I made these energy bars to feed to my friends and family that are helped me move this weekend. As it turned out, I didn't end up feeding these snacks to them at all, and instead I still have a bunch in my fridge, which is okay, because I am really pleased with how they turned out! They are chewy, not too sweet, and make a great little snack. I really like them pulled out of the refrigerator, but they are also great room temperature. The mesquite flour (my new favorite ingredient) adds a delicious sweet and spicy flavor that combines well with the tartness of the goji berries! Plus, they are full of vitamin C - goji berries, mesquite flower, and vitamin C flour combine to provide a whole lot of immunity boosting nutrition.
Next time I think I will add more sunflower seeds for extra crunch, and a scoop or two of rice protein powder to increase the protein content and make these bars lower glycemic. Using a crunchy crisped rice cereal would add some great texture. As I brainstormed on this recipe, I think there are lots of options for making variations, see some of my ideas below. I plan on making lots of tweaks and variations of this recipe, so stay tuned...
GOJI SUNFLOWER MESQUITE ENERGY BARS...AND VARIATIONS! (gluten free, vegan)
yield: 16 approx. 1"x4" bars
3 c gluten free puffed or crisped cereal (I used puffed millet, feel free to try using puffed amaranth, puffed or crisped rice, any other puffed/crispy cereal, like Perky's Nutty Flax or Nutty Rice)
3 T chia seed
1/2 c sunflower seeds, toasted (or other seed/chopped nut)
3 T goji berries, lightly chopped (or other dried fruit)
1/4 t sea salt
1/4 c + 3 T brown rice syrup
1 T sunflower oil (or other oil)
3 T mesquite flour
optional, for extra vitamins!: 1/4 tsp vitamin C crystals
- Place cereal in a large bowl.
- Warm brown rice syrup and sunflower oil together over low heat, whisking until mixed. Remove from heat. NOTE: if using flax oil, warm brown rice syrup alone, remove from, then stir in flax oil. Flax oil should never be directly heated.
- Quickly add mesquite flour, salt, vitamin C crystals, and any additional spices to warm syrup/oil mixture, and stir until well combined. Work quickly, mixture coats cereal and other ingredients best when still warm.
- Pour warm mixture over cereal, and stir a few times to coat cereal. Add goji berries, chia seeds, toasted and sunflower seeds in batches, and continue stirring until evenly mixed.
- Transfer cereal mixture into prepared 8x8 or 9x9 pan. Spread evenly across surface of pan, then press mixture firmly until smooth and even.
- Place in refrigerator to chill, for 1-2 hours. Slice into bars of desired size.
- Wrap bars tightly or transfer to airtight container. Stores best in the refrigerator.
Approximate nutritional information/bar (yield 16 bars): 100 cal, 3.5 g fat, 14 g carb, 8 g sugar, 1.5 g fiber, 2 g protein
Don't eat nuts or seeds? Can't eat fruit? Require a higher protein bar? Want to mix up the flavors? Great! Feel free to swap out ingredients to fit your tastes, desires, and restrictions. Here's a few ideas to get you going! I'd love to hear how you make this recipe your own.
- pumpkin seeds, currants, pumpkin seed oil, ginger
- dates, shredded coconut, coconut oil
- pecans, dried cranberries, cinnamon
- almonds, dried blueberries
- cashews, coconut, coconut oil
- hemp seeds, hemp oil, dried apricots
- flax seed, flax oil, dried apple, cinnamon
- minced figs, orange zest, walnuts
- omit mesquite flour, and add cashews, lemon zest, vanilla extract, and cardamom
- Alternate your sweeteners, and use agave, honey, maple syrup or molasses as your body can tolerate. NOTE: a runnier sweetener like maple syrup may require different quantities than a thicker one like brown rice syrup.
- lower fat: omit oil, add additional 1 T of rice syrup
- high fiber: add rice bran, and/or extra flax or chia. Use ground flax for easiest assimilation.
- lower carb/sugar: substitute additional nuts/seeds for a portion of dried cereal and either all or some of the dried fruit. Omit or use less mesquite flour (5 g sugar/tablespoon).
- lower GI: follow suggestions for lower carb/sugar. Substitute all or a portion of the brown rice syrup with agave nectar, which has a lower glycemic index.
- higher protein: Add more nuts/seeds in place of fruit/cereal. Add protein powder (rice, hemp, soy, etc) for all or some of the mesquite flour. For added flavor, include additional spices like ginger, cinnamon, clove, nutmeg, cardamom, or allspice.