Simple Seed Bars

All I really want in life is NUTS and SEEDS. Do you feel me?

 Simple Seed Bars. Vegan && Gluten-free. Four ingredients!

There are so many puns that can be made when it comes to one of my favorite categories of foods, but for real I really am obsessed with nuts of all kinds. I always start to say my favorite and it results in me being like, “Probably cashew. And walnuts. Oh and obviously almonds. Peanuts for the peanut butter reasons. Did I mention that I love pistachios? Wait, also….” etc.

Simple Seed Bars. Vegan and Gluten-free. Four ingredients.

So when it comes to favorites, I can’t choose one. But I can almost guarantee I’m down to put nuts in my face any time of day any day of the week. They have always been and forever will be a staple snack in my diet, as well as a lovely accompaniment to chocolate, and of course, the breadth of my beloved nut butters.

Simple Seed Bars. Vegan & Gluten-free. Four ingredients.

Whenever I’m looking for a snack bar, I always look for ones with tons of nuts. This is why Kind Bars are my favorite snack bars. What makes me sad is that Kind Bars are expensive. Yes, I buy them anyway, and no I don’t think they are bad for you despite the drama going on with them right now.

Simple Seed Bars. Vegan and Gluten-free. Four ingredients!

Moving on. Last night I set out to make my own nut bars. Except then I burst open my bag of Sunflower Seeds. There was about a cup or so left in the bag that just went all over the place. This was when I decided I should just use the rest of them before they went to poop, salvaged what I could, and set out to make Simple Seed Bars.

Simple Seed Bars. Vegan and Gluten-free. Four ingredients!

The fun thing about these bars is that you can make them two ways: baked or frozen. If you like your nuts raw, simply store them in the freezer. If you like your nuts toasty and want the bars to hold together a bit better for traveling, bake them up for 10-15 minutes. I tried both methods and honestly enjoyed them both. Make a batch and try it both ways if you dare. Or don’t. Do you.

Simple Seed Bars. Vegan & Gluten-free. Four ingredients!

Baked or frozen these babies are crunchy, nutty, and full of satisfying seedy goodness. Sweetened only with dates, they have just enough glucosey goodness to keep your sweet tooth happy without horrifying it the way Quaker Chewy Bars do to mine. These are the perfect, easy, simple snack and when paired with fruit make a brilliant breakfast. And with only four ingredients and minimal prep, they couldn’t be easier. I truly hope you make them. That’s all for now folks, hope to SEE(d) you soon. #punny

Simple Seed Bars. Vegan && Gluten-free. Four ingredients!

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes if using freezing method, but need at least 30 minutes if freezing; 10-12 minutes if using baking method
Level: easy makes one 9″ inch pan of Seed Bars, serving about 6 as a snack

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups (8 ounces) dried pitted dates, soaked in 2 tablespoons water for 10 minutes
  • 1 cup sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 cup nuts of choice (I used a mixture of cashews and pecans, any will work)
  • 3/4 cup raisins (and/or other dried fruit – I added some dried cranberries and cherries as well)

Directions:

1. Soak dates in water until tender, about 10 minutes. If using baking method to prepare, preheat oven to 350°F.

2. In a food processor, grind dates until a paste is formed.

3. In a large bowl, combine sunflower seeds, nuts, and dried fruit, Mix well. Add date puree and mix well again until a sticky dough has formed. Press dough into a parchment paper-lined 9″ inch square baking sheet.

4. Cover with an additional piece of parchment paper or plastic wrap and if using freezing method, place in the freezer to set, at least 30 minutes. If baking, place in oven for 10-12 minutes until lightly golden. Allow to cool before enjoying.

If using freezer method, keeps best if stored in freezer or refrigerator; if baking, store in an airtight bag or container.

Carrot Cake Granola

I really like carrot cake. Like, a disgusting amount. My sister knows this and ever-so-sweetly took her first attempt at vegan baking to make me this vegan carrot cake with macadamia nut frosting for my birthday. It was outstanding. I ate a lot of it.

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 Carrot cake is great because it’s a lovely “everyday” kind of cake. There are few days I’d turn it down. It’s sweet. It’s spicy. It has raisins and nuts inside. Mmm. I buy big slabs of it from a local vegan bakery (East Side Ovens) and sort of have it as a regular fixture in my refrigerator. That’s normal, right? Okay good. Noms.

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In addition to eating lots of carrot cake, I’m also very into making granola lately. It’s so quick, easy, and far less expensive and more tasty than store bought. I made this Nutty Gingerbread Granola, and then this Banana Bread Granola and this almost-a-bit ridiculous Puppy Chow Granola. Granola kick anyone? Yes I think so.

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The idea of gingerbread granola and banana bread granola and puppy chow granola got me thinking of turning other dessert-y things into granola. And while mixing carrot cake chunks and some granola into my coconut milk yogurt for dessert a few weeks ago: BAM the idea for carrot cake granola hit me.

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I made it a few times before getting it quite right. The first time I used quick cooking oats by accident because I accidentally got those instead of rolled. Pro-tip: don’t do this. Use rolled oats.

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Anyways, below is my perfected recipe for carrot cake granola. It’s spicy and sweet and crunchy and reminiscent of carrot cake in all the right ways. Full of pecans, walnuts, raisins, coconut shreds, and real carrot, it’s almost like cake for breakfast. Almost.

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Bake Time: 30 minutes
Level: Easy

makes about 4 cups granola

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (about 1 cup baby carrots or 3 large carrots)
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts
  • 3/4 cup chopped pecans
  • 3/4 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup or honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Shred carrots into a large bowl. Add oats, shredded coconut, nuts, raisins, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and salt. Mix well.

3. In a small bowl, combine coconut oil, molasses, brown sugar, and maple syrup or honey. Mix well.

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4. Pour wet mixture over dry mixture and mix until well combine. The oats should all be a little wet. Transfer to a parchment-lined or nonstick baking sheet. Place into the oven for 30-35 minutes until nuts and oats have browned. Mix once about 15 minutes into baking. When it is done, it will still be sticky. Take it out of the oven anyways. It will harden as it cools.

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