A whole new season of recipes is upon us here in Chicago and we can barely contain our excitement. And why should we!? The abundance of fall produce has sparked our creativity as we dream up hearty and festive ways to utilize the new ingredients. One of our ultimate fall favorites, squash. With so many varieties to choose from the recipe ideas are almost endless. We decided to start with something simple and familiar. A recipe that lends itself to your favorite squash variety. We used butternut for our hummus but know that the recipe would be just as great with acorn squash or pumpkin. We look forward to a fun filled fall with you!
Spicy Squash Hummus
PREP TIME: 35-40 mins
TOTAL TIME: 45 mins
1 can organic chick peas
1 cup cooked squash (we used butternut squash)
1/4 cup tahini paste
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil + 1 tsp drizzled on top
1 Tbsp sriracha sauce + 1 tsp drizzled on top
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut butternut squash in half, lengthwise then place on a parchment lined baking sheet and roast for 35-40 minutes or until inside is soft. Scoop out the inside of the squash and place in a bowl to the side to cool to room temperature. Combine chick peas, 1 cup cooled squash, tahini, olive oil, sriracha, garlic, cumin, and salt in a blender and process on high until a smooth hummus is formed. Scoop out hummus into a bowl or platter and drizzle with additional olive oil and sriracha. Hummus can be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge in an air tight container. Any left overs can be stored in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
The squash addition makes this hummus SO creamy and provides a stunning pop of color. Though the flavor is mild and similar to traditional hummus, exactly why we decided to mix it up with a spicy ingredient. And don't forget about the extra nutrients (specifically vitamin A - more on that coming in another post this season) that you'll get by adding this simple, seasonal ingredient.
Jess and Cecelia
We got to counting the other day and realized that TGBK now features almost 150 recipes on our site! Not to boast (well maybe a little), but we've got tons of great recipe options of all different varieties and skill levels. Some of our recipe preparations are complex and call for lesser known ingredients though we love the simplicity of one step, few ingredient recipes too. Sometimes the simplest recipes are the best because they allow the featured ingredient to really shine - this week, zucchini. Their abundance in home gardens or at farmers markets this time of year can lead to the inevitable question, what to do with all this zucchini? This recipe was born of just that question and with simplicity in mind. Similar but a unique alternative to the popular zucchini noodles.
Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 5 minutes
Servings: 2-4 servings
4 medium zucchini
Juice of 1/4 of a lemon, ~2 tsp
1 tsp green curry powder (red curry powder will also work)
Sprinkle of salt and pepper
Use a vegetable peeler or mandolin set on 1/8" setting to peel or slice zucchini into ribbons. Combine zucchini ribbons in a bowl with lemon juice, curry powder, and salt and pepper. Enjoy immediately at room temperature or this salad can be saved in the fridge for up to one day.
Zucchini prepared this way is just so good! The texture is soft but with a fresh crunch, the flavor light and bright, and the presentation is well, gorgeous. The seasoning can be adjusted to whatever you have or like as zucchini is mild and takes to flavor well. Swap out the curry powder for basil and oregano and you've got an Italian take on this zucchini salad. Zucchini is the perfect late summer food "canvas" for your flavor creations and the possibilities are endless.
Jess and Cecelia
Summer produce is so inspiring. This week we had an abundance of berries that we just couldn't let go to waste. The decision to make a compote was a berry (get it?) good idea! The flavor and freshness of the mixed summer berries was maintained but the compote will last much longer than raw berries will. The compote pairs well with a variety of foods and is a great compliment to your summer picnics (cheese, crackers, and compote anyone?). The best part about this recipe, it's SO simple. Find out for yourself!
Mixed Berry Compote
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes (includes cooking and cooling time)
Yield: ~1.5 cups compote
3 cups fresh or frozen mixed berries (we used blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and strawberries)
Juice of 1/2 medium lemon, ~2 Tbsp
2 Tbsp pure maple syrup (honey would also work)
1/8 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp chia seeds
To make the compote combine all berries in a medium sauce pan set to medium heat and cook until the berries start to burst. Lower heat to a simmer and continue cooking for 5-10 minutes stirring often. Remove compote from the heat, stir in the lemon juice, salt, and maple syrup and allow to cool to room temperature. Once compote is cooled add in 2 Tbsp chia seeds and whisk well until the chia seeds are well dispersed in the compote. Place in an air tight jar and store in the fridge for 1-2 weeks.
Well, that's it friends. A fresh and delicious compote that pairs amazingly with cheese and crackers, toast, yogurt, ice cream, or anything else you can dream up. We'd love to hear what you slather and spread this berry compote on - please share!
Jess and Cecelia
Friends! It's been a while since our last recipe and we hope you've been finding some delicious ways to enjoy the bounty of the season. If you've been growing or finding fresh carrots at your local farmers market this one's for you! We found a gorgeous bunch of rainbow carrots that made this salad even that much more special, though a single color palate would be beautiful too. This recipe includes quick pickled ginger (pictured below) to add some extra pizzaz and another unique preparation to your repertoire. Homemade pickles in 60 minutes - yes please! And not to overshadow the preparation of these carrots into ribbons which are interesting to look at and even better to eat. Forget about a boring vegetable platter or garden salad - this is the recipe for your next summer gathering to savor and impress. Let's get to it!
Rainbow Ribbon Carrot Salad
Prep Time: 15 minutes + 1 hour for pickling
Total Time: 1 hour 15 minutes (includes 1 hour of pickling time)
Servings: 4 side salads, 2 main salads
6 large carrots
2 Tbsp quick picked ginger, minced
1 Tbsp chopped parsley
1 Tbsp sesame seeds (preferably unbleached)
1 1/2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 Tbsp tahini
2 tsp fresh lemon juice
1 tsp water
½ tsp honey (we used clover honey)
¼ tsp sea salt
2-3 drops toasted sesame oil
Quick Pickled Ginger
1 three-inch piece of ginger, peeled and sliced thin
1 red radish, sliced thin
3 Tbsp rice vinegar
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp sea salt
To make the pickled ginger, add the vinegar, sugar, and salt to a glass jar and stir until the sugar and salt have dissolved. Add the sliced ginger and one radish (for color) to the jar with the liquid and allow mixture to sit covered for at least 1 hour. Pickled ginger can be kept in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
To make the dressing, combine olive oil, tahini, lemon juice, water, honey, sea salt, and toasted sesame oil in a bowl and whisk until combined. Dressing will keep in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 7 days.
To make the salad, wash and peel the outer skin on the carrots. Next use a vegetable peeler to shave carrots into long thin strips*. Continue this process until all 6 carrots have been shaved. Using a sharp knife, slice radishes as thin as possible (this could also be done using a mandolin on the thinnest setting). Add chopped parsley, minced pickled ginger and sesame seeds to the carrots then toss with the tahini dressing and serve immediately. If you do not plan to serve the whole salad at once, keep the dressing on the side and add just prior to serving. Undressed salad will keep in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
*This process is similar to peeling outer carrot skins. We recommend holding carrots firmly in a clean dish towel and rotating the carrots as you shave. Once you get to the tougher center of the carrots shaving will become more difficult. When this happens you can stop and discard part of the carrots or save to enjoy as traditional carrot sticks.
As we mentioned, the texture of these carrots really brings a uniqueness to this salad - reminiscent of pasta salad but light and fresh with a satisfying crunch. The radish rounds and quick pickled ginger provide a subtle spice and the creamy tahini dressing tops it all off, literally. We hope the fresh, local produce you're finding this summer is inspiring your own kitchen creations.
Jess and Cecelia
Hi friends! We've got a recipe for granola bars to clear out your pantry this week for some late Spring cleaning. These bars are packed full of SO much goodness and the ingredients are easily adaptable to what you have in your pantry. Of course we had to try one new food product - quinoa flakes - though this recipe will definitely work without it! We found quinoa flakes similar to instant oatmeal but with a mild quinoa flavor. They don't provide a different nutritional benefit from standard quinoa but rather, another interesting way to include this ancient grain in your diet. Ready?
Dark Chocolate Cherry Quinoa Granola Bars
PREP TIME: 25 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 1 hour 45 minutes
Servings: 9 large or 12 small granola bars
1 cup old-fashioned oatmeal
1 cup quinoa flakes (instant unflavored oatmeal would also work)
1/2 cup raw walnuts, chopped (or raw chopped nut of your choice)
1/2 cup raw pepitas (raw sunflower seeds would also work)
1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup ground flax seeds
1/4 cup oatmeal flour (wheat bran would also work)
1/8 cup hemp seeds + 1 Tbsp reserved for the top
2/3 cup pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup dried cherries, chopped (or dried fruit of your choice)
6 oz dark chocolate, shaved + 2 tsp coconut oil
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a 9x9" pan with parchment paper allowing two ends to overhang for easy removal. Mix together the oatmeal, quinoa, walnuts, pepitas, and coconut on a large sheet pan and bake in preheated oven for 6-8 minutes, stirring at least once for even toasting. Remove from the oven then add mix to a large bowl. Stir in the ground flax seeds, oatmeal flour, hemp seeds, sea salt and dried cherries.
In a separate bowl add maple syrup, vanilla extract, and melted coconut oil and stir to combine. Pour liquid ingredients over dry and stir until well coated. Add granola mixture to a parchment lined pan. Use your hands and a small piece of parchment paper to press mixture firmly into the pan to create compact bars. Sprinkle remaining 1 Tbsp hemp seeds on top and place in preheated oven to bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Allow to fully cool prior to cutting (about 30 minutes). If you cannot wait to dig in, and cut the bars too soon, you may end up with uneven shaped/more crumbly bars...they will still taste the same but may not be as uniform in size and shape!
Once fully cooled, cut into desired bar size (we used a 9"x9" pan which made 9 large bars).
In a microwave safe bowl combine the shaved chocolate with 2 tsp coconut oil and melt the mixture in the microwave in 10 second increments (making sure to stir between each 10 seconds to avoid burning the chocolate). Dip each bar into the chocolate half way then place on a wax paper lined baking sheet. Allow bars to cool in the fridge for 15 minutes. Store bars in an air tight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Well friends, that's it. By this point your pantry should be clean and your belly full of nutrient packed ingredients. Depending on what you choose to use the flavor can vary though our bars were a perfect mix of tart and sweet from the cherries and chocolate with an undertone of toastiness from the toasted grains, nuts/seeds, and coconut.
Enjoy the goodness,
Jess and Cecelia
We've been SO busy and have packing on the brain as Cecelia is in the process of moving into her new home in Chicago. Besides the busyness, packing and moving require energy and strength (she's already starting to question the decision of a second floor walk up, ha!). But jokes and moving grumbles aside we decided to focus on protein this week and found a way to pack tons of protein into a beloved dessert - brownies! These bites are chocolatey and delicious and contain a good dose of protein from a variety of sources - one being hemp butter. Yes, hemp butter!
So now you're probably thinking "what is hemp butter and why have I never heard about it?" Well, hemp butter is just like any other nut/seed butters in that it is a blended version of hemp seeds. However, it is different than other nut/seed butters because the color, taste, and texture change significantly, in our opinion, once the hemp seeds are blended. As you can see from the picture above, hemp seed butter is a dull green which may not look all that appetizing. The hemp seed flavor is also enhanced in the butter which has a stronger flavor than the plain hemp seeds and the texture becomes quite thick. These changes may make hemp seed butter less appealing and underutilized in the kitchen - probably why you've never heard about it! We found that adding hemp butter to recipes for additional protein and nutrient value was a great use of this underused product. But if you find that you love hemp butter plain on toast - go for it!
Hemp Protein Brownie Bites
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 55 minutes
Servings: 26-30 bites
Each bite contains ~2.8 grams protein
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp whole wheat flour
3/4 cup + 1 Tbsp coconut sugar
3 Tbsp hemp seed butter (make by blending hemp seeds in a high speed blender or purchase at your local specialty grocer, also available online, here)
3 Tbsp unsalted butter
1/4 cup cacao powder
6 oz coarsely chopped semisweet chocolate + 1/3 cup 60% cacao chocolate shavings
1/4 cup hemp seeds + 1 Tbsp reserved for top
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp sea salt
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8"X 8" pan with parchment paper allowing 2 sides to hang over the edges for easy removal. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of the prepared pan with a dab of unsalted butter then set aside.
Place 3 Tbsp butter, 3 Tbsp hemp seed butter, 6 oz chopped chocolate, and 1/4 cup cacao powder in a double boiler or a heat proof bowl placed over a pan with an inch or two of simmering water. Allow the butters and chocolate to fully melt, stirring often then set aside to slightly cool.
Combine the flour, baking soda and sea salt in a separate bowl and whisk to combine.
Combine the coconut sugar, eggs, and vanilla in the bowl of stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment and mix on medium until light in color, about 3-4 minutes. Add the cooled melted butter and chocolate mixture then continue to whisk. Add in the flour mixture and mix until fully incorporated, avoid over mixing the batter. Stir in 1/3 cup chocolate shavings and 1/4 cup hemp seeds into the batter.
Pour batter into the prepared pan, sprinkle 1 Tbsp hemp seeds over the top of the batter and place in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow brownies to cool for 15 minutes before cutting. Cut into 1" X 1" bites. Store leftover brownie bites in an air tight container at room temperature for 2 days or in the fridge for up to 5 days.
Thoughts? Is your mind blown that there is such a thing as hemp seed butter? Are you excited that you can now make "hemp brownies" that would be appropriate to eat at work (unlike another type of hemp brownie that may come to mind)? We are most excited that we can now ditch processed protein bars and make our own high protein goodies to keep us fueled during Cecelia's move and beyond.
Jess and Cecelia
Super Bowl shenanigans yesterday got us in a snacking mood and thinking about better, homemade snacks. Often prepackaged snack mixes have undesirable ingredients and leave no room for creativity. If you love our oldie but goodie recipe for Snack Attack Bars than you'll be glad that we're back with round two - Snack Attack Berbere Mix. But what is berbere you ask, let's find out!
We had some fun at one of our favorite specialty grocers in Chicago this weekend - Middle East Bakery and Grocery in Andersonville. They have a delicious eat in cafe and an amazing selection of hard to find Mediterranean ingredients. What really wows us about this grocer, however, is their colorful selection of spices and unique spice blends without strange additives. It's here that we discovered berbere and are sure glad we did. Berbere is a traditional Ethiopian spice blend with a delectable balance of spice, savoriness, and a touch of sweetness. Our blend contains paprika, ginger, cumin, gram masala, anise seeds, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, curry, onion, and garlic powder. From what we've found there can be a variety of spices in different berbere blends or recipes but we love the one that Middle East Bakery and Grocery carries. Check them out soon for this gem or find a local specialty grocer that carries unique spices. If you have a great spice cabinet already and want to experiment with a mixture of these ingredients that would be fun too! Though this snack mix would be amazing with any of your favorite spices/spice blends.
Snack Attack Berbere Mix
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 40 minutes
Servings: ~7 cups
3 cups mini woven wheat crackers (rice, corn, or wheat woven unsweetened plain cereal would also work)
2 cups pretzels (any shape will work, we used whole wheat pretzel bites)
1 1/4 cup roasted broad bean crisps (we used Enlightened brand, roasted chickpeas would also be great)
1/2 cup unsalted macadamia nuts
1/2 cup unsalted, shelled pistachios
4 Tbsp melted, unsalted butter
2 Tbsp + 2 tsp low sodium soy sauce
2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp + 1 tsp berbere seasoning powder (paprika, ginger, cumin, gram masala, anise seeds, cinnamon, allspice, cardamom, curry, onion, & garlic powder) OR spice mix of your choice
Pre-heat oven to 250 degrees. In a large bowl, mix together the mini woven wheat crackers, pretzels, roasted broad beans, macadamia nuts, and pistachios then set aside. In another small bowl, combine the melted butter, soy sauce, apple cider vinegar, and honey then pour over the dry ingredients. Gently stir the mix until well coated. Sprinkle berbere seasoning powder over the mix and stir again to evenly coat. Spread mix in an even layer on a large parchment lined sheet pan then bake for 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow mix to fully cool for ~15 minutes, then store in an air tight container for up to 10 days.
This mix is a snack that won't quit. It's perfectly crunchy but also rich and buttery, the mixture of nut and bean protein will keep you full and satisfied, and the unique tang of the berbere will keep you coming back for more. This can be shared with a group and will easily travel for an on the go snack. And don't forget to support your local businesses and specialty ethnic grocers - finds like this mix may not be possible without them! Thank you Middle East Bakery and Grocery, see you soon.
Jess and Cecelia
Round two, we love a good bowl of popcorn as you may remember from this post. Though this isn't just any bowl of popcorn as you may have already guessed. We're making this bowl interesting and nutritious with the use of a favorite power green, kale of course, and a famous antioxidant, turmeric, in the curry powder. And just look at that beautiful color created from the turmeric - no artificial butter coloring here! Actually this recipe is butter-free using coconut oil for an extra depth of flavor. But first, more on the unique form of kale we used for this recipe.
When you think of kale you most likely think of a big healthy salad...right? But we have found so many other ways to add this power house green into almost every meal and snack! Powdered kale can be used much like a dehydrated herb. Add this nutritious dark green powder to popcorn, soups, sauces, guacamole, hummus, smoothies, homemade crackers, to the cooking liquid of grains, or believe it or not this can actually be snuck into chocolate chip cookies (we've done it!). Once kale leaves are dried and turned into a powder the possibilities are truly endless. And what a great use for all that end of the season kale in your garden or at the local farmers market. Powdered kale will not only add a nutritional boost but also an earthy flavor to your recipes. Try it out soon and tell us what you think! If in need of ideas, we've got the perfect popcorn recipe waiting for you.
Dehydrated Kale Powder
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 20 minutes
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Rinse then dry kale leaves and use a sharp knife to remove the stems. Evenly place kale leaves on a parchment lined baking sheet making sure to not overlap. Cook kale in the oven for 10-12 minutes (flipping mid way through) or until kale is dried and crunchy. Watch kale leaves carefully as they burn quickly. Allow kale to cool completely then place in a resealable bag, release all the air, and crunch leaves until they form a powder. Store dehydrated kale powder in a cool and dry place. Kale powder will last for up to 3 months if stored in an air tight container.
Sweet and Savory Curry Popcorn
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 15 minutes
Servings: 12 cups
3 oz organic popcorn kernels (about 1/2 cup)
3 Tbsp coconut oil
1/2 tsp sea salt
2 Tbsp dehydrated kale powder
2 tsp yellow curry powder
2 tsp sugar
In a dutch oven or deep cast iron skillet add 3 Tbsp coconut oil and sea salt. Turn stove top on to medium-high heat and allow oil to melt. Add one popcorn kernel to melted oil and wait a few minutes until the kernel pops (this is how you know the oil is ready). Add 3 oz of kernels to the pan and cover with a lid. Bring the temperature down to medium heat. While wearing oven mits, gently shake the pan back and forth to allow kernels to evenly pop. Continue doing this until you no longer hear popping. You may also lift the lid to take a peak, just be careful! While the popcorn is still hot, add the curry powder, sugar, and kale powder over the top and stir to combine. Use a large spoon (or your hands) to evenly disperse the flavors. Pour prepared popcorn into a large bowl and snack on!
We've really done it this time. This popcorn is changing the popcorn game. Sweet, spicy, salty, bright, and earthy all at the same time. And again, that color! We suggest making this recipe now while you're inspired, you won't be sorry.
Jess and Cecelia
With the coming of fall we can't help but get excited about the beautiful fall colors we know are ahead. Viewing bold, multi-color leaves on a drive through a forested country road is a quintessential fall experience we hope to enjoy every year. Though being city dwellers we find ourselves spending more time at the fall farmers markets (still going strong!) and finding a similar beautiful color palette there. Root vegetables are coming into season and are the hearty addition to meals we all start to crave as the weather begins to cool. So let's enjoy their lovely colors this week as we learn more about root vegetables.
Root vegetables are exactly as named, the edible root of a plant. Some common root vegetables are carrot, potato varieties, beet, ginger, onion and garlic though others include radish, parsnip, turnip, rutabaga and kohlrabi. They grow best in cool weather so can be planted in early spring and left to harvest until late fall making their season for fresh produce last into the winter. Understandably, root vegetables can be intimidating in the kitchen and less common varieties don't always get the attention they deserve. Root vegetables are packed with a variety of vitamins and minerals as they absorb nutrients from surrounding soil while growing and can provide a lower carbohydrate substitute at meals if used in place of grain products. And oh, the colors! Some of the simpler preparations include roasting, boiling and mashing though we just love a good root vegetable chip. We will forewarn you that these are time consuming and require attention and patience though we swear it pays off! But no judgement if you decide to make this dip and purchase root vegetable chips to go with. Look for brands with minimal ingredients including the root vegetables themselves, a simple vegetable oil (preferably coconut or olive oil but hard to find) , and salt.
Spicy Wasabi Edamame Hummus
PREP TIME: 5 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 10 minutes
Servings: ~2 cups hummus
2 cups organic, shelled & cooked edamame
1/4 cup tahini
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup untoasted sesame oil + 1 tsp to drizzle over the top of hummus before serving
1 Tbsp water
1 clove of fresh garlic, diced
2 tsp wasabi powder, or fresh wasabi if available
1/4 tsp sea salt
1 Tbsp sesame seeds reserved to sprinkle over the top of hummus before serving
In a high speed blender or food processor combine edamame, tahini, lemon juice, sesame oil, water, garlic, wasabi powder, and salt and mix on high until a smooth texture is formed. Pour contents into a bowl and top with 1 tsp of untoasted sesame oil and a sprinkle of sesame seeds. Set aside while your chips are cooking.
Roasted Root Vegetable Chips
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 35-45 minutes
1 medium-large* sweet potato
1 medium-large red beet
1 medium-large turnip
1 medium-large kohlrabi
4-5 Tbsp coconut oil (olive oil will also work)
1/2-3/4 tsp sea salt, more if you prefer a salter chip
Preheat oven to 300 degrees and line 2 sheet pans with parchment paper. Peel each root vegetable and set aside. Using a mandolin set to 1/8" thickness, slice vegetables making sure to cut as evenly as possible - this will help each chip to cook evenly. Brush each side of the vegetable slices with oil and sprinkle with sea salt. Bake in preheated oven for 25-35 minutes or until chips are crispy. Make sure to watch closely as the chips can burn very quickly. Note that the thinner the chip, the faster it will cook. Allow chips to come to room temperature before serving. These chips are best eaten the same day, however, can be stored in an air tight container for up to 3 days.
*Choose medium to large root vegetables as vegetable slices will shrink during the cooking process
So...this dip...and those chips - a match made in fall heaven! The spicy and creamy wasabi hummus packs a punch of flavor perfectly mellowed by the warm, rich, and roasty veggie chips. Despite the effort, if you have the time we think these chips are definitely worth it. And such a great use for the abundance of root vegetables you'll find at farmers markets this fall.
Jess and Cecelia
Real talk, being hangry (hungry + angry) is just no fun. We make an effort to always have satiating snacks on hand but watch out if we forget and go a little too long without food, just ask our significant others! If you can relate, or if you just love a satisfying snack, this post is for you. In a bite these bars will eliminate hangry from your vocabulary, if it is even a word to begin with?
Nuts and seeds can be thanked for the satiating quality of these bars. Nuts and seeds not only contain heart healthy fats but are also are a good source of protein and fiber, all of which are necessary to keep you feeling full and satisfied until your next meal. About 50% of the fat content in cashews comes from monounsaturated fat, a healthy fat that can help lower LDL (or bad cholesterol) in your blood. While we are on the topic of healthy fats, sesame seeds are known to help reduce cholesterol levels given their high content of cholesterol lowering phytosterols. All nuts and seeds contain protein, however, hemp seeds are in a class of their own. Hemp seeds are one of the very few plant proteins containing all the essential amino acids. A 3 tablespoon serving of hemp seeds contains a whopping 10 grams of plant based protein! The fiber found in seeds, specifically chia and flax seeds, is high in soluble fiber which also aids in hunger control. In the recipe listed below, if cut into 12 equal sized bars, each contains ~4 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein to keep you full and satisfied. As you can probably tell, we could go on and on about the endless benefits of nuts and seeds but would rather get to the recipe now!
Seeduction Apple Bars
PREP TIME: 20 minutes
TOTAL TIME: 55-60 minutes (includes cooking time)
Servings: 10-12 bars
Recipe inspired by Half Baked Harvest Blog
1 cup raw cashews
1/2 cup sweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup dried unsweetened apple slices, diced
4 Tbsp sesame seeds (we used 2 Tbsp white and 2 Tbsp black sesame seeds)
2 Tbsp chia seeds
3 Tbsp flax seeds
2 Tbsp hemp seeds
1/4 cup cooked quinoa (could also use cooked steel cut oats)
1/2 cup pure maple syrup (could also use honey)
1 Tbsp coconut oil, melted
1 tsp sea salt
1/4 tsp cinnamon
White Chocolate Dip
8 oz white chocolate chips (We used Ghirardelli white chocolate chips. Look for white chocolate without any artificial flavorings)
1 vanilla bean (inside scraped out)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees then lightly oil an 8x8" pan with coconut oil and line with pre-fitted parchment paper. Make sure to let the parchment paper hang over on two of the four sides to easily remove bars from pan once cooked and cooled. Using a separate large baking sheet place cashews, coconut flakes, sesame, chia, flax, and hemp seeds in a thin layer making sure to keep them separated. Lightly toast for 10 minutes stirring once for even toasting. Remove from the oven to cool.
Cook quinoa according to package directions and set 1/4 cup aside. Set aside 1 Tbsp sesame seeds, 1 Tbsp chia seeds, 1 Tbsp flax seeds, and 1 Tbsp hemp seeds for later use. In a food processor or a blender, add toasted cashews, coconut flakes, dried apples, remainder of seeds and cooked quinoa. Process until a small pebble sand-like texture is formed. Add in the maple syrup, coconut oil, salt, and cinnamon. Process just until the mixture comes together, making sure to avoid over processing. Press dough into prepared pan, sprinkle reserved seeds over the top of the dough and lightly press down using a piece of wax paper to prevent the dough from sticking to your hands. Bake in a preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow bars to cool before removing from the pan then carefully cut into 10-12 evenly shaped bars (shape of your choice). Place bars on a wax paper lined baking sheet and set in the fridge to chill.
Meanwhile, melt the white chocolate in a double boiler or in a microwave safe glass bowl in increments of 10 seconds stirring between each to prevent the chocolate from burning. Stir the cinnamon and the inside of vanilla bean into the melted chocolate. Carefully dip the bottom of chilled bars in melted chocolate then place on prepared wax paper lined baking sheet. Repeat until all bars are dipped in chocolate. Place back in the fridge to set. Bars can be eaten at room temperature or chilled right from the fridge. Store in an air thight container for 3-5 days in the fridge.....if they last that long!
So, are we right or what? No more hangry here. These bars keep us satisfied for a good 4 hours as a quick breakfast or yummy snack. Their texture is soft and chewy and the flavor rich and sweet with hints of apple and cinnamon. And such a perfect use for white chocolate with the hearty nuts and seeds balancing white chocolate's almost extreme sweetness. Feel free to pass this recipe along to anyone else you know that may get hangry now and again, they and you will be glad you did!
Jess and Cecelia
Jess and Cecelia welcome you to our kitchen. We are fun-loving and passionate foodies working to make the world a healthier, happier place one plant based recipe at a time.