Raise your hand if the thought of vegan food turns your stomach. What about raw food? Well, have I got a surprise in store for you. I just made THE BEST raw, vegan, Paleo, gluten-free food bar that I have ever tasted! So, of course, I wanna share it with you! If you’ve ever had, or heard of, a Larabar, you know they are yummy little food bars made of dates, nuts, and fruit. I started eating Larabars when I decided to go Paleo. If you don’t know what paleo is, then check out the wiki. What I liked about the original Larabar recipes was that they were completely paleo and tasted yummy. Unlike many protein bars or other food bars, they were also raw and some were vegan. They had no added sugar (only the natural sugars found in the fruits they are made of), no GMO’s, and no preservatives. Oh, and if you are wondering what I mean by raw, it means they do not require cooking. It’s just the whole foods blended together to create the bars.
Well, I decided I needed to try my own hand at making a great Paleo recipe that I liked. The only negative thing I have to say about real Larabars is the overwhelming tang I get from the dates. It’s not bad, but to me, it just seems really strong. Plus, I love chocolate. I have never, ever seen a chocolate Larabar. Maybe they exist but not in my neck of the woods, and I really don’t want to order them online when I can try making my own. So that’s what I did last night. I made some fudgey, chocolatey food bars…and then I tested them out on my co-workers (who loved them)!
This is a great recipe for kids to help you with too! If you want your little ones to brush up on their measuring and recipe making skills, why not check out some culinary activities over on Camperoo!
First, gather your ingredients! You’ll need:
- 1 cup walnuts (peanuts and cashews taste great too!)
- 1 and 1/3 cups pitted dates (SunMaid is typically a softer date and easier to blend)
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract (why not use homemade extract! Lookout for a post on how to make your own, coming soon)
- 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder (regular or Dutch Process – I used Dutch Process)
- optional: 1/8 plus 1/16 tsp kosher salt (I love kosher salt, and it pairs nicely with chocolate)
- optional: chocolate chips. Really, it’s not an option for me. THEY GO IN IT! If you are trying to stay vegan/Paleo/gluten-free I suggest using The Good Life brand.
Now, toss everything except the chocolate chips, if you used them, in your blender/food processor/ magic bullet and blend away! On a side note, as you can see, I used my magic bullet and it was a tight fit trying to get everything in in one go, I had to separate my mixture into 2 batches so that everything blended nicely. I would highly suggest using a blender or food processor as they are larger and the food really can blend together a little better in the bigger space. If you find that your mixture is a little dry, add a tsp or two of water but not more than that.
Now dump out your blended mixture into a bowl and pour in the chocolate chips. I used about a cup. I like chocolate, a lot. Blend the mixture and chips with a fork, or your hands, until the chips seem to be integrated well.
Now, dump out your blended mixture onto a piece of plastic wrap and wrap it from all sides. Not too tight as you will want some room for it to expand. Now press evenly all around with your hands until it flattens out to about a half inch to an inch thick. Unwrap and flatten some more if you so desire.
Unwrap and flip your food bar onto a cutting board and slice. I had enough to slice mine into 6 sections. Yours may be more or less depending on how thin or thick you flattened it.
Finish off by wrapping each bar in some wax paper and storing in a plastic bag. Oh, and try not to devour them all in one sitting. They are only healthy for you if you don’t eat them all at once!
I really hope you have enjoyed reading, making, and eating these babies! If you did, why not give it a pin on Pinterest or share it with your friends on Facebook? Oh, and if you do make them, leave a comment below and let me know what you thought!