No-bake granola bites
I’ve conquered a lot of bad food habits in the past couple of years — Mt. Dew being my greatest victory, although learning the nature of brominated vegetable oil (a key ingredient, which notably has been banned in Europe, India, and Japan) made it much easier [ick] — but the one thing I still struggle with is potato chips.
I don’t have a healthy relationship with potato chips. I can mindlessly eat my way through most of an entire bag, long after the “full” signals have reached my brain. Everyone has their Achilles heel, right? Mine is the crunchy, calorie-empty bag of salty chips.
Part of my snack reform has meant finding satisfactory substitutes — really great tasting nibbles that banish the craving for the chip.
I recently discovered Brad’s Raw Chips, which are crunchy, savory, and intriguingly unusual … and would be a completely acceptable replacement for their potato kin if they weren’t so jaw-droppingly expensive ($7 for a 3 ounce bag).
Homemade kale chips are awesome, too, but I have yet to find a way to keep them fresh and crunchy past the first day. As much as I love them, baking kale chips every day is not really feasible.
So, I turned to the nut and seed to satisfy that need for crunch. Now, a palmful of almonds is healthy, no doubt, but it lacks a certain happy spark with every bite. Snacks should be both tasty and enjoyable, without derailing one’s overall healthy eating.
These no-bake granola bites fit the whole bill — a joy to eat, slightly crunchy, delicious. With that irresistible combination of salty-sweetness, these two-bite granola bars also have the advantage of being little energy powerhouses — a nice little pick-me-up when the 2pm munchies hit (or for a quick breakfast on the go).
And they’re a cinch to pull together: a quick blitz in the food processor and a short stint in the fridge to set them up is all that’s required.
No-bake granola bites
This recipe is very flexible: if you prefer nuts over seeds, use more nuts. Roasted or raw, your choice. If using whole nuts, you can use a bit more than 1 cup, to account for the extra airy volume that whole nuts occupy when measured (as compared with sliced or slivered, which compact in the cup).
- for the outer coating:
- 1/4 cup pistachios, shelled
- 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
- for the granola bites:
- 1/2 heaping cup nuts (your favorites – I used almonds, pistachios, and walnuts)
- 1/2 heaping cup seeds (I used sunflower, pepitas, flaxseed, chia, and hemp)
- 1 cup dried fruit (I used figs and cranberries)
- 1 tablespoon freshly grated orange zest
- 1 tablespoon honey or maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (optional)
- 2 tablespoons nut butter (use your favorite – I like almond)
- 1 big pinch of salt
- Pulverize the 1/4 cup of a pistachios in a food processor until coarsely ground (about the size of coarse salt granules). Mix with the sesame seeds in a small bowl and set aside.
- Add the other nuts and seeds to the food processor bowl, and process until roughly chopped. Add the zest, honey, cocoa powder (if using), nut butter, and salt, and continue processing until the mixture becomes cohesive: pick up about a tablespoon of the mixture with your fingers and squeeze – it should clump together and hold.
- Place a heaping tablespoon of the mixture in the palm of one hand and squeeze, then use your fingertips to work it into a tight ball. Drop the ball into the pistachio/sesame seed mixture and turn to coat.
- Repeat with the remaining mixture. Refrigerate the bites for 15 minutes to set them. Store in an airtight container.