My meals lately have been a bit monotonous and I've been eating on the go quite a bit while running in between client sessions and teaching workshops as I head into some transitions. Yes, I even ate something while riding the subway (shame on this New Yorker, I know, I know). But it was a protein bar, not a full-out meal! I still shudder whenever I see someone take out an aromatic dish that requires cutlery to eat on the subway. Yikes. I digress.
I've been having trouble finding nutritious snacks with my recent dietary restrictions that aren't just empty calories. For instance, there's a ton of gluten-free pre-packaged snacks out there with zero nutritional value- hence, why I like to make things at home instead. I took the recipe for my No-Bake Cranberry Almond Chia Granola Bars, and tweaked it a bit to create a new recipe.
Strangely enough, I found out recently I am allergic to hazelnuts (nooooo, goodbye Nutella... I suppose this might be a slight blessing in disguise) and have an oral food allergy when it comes to raw versions of certain foods.
Sadly, raw almonds have been giving me some trouble (sigh). Because of this, I've been on a peanut butter fix, and decided to make a peanut-butter granola bar.
Perfect for your afternoon snack when you're wanting something sweet, and it tides you over really well, thanks to the high good fat content from the nuts and seeds (also imperative to cognitive [brain] health and function!).
These bars are gluten-free, soy-free, and dairy-free, for those of you with allergy/dietary concerns. Sweetened with dates, these guys have no added sugars or added oils. So many pre-packaged granola bars are stuffed with random fillers, and these are as pure as you can get. Now to it!
No-Bake Peanut Butter Pistachio Granola Bars
*makes 12 bars
1 heaping cup Pitted Dates (deglet noor or medjool)
1/2 cup Peanut Butter
3/4 cup Pistachios
1/2 cup Raw Cashews
1 3/4 cup Raw Rolled Oats (Gluten-free if you choose)
1/2 tsp Himalayan Pink Salt
3 tbsp Chia Seeds
3 tbsp Sunflower Seed
1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
1/2 cup Dried Cranberries (Apple Juice-sweetened)
1 tsp Vanilla Extract
TOOLS NEEDED: Food processor, Baking Dish (I used a Pyrex 2-qt glass baking dish)
1. Soak dates in a bowl of water for 30min-1 hour, and drain.
2. In a food processor, pulse pistachios and cashews until broken into small pieces- be careful to not over-pulse and grind into powder. Transfer into a mixing bowl and add the rest of the dry ingredients (oats, chia seeds, sunflower seeds, cranberries, cinnamon, and salt). Stir to mix thoroughly.
3. Blend soaked dates, peanut butter, and vanilla extract in food processor until mixture reaches a smooth, paste-like consistency.
4. Add wet ingredients to mixing bowl with dry ingredients, and combine well using a spatula.
*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 densely packed down. Cover dish 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.