A few weeks ago I realized I needed an easy snack to take with me to the gym.  Granola bars came to mind and I searched through the aisles at the grocery store trying to find something mildly healthy with protein.  It was surprising how many of the bars contained an extraordinary amount of sugar and oil.

I decided I could do better and indeed I think I did.  I came across a recipe on have cake, will travel that intrigued me.  The bars were made of dried fruit and oats as well as ground chick peas.  Now I know what you are thinking (yuck right?), but trust me the final product tastes nothing like chick peas at all and is surprisingly sweet given very little sugar.  They are healthy and really fill you up when you are hungry.

I adapted the recipe only slightly, but I think this recipe could be varied in many different ways.  These bars keep well in the fridge and can easily be individually frozen.  They are not a crunchy granola bar, but a soft chewy one so keeping them in the fridge is best.  I hope you try them.

Healthy Granola Bars

(adapted from have cake, will travel)

  • 1 Tbs. of ground flax seed (if you can’t find ground then just pulse the seeds in the food processor)
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 1 can of chick peas drained and thoroughly rinsed
  • 1 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 2 tsp. cinnamon, divided
  • 1/2 cup natural, unsweetened nut or seed butter (I used almond)
  • 1/4 cup of liquid sweetner (honey, agave nectar or maple syrup)
  • 3 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 cup puffed cereal (I used spelt but you could use rice, kamut, etc.)
  • 1 1/2 cups oats
  • 1 cup chopped dried fruit (I used cranberries, cherries and dates)

Preheat the oven to 375*C.

If you have a food processor, put your flax seeds in and pulse them if they are not already ground.  Then add the warm water and let it sit for a while (10 min) until it thickens.

Meanwhile, dry your chick peas off by dotting them with a towel.  Toss them with the brown sugar and 1 tsp. of cinnamon.  Put them on a baking sheet and put them in the oven for 15 minutes.  Stir them around about half way through.  Note that chick peas toasted this way actually make a pleasant snack just like this.

Add to the food processor your liquid sweetner of choice, nut or seed butter and olive oil.  Give it a whirl.  If you don’t have a food processor all of this can be done by hand with vigorous mixing.  Add the chick peas and grind them (this could also be done with the back of a fork).

Transfer the mixture to a large bowl and add the remaining ingredients.  Don’t forget the remaining tsp. of cinnamon.  Press into a square 8 inch baking pan and refrigerate for at least two hours.  Cut into squares and wrap them individually in plastic wrap or foil so that you can easily pop them into your bag for the road.