Creating a nutrient-dense, delicious energy bar
This month I started a new yoga program and realized I needed to make some nutrient-dense snacks to take with me. I remembered Jessica Porter’s classic recipe for Crispy Brown Rice Bars (a healthy, macrobiotic version of Rice Crispy Treats), but wanted to add some extra goodies to make them more hearty:
- pumpkin seeds or pepitas (high in potassium, iron, magnesium, and zinc)
- unhulled sesame seeds (high in copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, and more)
- dulse flakes (high in iodine, protein, Vitamins B6 & B12, and more)
- almond butter (high in protein, fat, magnesium, calcium, and potassium)
These healthy, mineral-rich energy bars are a great post-workout snack and help to boost the thyroid, build bone density, and increase minerals in the diet.
Choosing the right brand of brown rice syrup makes a difference
Make an effort to find the special brown rice syrup I recommend in the recipe— Suzanne’s Specialties Genmai Rice Nectar. It is available online and in various natural foods stores. I used to be able to buy it in Austin but now I have to order online.
Suzanne’s brand is much more clean tasting and delicious than other brown rice syrups (such as the Lundberg brand which is more bitter), as it is made through natural fermentation rather than a chemical process.
You could try making this recipe with another sweetener, but you may need to adjust the other ingredients due to viscosity and sweetness (honey is much sweeter and maple syrup may be a little too thin to hold the bar together).
- ½ cup organic brown rice syrup (Suzanne’s Specialties Genmai Rice Nectar recommmended)
- ⅓ cup organic almond butter
- a few grinds Himalayan sea salt or a large pinch sea salt
- 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil (optional)
- 1½ cups crispy brown rice cereal (One Degree or Erewhon brands recommended)
- ½ cup organic green pumpkin seeds (pepitas), toasted
- ¼ cup organic raisins
- 1 tablespoon dulse flakes
- 1 tablespoon unhulled sesame seeds, toasted
- 1 piece parchment paper
- In heavy-bottomed saucepan, heat brown rice syrup, almond butter, and salt over low to medium heat until bubbly and well combined. Remove from heat and stir in coconut oil if the mixture is too thick (depends on the brand of syrup you use).
- Add cereal, pepeitas, raisins, and dulse flakes to the almond butter mixture and fold in until well combined using a heat-proof rubber spatula or wooden spoon coated with a little coconut oil.
- Lay piece of parchment paper on a flat surface (large cutting board or countertop).
- When mixture has cooled to the point you can handle it without getting burned, and turn mixture onto parchment paper. Moisten fingertips with a little water, and press down into an even layer, about ½-inch thick. Sprinkle evenly with sesame seeds and lightly press down.
- Using a sharp chef knife, cut into bars or squares.
- Store in an airtight container at room temperature for a few days or refrigerate if storing more than a few days.
Be creative and try different combinations with what you have on hand. Some other ideas for add-ins to replace pepitas, raisins, dulse, and sesame seeds: sunflower seeds, macadamia nuts, coconut flakes, slivered almonds, candied ginger, or chocolate chips (freeze ahead and make sure mixture is cool before pressing into the bars). You could also try tahini (sesame butter) in place of almond butter.
Interested in learning more? I offer cooking classes on demand at my home or yours in the Austin area.
And please drop me a line to let me know how your bars came out!