In which Basil makes energy bars

No Meat Athlete

My favorite cookbook at the moment.

Wooot! Baptizing the blog! Borage is off to an appointment, and before she left, I asked, “Is it okay with you if I write in our blog? I made energy bars! I think it would make a good first post.” She said to go for it, so here I go!

This morning I made energy bars using my favorite recipe from Matt Frazier, who wrote No Meat Athlete. I aspire to eat a fully plant-based diet, and with books like this, I’m doing pretty well. I highly recommend it. The soups are delicious, and these energy bars are amazing.

You don’t have to buy the book to try the bars, though, the whole recipe is online: The Ultimate Energy Bar Formula. The recipe consists of:

  • beans
  • binder
  • sweetener
  • soft fruit
  • extract
  • dry spice
  • oats
  • dry base
  • stir-ins

Here are my notes on those:

Beans
I’ve used white beans, cannellini, navy, and pinto, and they’re all very good. I don’t notice any bean flavor in the finished bar.

Binder
Peanut butter contributes a definite peanut-y taste, which I loved, but some might not. Cashew butter has a delicious and mild flavor, but it costs significantly more than peanut butter. I haven’t tried almond butter yet, but I bet that’s also delicious. In the most recent batch, I used pureed pumpkin, which made my pumpkin-hating husband turn up his nose, but my kids and I couldn’t taste much of a difference.

Sweetener
I have used up the last of our agave and won’t be buying more. So next time we’ll likely go with maple syrup or honey.

Soft Fruit
We’ve gone with a banana every time. I use a whole one, even though the recipe calls for half. What am I going to do with half a banana? I know, I know; eat it. But I used half for the first batch of these, and a whole banana for the second, and didn’t notice any difference, so now I just throw in the whole banana.

Extract
Vanilla is great, but almond is best! For some reason, almond just makes them smell and taste more like cookies.

Dry Spice
I use a little bit of cinnamon every time, but I also put in a whole teaspoon of cardamom, because I just love that stuff. I keep my spices in my own jars, and the cardamom jar doesn’t even have the name written on it, it just has a big heart drawn on. I know what’s in there.

Oats
I use Bob’s Red Mill Gluten-Free Oats.

Dry Base
Here is where you can put in protein powders. I was using Spiru-Tein for awhile, but I’ve come to wonder about the safety of soy protein isolate, and so I’ve switched over to using Vega. Another favorite powder, although I haven’t tried it in this recipe yet, is Garden of Life’s RAW.

Stir-Ins
Oddly enough, I haven’t stirred anything in, yet. I keep meaning to get some dried fruit and try that, but I never do. And yet, they still come out delicious. When I finally buy some raisins or cherries or something, I’ll update this post.

And that’s it. Put it all together, add the oats and protein powder at the end, and add a little water if it’s too thick. You want to be able to spread it out in a pan. I’ve had some batches come out a little bit too thick – you want them on the thinner side, less than a half-inch thick, otherwise it’s hard to bake them all the way through without burning the bottom.

I use them for breakfasts, snacks, and especially as travel food when I have to run errands for a few hours and I know I won’t be able to stop and get healthy food. Both my kids love these bars.

Basil makes energy bars

In the Cuisinart! This is what it looks like before it all gets whirred together. A little strange-looking, yes?

Basil's energy bars

The finished, delicious bars! I cut them up, put them in a Glass Lock container, and stick them in the fridge.