Here’s a recipe I made for the 10-Day Energy-Boosting Meal Plan that got cut—not because it wasn’t delicious, but because it didn’t align with the goal of making meal prep a breeze. These apricot bars do take a good chunk of inactive time, but prepping them is actually pretty quick, so if you plan on spending a rainy day at home, these are perfect for tossing in the oven while you get cozy on the couch with some tea.
These bars are packed with energy-boosting ingredients like pumpkin seeds and hemp hearts, and aren’t as loaded with sugar as the granola bars you get from the store. They also happen to be grain-free, taking advantage of the seeds’ monounsaturated fats that give slow-release energy for more fuel between meals.
It’s important to use unsweetened dried fruit. Natural sugar is fine, but you want to avoid those that have added sugar by being sweetened in apple juice, for example. The fruit is just sweet enough on its own. If apricots or raisins aren’t your jam, feel free to experiment with other dried fruits like cranberries and cherries. Just make sure they’re similar consistency; things like dried apple or mango won’t provide the same results.
Pumpkin seeds contain B vitamins necessary to metabolize the energy supplied by carbs, protein, and fat, as well as nutrients that support energy production in the body like phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and copper.
Hemp hearts are the shelled portion of the hemp seed, and are much softer than the seed itself. Make sure you use the hearts, the full seed is quite hard and not easy to chew. The best price I’ve found for them so far, and the most accessible place, is at Trader Joe’s. These contain important omega-3 fatty acids and are anti-inflammatory. Paired with pumpkin seeds, both are a good source of protein as well.
Let’s get to it!!
- ½ cup dried apricots
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
- ¼ cup + 2 tbsp fresh orange juice (about 1 large orange)
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- Pinch of salt
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 2 tsp coconut sugar
- 1 tsp grated fresh ginger
- ½ cup golden raisins (or dried cranberries/cherries)
- 3 tbsp hemp hearts
- Soak dried apricots in a bowl of hot water for 15 minutes.
- Soak chia seeds in orange juice in a separate bowl and set aside to gel for at least 5 minutes.
- Place apricots and 3 tablespoons of their soaking water in a food processor and pulse until a paste forms, you may need to scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula. Add half the pumpkin seeds and pulse a few more times until seeds are chopped up.
- Place in a bowl and add gelled chia seeds and remaining ingredients. Mix well, and spread evenly on the bottom of an 8” square pan lined with parchment paper. (Alternatively, use a baking sheet and form into a square shape — they don’t have to be perfect.) Freeze until firm, then pull parchment out of the pan and place on a baking sheet. Using a large knife or a bench scraper, slice into 8 bars.
- Preheat oven to 200° and dehydrate bars for 2-3 hours. Bars should be well held together but pliable. Let cool.
- Store in an airtight container in the fridge.