If you are allergic to nuts, then you need to gain the acquaintance of toasted millet.
Millet is humble seed, more likely found in your bird feeder than your pantry. Yes, it’s true, millet is for the birds (it comprises a significant portion of the birdseed mixes on the market), but it has been a part of human consumption for thousands of years as well, from China, to Africa to Europe.
There is much to say about millet, but for the moment, and for this recipe, I am highlighting its use as an alternative to nuts, especially in baked goods or, one of my favorite topics, energy bars.
Did I mention it is also cheap? It is 🙂 So try it to save $, too, regardless of your dietary needs and preferences.
Toasting millet is simple: spread the seeds on a baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes at 350F until the seeds are just beginning to turn golden brown. That’s it. Toasting renders the millet seeds light, crisp and crunchy with a flavor that is, well, nutty. Use it in cookie, muffin, and cracker recipes in place of nuts, or sprinkle on top of salads and hot porridge.
Or make these energy bars.
These bars will remind you of Lara bars. The coconut and coconut oil make them ambrosial, which is no small thing in the world of energy bars. I added about 1-1/2 tablespoons of raw cacao nibs, too, since I had a bag in my freezer; you can easily add an equal amount of chopped buttersweet chocolate.
The bars are not high in protein, but I want you to consider this: when I say these are energy bars, I mean it. Millet is high in a number of important micro-nutrients, including phosphorous. Phosphorous just so happens to be a critical component of ATP (adenosine triphosphate).
ATP is the chemical compound that makes muscle contraction possible, helps regulate blood circulation and cardiac function, and provides the fuel that becomes your energy. We all need it, but it is especially needed if you are an athlete, engaging in regular workouts, or anywhere in between. Adding millet to your diet can help you get more of it.
Give the bars a try, or use toasted millet in any of the other ways I suggest–I know you are going to love its faintly sweet, nutty flavor!
- ⅓ cup millet
- 1 cup rolled oats (old-fashioned or quick-cooking)
- 1-1/4 cups (packed) moist dried apricot halves
- ½ cup unsweetened shredded/flaked coconut
- 1 tablespoon virgin coconut oil
- Optional: 1-1/2 tablespoons cacao nibs or chopped dark chocolate
- Preheatoven to 350F. Spread the millet on a rimmed cookie sheet; bake for 15 to 20 minutes, opening the oven and shaking the pan once or twice, or until the millet is light golden brown. Transfer to bowl of food processor and cool for 5 minutes.
- Add oats to millet in food processor; pulse until millet and oats are broken down somewhat. Add the apricots, coconut and coconut oil. Process, using on/off pulses, until the apricots are finely chopped and the mixture begins to hold together and clump on the sides of the bowl. If adding cacao nib, add now, and pulse several times to combine.
- Transfer mixture to a large piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and shape into an 8x4-inch rectangle. Refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.
- Cut into 8 bars.