[Post #96 for 100 days of Vegan, Gluten-Free, Portable Power Pucks]
Are you ready for an easy, 3-ingredient energy bar that packs in a wallop of vegetables? Me too!
I’ve recently come across two new, ready-to-eat bars that are minimally processed and very tasty.
The bars in question are Fruits & Greens Bars (larabar brand), made with nothing more than dried fruit, nuts and greens, and Pressed by KIND Bars, a blend of dried fruit and chia seeds, with the addition of greens in the pineapple-banana flavor.
The flavor and texture of each is fresh, flavorful and satisfying: not-too-sweet, not-too-nutty, and perfect for fueling, snacking, or dessert-ing (apologies for the last noun-verb!).
They are expensive: about $1.75 to $2.50 per bar, depending on the store and state. And,
They are tiny! Itty-bitty, teeny-weeny-two-bites tiny, with each bar weighing in at 1.2 ounces/35 grams.
Being me, I had to figure out how to make my own, and then share the recipe with all of you!
Ready? Good, because what I’ve come up with is a cinch.
You have likely seen umpteen versions of homemade larabars (dried fruit + nuts), including right here on powerhungry (circa February 2008!). Grinding dried fruit and nuts or seeds to make no-bake bars isn’t the hurdle; adding greens–such as kale or spinach–is. Why? Because you cannot add it raw. Well, you could, but it won’t keep well (refrigeration or freezing would be required), the bars will break down (due to the water content from the greens), and in the case of kale, they will taste pretty repulsive.
The solution to all of the above? Dry the greens in the oven before adding to the bars, like so:
Ten to fifteen minutes in a 350F oven is all that it takes to render the leaves dry and crispy. How simple is that? The Larabar fruits and greens bars boast 1/4 cup of spinach per bar; my version has 3/4 cup (packed) per bar. You can add more or less, and/or vary the types of greens, to your liking.
Once your greens are cooled, chop them up along with chia seeds and dried fruit. I made both apricot and cherry bars, but you can do just about any dried fruit or dried fruit combination you prefer.
Once all is chopped, you can hand-shape into bars, or press into muffin cups for “pucks,” as I have done here for both the apricot:
And the cherry:
I am also loving these rolled into bite-size bliss balls. I am in the final throes of training for the COWTOWN Marathon in Fort Worth in 2 weeks and the balls are perfect for refueling mid-run!
Enjoy, everyone, and let me know if you give these a try!
- 3 packed cups fresh spinach leaves
- ¾ cup (120 grams) dried apricots, dried cherries, or dried fruit(s) of choice
- 2-1/2 tablespoons chia seeds
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a large baking pan with parchment paper.
- Spread the spinach on the baking sheet in an even layer. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes until the spinach appears dry but is still mostly green (watch closely during final few minutes). Transfer to a cooling rack and cool completely on baking pan.
- In a food processor, process the dried fruit until very finely chopped and sticking together. Add the chia seeds and crumble in the cooled spinach leaves. Process until very well blended.
- Scrape mixture out of food processor and roll in an even log (any size). Cut the log into 4 equal pieces. Press each piece into 4 cups of a standard muffin tin (coated with nonstick spray) to make "pucks" or shape into bars. Chill about 1 hour until firm (remove from tin if making pucks).
Parchment paper tip: Spinach, in particular, tends to stick like crazy to the baking pan; this is solved when using parchment. Wait until the spinach is completely cool before removing it from the paper (it will release easily once completely cool).
Greens: Any equal amount of kale, or other greens of your choice, can be used in place of the kale. Feel free to add more or less according to your preference!