and trusted that this was going to work. On to the preparation.
Preparation and Baking Instructions
Preheat oven to 350° and either line your baking sheets with parchment paper, or even better, buy some silicone baking mats and use them instead. They are so much easier than parchment paper and I use them constantly. Mine have cookie circles on them, but I’ve linked some from Amazon below that are just as good, and a great price. If you want to pay extra, buy some with the Silpat brand name on them, but these work just as well.
Mix your dry ingredients together in a somewhat large bowl: Oat flour, oats, salt, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon.
Grate carrots, mix them in until they’re completely coated with flour. Honestly, I didn’t see any way to accomplish this other than getting my hands in that bowl and mixing it up. Even then, it took a while to get those carrots coated with flour.
In a small bowl, combine the 6 Tbsp of flaxseed with 1 Cup of warm water and mix.
In a separate medium-sized bowl, combine the melted coconut oil, almond butter, and maple syrup. I found it easiest to use my blender for a few minutes here. Then add the flaxseed mixture and mix until just combined. So what you’ve got will look like the below.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix. As you can see, this will be a fairly wet looking “dough” but don’t despair, that’s how it’s supposed to look. Add the cranberries, sunflower seeds, and pecans.
Then dump that bag of Ghirardelli Bittersweet Chocolate Chips in and these healthy quinoa, carrot and chocolate chip gems will be ready to rock. Scoop an ice cream scoop of batter onto the cookie sheets. I was super careful on my first batch, not getting them too close together as that is a lot of cookie dough, but these don’t spread, so keep that in mind. You’ve got plenty of room!
The total baking time is supposed to be 15 to 18 minutes but I found it took longer than that for these to be fully done. I baked for about 8 minutes with a rack on each shelf, then I switched the cookie sheets, putting the top rack on the bottom and vice versa. I baked for another 8 minutes and checked for doneness, finding that they still weren’t quite there. I ended up baking for another 3 to five minutes, looking for a light golden around the edges, which was just perfect. That makes the cooking time about 19-21 minutes overall, so keep that in mind.
Healthy Quinoa and Carrot Cookies – The Finished Product
Here is what these glorious things looked like when they were finally done—
There you have it, and perhaps my new favorite “breakfast item,” and a healthy one at that. Although let’s be honest and say it’s nowhere near breakfast time and I’ve already had 17 of these. And to my delight, my kids keep sneaking into the kitchen for “just one more” and inhaling these as well. To say that I am shocked is an understatement. To say that I am thrilled to damn death that they like these so much is not. Healthy quinoa and carrots in their bellies before they head off for school, or at any time, is a gigantic win in my book. If they knew the ingredients in these things, there is no way this would be happening, so I’m gonna need to keep this a big secret.
As I mentioned, this recipe is an adaption of the one developed by Jeanine and the team at Love & Lemons. If you’re into healthy eating and amazing recipes, check out their blog and subscribe—you won’t be disappointed—and be sure to check out their new cookbook, which sounds all kinds of wonderful.
Also, here are the silicone baking mats I’d recommend and you can find them on Amazon.