I first heard of Matt Frazier “The No Meat Athlete” on the Rich Roll Podcast last week. The guy is basically an average Joe that decided he wanted to qualify for the Boston Marathon. Along the way he became vegan and blogged the entire process. He has a new book out as well, but the recipes I posted last week (humus and the granola bars) were the things that caught my eye the most. I decided to try out a good homemade health bar recipe and I think these are it for me!
The recipe is a bit more complicated than the Apple Pie Caveman Bars because it has some cooking and multiple steps. You have to combine and mix all the grains and then bake for 10 minutes in the oven. You have to heat up the peanut butter (or almond butter in my case) to make it thin enough to mix in. You have to boil the brown rice syrup to make it thicker so that it holds the bars together. Lastly you have to cook the bars for 15 minutes so that it all comes together. These steps aren’t complicated by any means but it is still not as simple as just throwing everything into a food processor and then putting in the fridge.
The directions for the recipe on the linked site are really good. I was able to follow the steps pretty clearly. If I hadn’t changed up any of the ingredients it would have been a one for one match. The changes I made weren’t too dramatic, but different enough that I had to switch things around. I swapped out the flax seeds for ground flax meal, which means I used 1/3 a cup rather than 1/2 a cup. I have flax meal for other reasons so I didn’t see the reason to go get some seeds. I didn’t think the seeds digested very well anyway, so this lets me get some more of the nutrients. Flax seeds are high in omega-3’s, which would be great except I don’t know how much the heat of the cooking obliterated them. I’m not a huge fan of dried cherries so I swapped those out for half raisins and half crasins, but in the exact same volume. I also have tons of maple syrup so swapped out the brown rice syrup for that. Lastly, rather than buy hemp seeds I have a big back of a mix of chia seeds, hemp seeds and some other ingredients called “Qia Superfood.” If I start running out of that because Costco stops stocking it, then I’d probably go with a mix of chia and hemp seeds. No worries, if you are buying hemp seeds from a reputable source they are processed so that you won’t fail any drug tests. If you ever have any doubts, then check the Test Pledge website to make sure your products are listed there.
The taste of the bars is amazing, and I think they hold together really well. These are as brittle as your typical granola bars so if you are expecting something with all the form and solidness of a Kashi Go Lean Crunch or Nature Valley Protein bar, then you will be disappointed. Compared to those bars the nutrient profile is great. It has about 40 more calories than the above bars do. It still has a great balance of carbs, protein and fats. For me that’s important for feeling full after eating something. The vitamins and minerals profile is a lot better except for the B-vitamins that the commercial bars are fortified with. My favorite part though is that I know exactly what is in it, and it doesn’t include corn syrup, preservatives or god knows what else. The pictures on the website are better than mine, but I figured I’d show you what the sheet of bars looked like right before cutting–very delicious.
Thanks for the great recipe guys (and it’s vegan to boot)!