Happy new week, friends! As we head toward Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer, I’m not feeling dread about it like I usually would (I am not a fan of cold weather). Instead, I’m very excited because my birthday is on September 3rd and this year I’ll be spending the day before at the Watkins Glen branch of Farm Sanctuary, where I’ll get to hang out with both amazing animals and humans. I’m super excited about this! And if I might include a shameless plug here, I’m running a Facebook birthday fundraiser for the group, too. My goal is to raise $300 to help the folks at Farm Sanctuary continue to do all the amazing work they’ve been doing. If you’d care to contribute a few dollars—or share the fundraiser with others—you can do so by clicking here.
Watkins Glen is a few hours from where I live in New Jersey, so my wife and I will definitely want a few snacks for the road. That’s where today’s recipe comes in. It’s great for keeping in a bag when you travel, or grabbing on your way out the door in the morning. In fact, these Chocolate Cherry Chia Granola Bars are pretty much perfect for just about any time.
Made with a handful of really great ingredients like oats, dates and quinoa, I tried to make these have a bit of nutritional value on top of their sweet and savory goodness. They’re inspired by a bar from Kashi that I used to eat all the time: Chocolate Chip Chia Bars. Those were brittle, though, and I like my granola bars chewy. That’s why my version is softer and contains a few other whole ingredients. Like most things you buy at that store, the Kashi bars are more processed and contain almost twenty ingredients—mine contain ten.
So if you’re a granola bar fan, give these a try. I think you’ll really like them. A word of warning though: because they’re soft, you’ll want to keep them refrigerated (they’ll last for about three weeks) before eating. Also, I’m curious if you’ve ever been to one of the farm rescue sanctuaries around the country. Let me know in the comments below, and have a great week!
Chocolate Cherry Chia Granola Bars
- 2 cups rolled oats
- ½ cup quinoa uncooked
- ¼ cup chia seeds
- ½ cup dried cherries
- ½ cup cacao nibs or vegan chocolate chips
- ¼ tsp. salt
- ½ cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp. agave
- 1 tsp. coconut oil
- ½ cup pitted Medjool dates mashed
- Preheat oven to 325° F.
- Mix oats, quinoa, chia seeds, cherries, cacao nibs and salt together in a large mixing bowl until combined well.
- Stir in maple syrup, agave and coconut oil and mix.
- Add dates and stir one more time.
- Put mixture into a casserole dish (9” x 13” or 8” x 8” work well) and press down to level it out and fill the dish evenly.
- Place in oven and bake for 15 minutes.
- Cool in refrigerator for at least 1 hour.