NEVER ENOUGH GARLIC

PLANT-BASED RECIPES

CRANBERRY COCONUT PROTEIN BARS

Cranberry coconut protein bars - need we say more? Not really, but we will anyway!


These delicious protein bars are super easy to whip up and perfect to keep on hand for snacky moments and when in need of an extra boost of protein and Omega-3. Yes, vegan protein and plant-based Omega-3 exist even though both protein and Omega-3 are often associated with animal products. But no worries, there are plenty of plant-based sources of protein and Omega-3 out there, including sunflower seeds which are naturally rich in protein and flaxseeds which are chock full of Omega-3 (among other awesome benefits you can read about in the sources at the bottom of the page). 


These bars combine both sunflower seeds and flaxseeds with cranberries, most commonly known for their ability to protect against UTIs. But cranberries do much more than just aid in urinary tract health. They also have a capacity to inhibit certain ulcer-associated bacteria and reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases, and they even reduce oral diseases, including tooth decay and gum disease.


These bars are the perfect healthy treat or pre/post-workout snack, or even a quick breakfast for those busy mornings. And to up the flavour another level, we top the bars with dessicated coconut - yum!



Ingredients (makes 10 small bars):


  • 100 g (3.5 oz) oats
  • 7 dates, pitted (approx. 100 g/3.5 oz)
  • 30 g (1 oz) sunflower seeds
  • 15 g (0.5 oz) flaxseed
  • 15 g (0.5 oz) dessicated coconut
  • 20 g (0.7 oz) cranberries
  • 1 tbsp. vegan protein powder (we used hemp protein)


Instructions:


  1. Lightly roast the oats in the oven at 200oC (390°F) until golden brown, and let cool once done. (Note: This step is optional, but we feel the roasted oats add a richer flavour to the bars.) 
  2. Blend the pitted dates in a blender or food processer until smooth and creamy.
  3. In a large bowl, mix the date cream, cooled oats, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and cranberries, and stir until combined in a dough-like lump. 
  4. In a flat, rectangular dish (you can choose to cover it with baking paper or grease lightly with vegetable oil if you wish), pour out the dessicated coconut. Distribute it evenly, completely covering the bottom of the dish.
  5. Empty the dough out on top of the coconut, and flatten the dough by pressing down hard with a tablespoon or your hands. (if using your hands, make sure to grease them first!). Putting the dough on top of the dessicated coconut ensures that the coconut is pressed into the dough so that it doesn't just fall off later. If the dough isn't pressed completely flat, it will crumble when you try to cut out the bars.
  6. Let the dough cool in the fridge for approx. 30 minutes. This makes it firm enough to withstanding cutting.
  7. Cut the dough into bars while still in the dish - this works best to reduce crumbling. Carefully tip out the dough onto a cutting board or plate so the coconut side faces up. And you're done!


You can store the bars in an air-tight container in the fridge for approx. a week or freeze for later use.



References on Benefits of Sunflower Seeds, Flaxseeds, and Cranberry:


Bodet, C., Grenier, D., Chandad, F., Ofek, I., Steinberg, D., and Weiss, E. I. (2008) Potential Oral Health Benefits of Cranberry, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 48(7): 672-680. Available at: https://doi.org/10.1080/10408390701636211 (Accessed 20 September 2019). 


Leahy, M., Roderick, R., and Brilliant, K. (2001) The Cranberry-Promising Health Benefits, Old and New, Nutrition Today 36(5): 254-265. Available at: https://journals.lww.com/nutritiontodayonline/Fulltext/2001/09000/The_Cranberry_Promising_Health_Benefits,_Old_and.6.aspx (Accessed 20 September 2019). 


Shortsleeve, C. (2018) Are Sunflower Seeds Healthy? Here's What the Experts Say. Time, 17 October. Available at: https://time.com/5416869/are-sunflower-seeds-healthy/ (Accessed 19 July 2019). 


Vattem, D., Ghaedian, R., and Shetty K. (2005) Enhancing Health Benefits of Berries Through Phenolic Antioxidant Enrichment: Focus on Cranberry. Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition, 14(2): 120-130. Available at:

http://apjcn.nhri.org.tw/server../APJCN/14/2/120.pdf (Accessed 20 September 2019).


Vegan Cranberry Coconut Protein Bars
Ingredients for vegan cranberry coconut protein bars

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