These no-bake bars are super-easy to make and a more nutritious option than manufactured energy bars. Dates provide three different types of sugar – glucose, fructose and sucrose – which are perfect for fuelling high-intensity activities longer than an hour. Nuts add extra fibre and unsaturated fats, which gives a mores sustained release of energy instead of a quick hit. The addition of almonds produces a bar with a softer texture.
PREP TIME: 10 minutes
1. 100g (3 oz) ground almonds
2. 125g (4 oz) ready-to-eat soft or Medjool dates (or use standard dried dates soaked in boiling water for 10–15 minutes, then drained)
3. 1 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
4. 1 tsp vanilla extract
(Makes 8 bars)
Place the almonds, dates, cacao or cocoa powder and vanilla extract in a food processor or high-power blender and blend for about one minute until crumbly and evenly combined. You may need to stop the motor and scrape down the edges of the bowl once or twice. Add 2–3 tablespoons water if the dates are quite hard and don’t break down readily. Continue processing for another 1–2 minutes until the ingredients clump together to form a ball. Turn the sticky ball out of the processor and press or roll between two sheets of baking parchment or clingfilm to a 1 cm thickness. Alternatively, press into an 18 x 18 cm baking tin lined with clingfilm. Refrigerate for one hour or so until firm, then peel off the parchment and cut into bars, approximately 10 x 2 cm. Wrap in clingfilm or foil. The bars will keep in the fridge for up to two weeks or in the freezer for up to three months.
Pimp your energy bars with these ingredient combos
Date and Cashew Bars: 100g (3 oz) cashew nuts, 125g (4 oz) ready-to-eat soft or Medjool dates, a pinch of salt
Peanut Bars: 75g (3 oz) peanuts, 125g (4 oz) ready-to-eat soft or Medjool, 25g (1 oz) smooth peanut butter)
Cocoa Coconut Bars: 125 g (4 oz) ready-to-eat soft or Medjool dates, 50 g (2 oz) cashews, 40 g (1 oz) raisins, 40 g (1 oz) desiccated coconut, 1 tbsp cacao or cocoa powder
Pecan Pie Bars: 125g (4 oz) ready-to-eat soft or Medjool dates, 50g (2 oz) pecans, 50g (2 oz) ground almonds
Extracted from Vegetarian Meals in 30 Minutes by Anita Bean. Published by Bloomsbury Sport, £16.99.