We love when we can combine things that taste good into something that is actually good for us. This creates a no-guilt situation which you simply must capitalize on every chance that you get.
These oat bars are packed with all the superfoods you hear about on TV, but have no clue what to do with when it actually comes to making something with them. They are a friendly introduction to utilizing and eating nutritional powerhouses like cacao nibs and chia seeds.
Ok, this is your warning guys… we’re about to nerd out on the nutritional benefits of eating these things for a bit here! Feel free to skip ahead to the recipe if you want to!
Chia seeds are a source of fibre, omega-3 fatty acids, calcium, manganese, phosphorus, and protein. They’ve also been shown to decrease belly fat by fighting insulin resistance, and to be a potential natural treatment for type-2 diabetes because of their ability to slow down digestion. Here’s a great article if you’d like to read more.
Cacao nibs are a source of magnesium, fibre, iron, antioxidants, phenylethylamine (PEA), anandamide, theobromine, and contain mood boosters that act on the neurotransmitters in your brain. Some of those nutrients are a mouthful, but if you’d like to read up on the benefits a bit more we’ve included a link to a great article here.
What we really love about these bars though, is that they come together in a snap and don’t require us to turn on the oven. When you can just pour a bunch of ingredients into a bowl and come up with something that tastes fantastic- we’re sold. The chocolate topping requires a bit more effort, but if you’re feeling really lazy, they would still be fantastic without it!
We used 72% dark chocolate which added the perfect sweetness to the finished product, and offset the flaky sea salt that we sprinkled on top.
And guess what? The chocolate coating is the only source of sugar in this recipe. All the sweetness for these bars comes from maple syrup which is a definite plus in our books. It makes these bars the perfect anytime bar- pre-workout, post-workout, breakfast on the go, camping treat, hiking snack, you name it! These bars will leave you feeling satisfied and ready to tackle whatever life throws at you!
Go bake. Actually…go chill things in the fridge! ?
No-Bake Almond Butter Oat Bars with Cranberries and Chia Seeds
1 cup (256 g) smooth, unsalted almond butter
1/2 cup maple syrup
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 1/2 cups (226 g) old-fashioned oats*
1/2 cup (48 g) sliced almonds
1/2 cup (62 g) dried cranberries
1/4 cup (41 g) chia seeds
1/4 cup (28 g) cacao nibs
3/4 cup (106 g) dark chocolate, chopped (we used 72%)
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Flaky sea salt for sprinkling on top (We used the Maldon brand)
- In a large bowl, stir together the almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla and salt until smooth. Set aside.
- Place the oats into a large pan over medium heat and toast until golden and fragran, stirring frequently, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, and the oats to the bowl with the almond butter mixture in it. Wipe out the skillet and add the almonds, toasting over medium heat and stirring frequently until golden, about 2-3 minutes.
- Add the almond, cranberries, chia seeds, and cocoa nibs to the bowl with the oat/almond butter mixture. Fold the mixture until well combined.
- Line an 8-inch square pan with a sling of tinfoil, leaving an overhang on each side to use as handles when removing the finished bars. Scrape the oat mixture into the pan and press down firmly with the back of a large spoon or damp hands to pack the mixture down into an even layer.
- To make the topping, place the coconut oil and chocolate in a small, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave in 20-25 second increments, stirring after each session, until the chocolate is melted and smooth. Pour the melted chocolate over the bars, spreading to the edges to coat evenly. Sprinkle the top with a few pinches of flaky salt and leftover cacao nibs.
- Transfer the bars to the refrigerator and chil until firm, at least 2 hours and up to 1 day. Gently lift the bars out of the pan using the tinfoil sling, and using a sharp knife, cut the bars into squares.
* To make t his recipe completely gluten-free, make sure you use gluten-free oats.
Inspired by this recipe.