Cherry chocolate chip granola bars are LOADED with nutritious and filling ingredients making them an awesome, healthy breakfast or snack recipe. These chewy granola bars feature almond butter, honey, quinoa, dried cherries, oats, and almonds for a deliciously jam-packed snack.
Preheat oven to 350°F. Arrange oats, almonds, and dry quinoa on a large rimmed baking sheet in a single layer. Toast for 8-10 minutes, or until golden and lightly fragrant, removing the pan from the oven halfway through to shake everything up. Keep a close eye as it can go from golden to burnt quickly.
Once toasted, transfer oats/almonds/quinoa to a large mixing bowl immediately to cool down. Add crispy rice cereal to the bowl and stir everything up to combine evenly.
Line an 8"x8" pan with parchment paper and set aside, leaving the parchment long enough on two opposite sides so you'll be able to easily lift it out of the pan later on.
Add honey, almond butter, oil, brown sugar, and salt to a small saucepan set over medium heat. Stir to combine, then cook for a few minutes until heated throughout and the very edges of the pan are becoming bubbly.
Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract. Pour the honey/almond butter mixture into the bowl with the oats/nuts/quinoa/cereal and stir. Add the dried cherries and the chocolate chips and stir until everything is coated evenly.
Press mixture into the parchment-lined 8"x8" pan well, arranging in a dense single layer. Pay close attention to the edges, pressing firmly to help ensure they don't crumble off later on when the bars are sliced.
Refrigerate for at least one hour, or until the bars have firmed up very well. Slice into 12 bars, storing them in the refrigerator to help them hold their shape well.
I prefer creamy, no-stir almond butter in snack bars. If using a natural almond butter with the oil separated at the top, stir it up very well before adding to the recipe.