DL’s Peanut Protein & Energy Bars. Whole Food. Plant-Based.
Ingredients: Sudanese peanuts (my fave!), walnuts, pitted dates (soaked in Chai/tea), apricots (soaked in tea), 3 tsp cinnamon, 2 tsp cacao, 2 tsp ground coffee, 1/4 cup dry toasted sesame seeds (not seen here).
In a food processor, pulse the nuts and spices. Set aside.Then pulse the dates and apricots (minus soaking liquid) in the food processor, until it forms a chunky paste. Add the nut mix back in to the food processor with the dried fruit, and pulse into a chunky dough. You can also mix the two by hand in a large bowl, kneading it until it combines. Preparing each component separately this way ensures that both ‘wet’ and ‘dry’ ingredients are evenly broken down.
Press the mixture into a lined baking pan. Sprinkle over the toasted sesame seeds, and gently press them down into the mixture. Set the trey in the freezer for at least 1-hour to harden.
Cut the chilled dough into 16 bars.
These delicious and nutritious bars are packed with plant-based protein, good unsaturated fats, and whole-food carbs – an ideal pre or post-workout snack. Designed for the amazing plant-based athletes I work with, this recipe offers concentrated energy from the fiber-rich dried fruits, and protein from the nuts and seeds. This combination of macronutrients provides a boost of energy without spiking your blood sugar level, and allows for steady energy release. Unlike store-bought packaged bars, these have zero added sugars, oils, or preservatives – making it a much healthier option. These bars can also be enjoyed as a dessert, a healthy and tasty treat for the whole family!
– 2 cups peanuts Sudanese peanuts
– 1/2 cup walnuts
– 2 cups pitted dates for 15-20 min (soaked in Chai tea or another tea of choice or simply warm water)
– 1/2 cup dried apricots for 15-20 min (soaked in tea/hot water)
– 1/4 cup raw sesame seeds (dry toasted in skillet)
– 1 tbsp cinnamon
– 2 tsp cacao
– 2 tsp ground coffee
- In a food processor, blend the nuts and spices into a crumble. Set aside.
- Add the rehydrated dates & apricots (minus soaking liquid) to the food processor and blend into a paste.
- Add the nut mixture back in and pulse to combine. Note: Depending on the size of your food processor, you may have to do this in 2 stages.
- Press the mixture into a lined baking pan, ensuring to evenly distribute the mix. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds, and push them into the mix with your hands to ensure they stick.
- Place in the freezer for at least 1 hour to let it set, before cutting into squares. Note: Store these bars in the freezer, in a plastic or glass tupperware container – they will last a few months (but these bars are so delicious they’ll likely be gone in a week!)
– Peanuts and Sesame seeds are packed with iron, calcium, Potassium, Magnesium, Zinc, Vitamin E, B Vitamins, plant-based protein, healthy unsaturated fats and fiber.
– Walnuts are rich in omega 3 fats (anti-inflammatory), B Vitamins, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, zinc, protein, and fiber,
– Dried dates are a natural sweetener and source of potassium, iron, calcium, magnesium, B vitamins, and fiber. Given their inherent concentrated sweetness and ability to bind these bars together, there is no need for added refined/processed sugars – which are added to commercial bars (see below).
Note: These unhealthy ingredients are added as a preservative, so that the bars can sit on store shelves for longer. That said, because my recipe is composed of only whole food, they must be kept in the fridge or freezer.
– Dried apricots area another natural sweetener, and provide iron, calcium, potassium, vitamin E, vitamin A, B vitamins, and fiber.
-Cinnamon helps the body regular sugars, which means the simple carbs from the dried fruit will be more evenly released. It also supports digestion and is a source of iron, calcium, antioxidants, and fiber.
Comparing these homemade bars to a standard protein/energy bar on the market (Clif):
CLIF Bar: These bars are far from healthy, made up of mostly refined sugars from brown rice syrup (one of the highest on glycemic index of sweeteners) and processed oat syrup, processed soy (not the same as whole soy), poor quality added processed fats from vegetable glycerin/canola oil/sunflower oil, and saturated fat from cocao butter.