Homemade Sesame Date Bars are easy to make and packed with plant-based protein from chickpeas, nuts and seeds. I love this packable snack for camping and road trips!
The sun is out and I couldn't feel more excited for summer road trips. What do you have planned?
I'm going to Sand Dunes NP for a much-needed vacation to celebrate my birthday this weekend. We're staying with two chefs who live outside the park tomorrow—they're handling the cooking. (So pretty much, thanks for the greatest bday gift ever, Airbnb!)
We'll be on our own and camping with the dogs in our tent after Thursday. Lunches and dinners will be simpler and most likely wrapped in foil. For breakfast and snacks, these easy date bars are (obviously) coming along for the ride.
I set out on a mission to create a homemade energy bar with lots of protein and other nutrients to fuel our hiking adventures. The catch? I didn't have any protein powder and I wanted to use regular pantry staples already in my kitchen.
These ingredients are simple but don't be fooled. They pack in all the protein, fats, carbs, and other good stuff you need to feel energized longer. No powders necessary.
But usually, I just add a roughly-equal mix of wet ingredients (dates, fruit, nut or seed butters, syrups) to dry ingredients (nuts, seeds, powders) and pulse in a blender or food processor. If the dough isn't sticking together enough, add something wet (more dates or tahini). Too sticky? Add more nuts or something else from the dry column.
This is how you can use my recipe to fit what's already in your kitchen with a simple swap or two. Because there are sunny skies to be had and I'm not about to send you out to the grocery store.
These Sesame Date Bars are super easy to make and packed with plant-based protein from chickpeas, nuts and seeds.
- 1 1/2 cups pitted medjool dates, soaked in water (12 ounces, 13-15 dates)
- 1 1/4 cups roasted and salted pistachios (shelled)
- 1 cup cashew halves and pieces (raw)
- 1/4 cup chickpea flour (garbanzo bean flour)
- 1/4 cup tahini (sesame seed paste)
- 2 teaspoons grated orange peel (optional)
- 2 tablespoons orange juice (1/2 medium)
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- Salt to taste
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
Drain dates from soaking water and add to food processor cup or high-speed blender container. (I used a Ninja blender.) Add pistachios, cashews, chickpea flour, tahini, orange peel, orange juice, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Cover and pulse food processor or blender 5-7 times, or until the mixture sticks together when pressed between your fingers but still has some larger pieces for texture. Pause to scrape the edges with a spatula as needed.
Transfer the mixture to a parchment-lined 8x8-inch baking dish. Use your hands, a spatula, or the back of a wooden spoon to press the mixture into the dish until the surface is smooth and flat and looks like dough. Sprinkle toasted sesame seeds on top and press again with a spatula or spoon to set the seeds into the surface of the dough.
Cover and freeze at least 30 minutes. Remove parchment paper with dough from the dish and transfer to a cutting board. Slice into 16 squares (or as desired for serving).
To soak dates: Add dates to a large bowl and cover with water. Rest on the counter (or in the fridge) at least 5 minutes, or until dates are softened. Drain and discard soaking water.
Store bars in the fridge or freezer.
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