I love making these bars as part of my meal preps, as they are perfect for breakfasts, snacks, or in your protein box for lunch. The best part is that you can use the same recipe to make them chewy or baked, so you can satisfy every picky eater, or cater to your ever fluctuating cravings. The recipe is packed with protein, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats, micronutrients, and phytochemicals… so not only do they taste good, but they will also leave you feeling good.
NOTE: for any of those who have a sensitivity to raw grain products, you can toast your oatmeal and ground almonds before adding them to the mix if you choose make the chewy version of the bars. Toast them in a dry pan over medium heat until you can smell a bit of the nuttiness coming from them, being sure not to burn. Even if you don’t have a sensitivity, this is a great way to add some extra toasty flavour to the bars if you are not baking them!
- 2 cups oatmeal
- 1 cup ground almonds
- 1/2 cup dried cherries
- 1/4 cup cacao nibs (or chocolate chips)
- 8-10 dates (pitted, soaked for 1-2 hours)
- 1-2 tbsp honey
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 1 snack sized sugar-free applesauce
- 1 tablespoon cacao powder (or cocoa powder)
- 1/4 cup almond butter
- In a medium to large sized mixing bowl, add oatmeal, ground almonds, dried cherries and cacao nibs and stir to combine
- In a food processor or blender, blend together soaked dates (without the water they were soaked in), honey, vanilla, applesauce and cacao powder until they become a smooth paste
- Add blended date mixture and nut butter to mixing bowl and combine until all of the ingredients are evenly distributed
- Line a square baking pan with wax paper so that all of the edges are covered
- Transfer the protein granola bar mixture into the lined baking sheet
- Place another piece of wax paper on top of the mixture and press it all down so that the mixture is flat and evenly dispersed (to the edges and in the corners of the pan)
- *optional* I like to use a second same sized baking pan to press the mixture down. This creates tight bars that stay intact. The wax paper ensures that the mixture won’t peel away once the paper is removed
- Place the pan with the flattened protein granola bars mixture into the fridge and allow to firm up before cutting into desired shapes and sizes
Now you have the option of eating your bars raw as they are, which has a more gooey chewy texture (which is how I prefer them). You may also choose to bake them before you eat them, by preheating your oven to 350*F and baking them for 10-15 minutes (which is how my boyfriend prefers them). If you really want to get indulgent, and have the time and ingredients to do so, you can choose to add some dark chocolate to either bars by drizzling them with melted chocolate or dipping them completely. Be sure to allow the bars to cool in the fridge after adding the chocolate so that you can get that crisp crunch when you bite into them. Whatever you choose, don’t forget to have fun!