A vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and delicious alternative to commercial energy bars.
Being both a Celiac and generally sensitive to the food I consume, what to eat when I'm climbing or skiing has been a bit of a problem. Commercial energy bars typically don't do my digestive system much of a favor and after a long weekend on the move I'm often left not feeling that great.
Talking to other friends and this doesn't seem to be uncommon. There are higher quality bars available but personally, with my appetite $4.00 bars aren't a wallet friendly option.
I've tried a few recipes for home made bars before but most are dependent on lots of nuts, dried fruit and some form of a binder/sweetener.. and then I'm back to the same problem as before. Unhappy guts.
Earlier this summer I started experimenting with a recipe found at the No Meat Athlete that uses beans as a base for the bars. (keep reading even if you beans don't agree with you, you can substitute pumpkin or squash for the beans.)
They were pretty good, filling, easy on my guts and best of all - pretty quick and cheap to make. (about a $1.00 per bar)
But it got me thinking.. I've had a lot of success in adding more vegetables to my diet but.. hard to do on big outdoor days.
What if I replaced some of the beans with vegetables?
After a bit of experimentation this is what I've come up with. For your culinary pleasure I present..
Home-Made Energy Brownies with Beets, Carrots, Quinoa, and lots more good stuff.
- 1 cup black beans (can sub pumpkin or squash if beans don't agree with you)(beans should be rinsed well)
- 1 medium sized beet
- 1 medium sized carrot
- 1/2 cup nut butter
- 1/4 cup sweetener (honey, agave, etc)(adjust to suit your own taste)
- 1 small banana or half a large one (riper is better)
- 1/2 teaspoon No Salt (source of potassium / electrolyte, can use normal salt)
- 1/4 cup quinoa
- 1/4 cup chia (or hemp seeds)
- 1.5 cups oats
- 1/2 cup cocoa (sugar free version)
- Tablespoon of ground coffee (omit if you don't like, or add more if you love coffee!)
- 1/2 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
- 1/2 cup raisins and/or dates
First off, you need a food processor. You know that gadget that people buy, use twice and end up selling at a garage sale for cheap?
Yeah, you need it back.
- Put the mixing blade in, and then (if possible) put the grating blade on the top.
- grate the beet and carrots
- remove grater blade
- add cup of black beans, banana and 1/2 cup of water
- add nut butter, sweetener, salt and flavor (coffee, etc)
- blend until smooth
- add dried fruit, quinoa and chia - blend until smooth
- add water if mixture is getting too stiff- your end goal is a smooth, slightly stiff mixture than can be easily spread into pan and smoothed out.
- add cocoa and coconut (blend)
- add oats and blend (start with one cup and add extra to control consistency, if too thick and machine is bogging down then add water.)
- preheat oven to 350 Fahrenheit. (176 Celcius)
- grease a 10x10" (25 cm square) or similar sized baking pan (coconut oil is my preferred choice and makes the vegans in your life happy but bacon grease works well too)
- spoon the mixture into the pan and spread evenly. Make some effort to smooth the top as much as possible.
- bake for 45 minutes. You can cook longer if you want a drier bar.
- let cool and slice into whatever size makes you happy. I typically cut into 16 squares. According to my calcs that should work out to roughly 250 calories per square.
- Bag them, wrap them in wax paper or plastic wrap. Whatever works best for you.
Do whatever you want really. This is the great thing with making your own bars. You adjust them to suit your own tastes and digestive system. Make them sweeter, more chocolately, more coffee, add protein powder, creatine, etc. You can also alter when you add the dried fruit. If you like a chunkier texture then add the dried fruit last.
I find it takes me about 20 minutes to mix everything up and get it into the pan.
I jokingly refer to them as "bear scat brownies" cause with the seeds in them and such they look like.. yeah, you're welcome.