I'm a pretty active person, so I have a big appetite and need plenty of food to keep me energized throughout my day. Translation: I snack a lot. Most of the snacks I eat are things that aren't recipes like: Apples or Bananas with peanut butter, pita with hummus or toast with avocado. But, I also occasionally whip up quick snacks like my No-Bake Cookie Dough Bites and these No-Bake Chewy Cardamom Granola Bars.
These bars are SO chewy and delicious. They are filled with fiber, whole grain, protein and plenty of healthy fats. Plus, they are made from 100% whole foods. There is no refined sugar or artificial sweeteners in sight. But thats not to say these don't contain sugar. The sugar here just comes from medjool dates.
Dates v. Sugar
Speaking of dates: I love using dates as a sweetener. They have a caramel-like flavor that I absolutely love. Medjool is my favorite variety and they are pretty easy to find. But, if you can't find medjool dates, just use whichever dates you can find in the volume measurement listed in the recipe.
Dates are a great alternative to using refined sugar in some cases. They are filled with fiber, antioxidants potassium, magnesium and copper just to name a few. But, are also high in sugar. However the sugar is a part of a package that contains other benefits unlike refined sugar that just contains, well, sugar.
In this recipe, we will mash the dates to create date paste. The date paste is for sweetening the bars and for binding the granola bars together. Simply pit, and rough chop the dates and soak them in very hot water. This will soften the dates so they will easily mash with a fork. Keep in mind that if your dates are really dry you may need to extend the soaking time.
Choosing Your Seeds
Use whatever nuts or seeds you prefer in these bars. I always have pepitas and sunflower seeds and coconut flakes on hand. They are a fraction of the price of other nuts and seeds with many of the same health benefits! I like to buy all of my nuts and seeds raw and toast them as I need them. This way they stay fresher longer. Plus, some recipes call for raw seeds or nuts so I don't need to have doubles of everything. If you have these or other nuts already roasted or toasted, just skip that step in the recipe.
What is Tahini?
Tahini is like peanut butter but its made from sesame seeds. Its really common in Middle Eastern and Mediterranean cooking. I use it all the time to make tahini sauce to use as salad dressing. Tahini has a slight bitterness that pairs well with the sweet dates. And when we throw a sprinkle of ground cardamom in there, we have a classic Middle Eastern flavor combination.
These No-Bake Chewy Cardamom Granola Bars are the perfect snack to stick in your bag, car or lunchbox. They are chewy and sweet and the perfect pick-me-up whenever hunger strikes.
No-Bake Chewy Cardamom Granola Bars
- 10 Medjool Dates 1 heaping Cup (measured before chopping)
- ⅓ Cup Hot water
- ⅔ Cup Tahini Or peanut butter or almond butter will work!
- ⅓ Cup Raw Pepitas
- ⅓ Cup Raw Sunflower Seeds
- ⅓ Cup Coconut Flakes
- 2 ½ Cup Rolled Oats Not quick or instant oats!
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- ½ tsp Ground Cardamom
- 1 tsp Vanilla
- Pit and coarsly chop dates. Place in a medium bowl and use as much cover with hot water as you need to cover the dates. Let soak for about 15 minutes.
- While the dates are soaking, toast your seeds! Combine pepitas, sunflower seeds and coconut flakes in a skillet over meduim heat until the seeds are lightly toasted. About 7 minutes.
- Once dates have soaked, drain water from dates, reserving ⅓ of a cup. In a large bowl using a fork mash the dates. Add the ⅓ cup of reserved water into the dates and continue mashing until a paste has formed. It doesn't have to be perfect. A few chunks are cool!
- Add tahini to the date paste and stir to combine
- Add oats, salt vanilla cardamom and toasted seeds into the bowl with the date + tahini paste. Stir until well combined.
- Line a 9x9 pan with a parchment sling (for easy removal). Add all of the oat mixture and firmly press the mixture into the pan.
- Let the granola bars set for 2 hours before slicing into 12 bars or squares. Store in the fridge.
Let me know how you liked this recipe and if there is anything you'd like to see me make next!