You had me at chocolate. And peanut butter. And the no-bake factor is always a plus. And they are gluten-free, to boot.
When I found this recipe on Vegan Heartland, I couldn’t wait to try it. I was surprised to find that I had all of the ingredients on hand (if you’re vegan, you probably do, too). As Matthew (Vegan Heartland author) notes in his recipe post, these crunchy, sweet bars are rich in protein, fiber, antioxidants + omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. But don’t think that means you can eat the whole pan, cuz short on calories they are not. Nor are they short on flavor or texture. I LOVE ‘em!!!
These are super easy and quick to make. The hard part is waiting for them to firm up overnight. I simply have no patience, so I just put the pan in the freezer for an hour, and voila! – they were good to go.
Oops! I just realized I left the pumpkin seeds out of the ingredients shot.
YIELDS 12 to 16 bars (depending on how big you cut them)
1½ cups rolled oats (use gluten-free if desired)
¼ cup flax seed meal
⅛ cup chia seeds
¼ cup sunflower seeds
¼ cup sesame seeds
⅓ cup pumpkin seeds
½ cup cashews
½ cup almonds
½ cup agave nectar
1 cup natural peanut butter (or nut butter of choice – I used almond butter)
½ cup vegan chocolate chips (Enjoy Life Mini Chips are gluten-free)
Feel free to substitute your favorite nuts/seeds for any you don’t have on hand or don’t like. You could sub dried fruit for chocolate chips, too.
Line an 8×8 (or similar size) pan or baking dish with parchment paper. Leave extra on the sides to use as handles for removing the bars later.
In a large bowl, combine the oats, flax seed meal, seeds and nuts; mix thoroughly.
Add agave nectar to the mixture and stir until well coated.
Scoop the mixture into the prepared pan/baking dish and press firmly until it is evenly distributed. Original recipe instructs to allow mixture to then sit overnight (to firm up) before cutting into bars. As I mentioned, I’m not that patient. I put mine in the freezer for an hour or so and it seemed to work just fine.
Using the parchment paper handles, remove the entire block from pan/baking dish, then cut into bars. See how nice and even mine are? Oops. If I could have a do-over, I would cut it into 16 bars. There’s always next time.
I found that the bars start to lose their firmness if left out for too long. Best to store them in the freezer (in my opinion).
When storing the bars in a container, place a sheet of parchment paper between the layers to avoid bars sticking together.
Breakfast is served! Thanks again to Matthew at Vegan Heartland for this excellent recipe.