No-Bake Cranberry Almond Chia Granola Bars

 Dried, pitted deglet noor dates

Dried, pitted deglet noor dates

With my unusual schedule that frequently doesn't allow me to stop for a full meal, I need sustenance on the go that's nutritious and packable without needing refrigeration.

I have always loved granola and protein bars, but unfortunately SO many store-bought versions have a lot of added sugar and oils that I prefer to avoid whenever possible.

I've made homemade granola before, but this recipe I spotted on Choosing Raw stood out to me for the simplicity of not having to bake it. I also loved the fact that there are no added oils and sugar (sweetened with dates), so it's more wholesome. For those with dietary preferences/needs, these bars are gluten-free, soy-free, and vegan. This is not a low calorie bar and is fat-dense, due to the nut content and chia seeds, but chock full of nutrients.

This recipe is incredibly versatile, and you can modify the dry ingredients to fit what type of nuts/seeds you may have on hand. This is also a great bar to add protein powder into to increase the protein balances of your macros. After making these and taste-testing, I will most definitely be making a lot more flavor varieties in the future- it was SO yum. 

No-Bake Cranberry Almond Chia Granola Bars 

Ingredients

*makes 12 bars

1 heaping cup Pitted Dates (deglet noor or medjool)
1/2 cup Almond Butter
1 cup Raw Almonds
1/2 cup Raw Cashews
1 3/4 cup Raw Rolled Oats
1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
2 tbsp Chia Seeds
2 tbsp Pepitas
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries (Apple Juice-sweetened)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
*a couple rogue pistachios and cacao nibs made their way into my mix too...

TOOLS NEEDED: Food processor, Baking Dish (I used a Pyrex 2-qt glass baking dish)

 

Recipe

1. Soak dates in a bowl of water for 30min-1 hour, and drain. 

2. In a food processor, pulse almonds then add cashews until broken into small pieces- be careful to not grind into powder. Transfer into a mixing bowl and add all dry ingredients (oats, chia seeds, pepitas, cranberries, cinnamon, and salt). Mix with a spoon.

3. Blend soaked dates, almond butter, and vanilla extract in food processor until at a smooth, paste-like consistency.

4. Add wet ingredients to mixing bowl with dry ingredients, and combine. 

*At this point, feel free to keep as chunky granola- it's a great topper for yogurts or use as snack bites. Refrigeration is recommended for freshness.

5. Transfer granola mix into glass baking dish and press until flat and packed down. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for a few hours. Remove, cut into squares, and individually wrap bars in parchment paper or plastic wrap, and place in an airtight container in the fridge for best freshness.