Chocolate Energy Bars (Vegan, Gluten-free)

I made these energy bars last week and have been enjoying them every day since then.  I’ve been enjoying them so much that when I decided to finally share the recipe today, I realized that I had just one lonely bar left to photograph.

And by the time this post is done, that bar may also be history.  These energy bars are incredibly tasty and are chock full of nutrient-dense, healthy ingredients to keep you going during busy days.  I found them to me much more satisfying than store-bought options (sorry Lunabars!) and the ingredients won’t leave you scratching your head in wonder (soy protein isolate? palm kernel oil?).  They were so satisfying, in fact, that I think I’ll cut them into 16 squares instead of 12 next time I make them.

Because I was curious, I did a quick nutritional analysis and found that if you cut it the recipe into 12 bars, each bar will have about 230 calories.  If you cut it into 16 bars, each will have about 170.  Not that I’m advocating strict calorie counting here, but I thought this information might help you decide how hefty you want your afternoon snacks to be.  Either way, you can feel good knowing that you are getting better nutrition than what you would from a package while saving money at the same time.  Win win.

Oh, and I should mention that the secret ingredient here is black beans.  No, you can’t taste them.  Yes, they are a good idea.

Chocolate Energy Bars
adapted from the Chocolate Black Bean Happy Bars at No Meat Athlete
makes 12-16 

– 1 1/2 cups black beans (or 1 can, drained and rinsed)
– 1/2 cup almond butter
– 1/4 cup brown rice syrup (or agave)
– 1/2  banana
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 1/4 teaspoon salt
– 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
– 1.5 cups of oats
– 1/2 cup brown rice flour (I used sprouted brown rice flour)
– 1/2 cup shredded coconut
– 1/2 cup raisins or currants

1. Preheat oven to 350F.  Lightly oil an 8×8 baking dish.  Put the black beans, almond butter, rice syrup, banana, vanilla, salt, and cocoa powder into the blender.  Blend until smooth.

2. Pour mixture from blender into a large bowl and add oats, rice flour, coconut and raisins.  Mix well  to form an even dough.

3. Press dough into prepared pan and bake for 15-18 minutes.  Let cool and cut into squares.  Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
Movies: On an unrelated note, I’m going to mention a good movie that Jeremy and I watched the other day.  It’s called “Our Idiot Brother” and, yes, I know it looks corny but I watch too many movies and this was the first I’ve seen a while that that I’ve really enjoyed.  This is coming from the girl who counts “Forgetting Sarah Marshall” among her favorite movies of all time, so take the recommendation with a grain of salt.  If you want a more artsy recommendation, I’d point you towards “Melancholia” by Lars von Trier which, though intriguing and visually stunning did not leave me smiling the way I sometimes want to after a movie.

Does anyone else have any good movie recommendations?  The holidays are coming up and I made need a “safe”, family-friendly movie to watch with the folks.  Or an unsafe movie to watch at home during winter break!

* This post has been entered in this week’s Fat Tuesday at Real Food Forager, Traditional Tuesdays at Cooking Traditional Foods, Hearth and Soul Hop at Premeditated Leftovers, Frugal Days, Sustainable Ways at Frugally Sustainable, Gluten-Free Wednesdays at Gluten-Free Homemaker, Real Food Wednesday at Kelly the Kitchen Kop, and Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free.

12 thoughts on “Chocolate Energy Bars (Vegan, Gluten-free)

  1. The bars look great! I think it’s a great thing to know the calorie count options—I don’t count calories, but I bet if there were 16 bars and they lasted longer the missing calories at any given snack wouldn’t be noticed!

  2. I have made cake with black beans. I don’t go to the cinema or rent movies. I borrow from the library or buy them at yard sales. This is to say that I don’t see new or even recent movies. In case you haven’t seen them, I can recommend 3 Robin Williams movies – and don’t worry, they are not like his comedy routines (where he has a serious potty mouth). Mrs Doubtfire, Moscow on the Hudson and Patch Adams (some teary parts). My all time favourite movie is The Song Catcher. I borrowed it so often from the library that I actually bought a copy. Pretty in Pink and Flash Dance are my favourite music and dance movies.

    • Thanks for the recommendations! That’s actually a wonderful idea to revisit some old classics with family around the holidays. I’ve never heard of The Songcatcher but it looks good. One older movie that I know my dad likes to watch around Christmas is the National Lampoon Christmas Vacation. It never ceases to crack him up. Thanks again, I appreciate your movie ideas!

    • That’s a good question. The amount of rice flour in this recipe is pretty small and so I kind of feel like you can’t go wrong with any of those options. I would probably lean towards spelt since the recipe already contains a good deal of almond butter and oats. But honestly, I would just use what I had on hand in my kitchen. Good luck experimenting!

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