Simple flavours, wholesome ingredients and lots of crunch. A healthy snack and these keep you full for hours!
The next time you fell tempted to buy ridiculously overpriced granola bars loaded with preservatives, go instead for the natural, homemade option – with lots of fibre and no added sugar.
For a homemade granola bar, you need:
Base – Such as rolled oats or instant oats. Leave them whole or powder them for the cooked version.
Nuts – Almonds, pecans, cashews, walnuts, pistachios, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts or peanuts.
Seeds – Pumpkin, sunflower, flax, sesame or hemp.
Dry fruit – Cranberries, raisins, golden sultanas, prunes, figs, cherries, goji berries, mango chips, pineapple coins, blueberries, strawberries, apricots or banana chips.
Extras for added flav0ur – Citrus peel, chocolate chips, natural vanilla extract, cinnamon, nutmeg, all spice, cardamom, dry coconut flakes, caramel syrup or sea salt.
Syrup – You need one of these to bind the solid ingredients together – honey, agave nectar, maple syrup or melted peanut butter.
Just process 2 cups of de-seeded dates in a food processor until you get a thick consistency. Add 1 cup each of toasted rolled oats, toasted almonds and 1/2 cup raisins or dried berries (I use almonds and cranberries because I love cranberries and almonds the best)
Add 1 tbs shredded dry coconut and 1 tsp vanilla extract.
Warm 1 cup honey, maple syrup, agave, or even peanut butter on low flame and pour into the mix. Spread well on a tray lined with baking paper. Press down and really pack the mix, to help the ingredients hold together better.
Cut into bars or squares. This can be stored for up to a month in the freezer (if you can save them for that long!)
You may also make these by soaking the dates and cooking the paste.
Soak 2 cups de-seeded dates in 2 cups hot water for 2 hours. Make a paste of this.
In a pan, dry roast 1 cup chopped almonds, 1 cup pistachios, ½ cup walnuts, ½ cup dry shredded coconut, ½ cup pumpkin seeds, 1 tablespoon white sesame seeds for 2 minutes.
In another shallow pan, spread and cook the dates paste until it changes colour to dark brown. Add 1 cup honey, the roasted nuts mix, ½ tsp vanilla extract and ¼ tsp salt.
Roast 1 cup oats and powder it. Add to nut and date mixture and stir well until it holds. Spread on a tray lined with baking paper. Refrigerate for an hour, cut and store.
To keep these vegan, stick with maple syrup or agave instead of honey. And to keep them gluten-free, use GF oats. Chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, banana chips, raisins, etc are optional. Customisable and delicious!
Always store in an airtight container.
By Linda Joseph Kavalackal,
Christ & Co.