Dehydrator Free Raw Vegan Energy Bars
August 9, 2010

For a good while now, I’ve been meaning to create a homemade raw, vegan energy bar. My primary motivation is economic: this is going to be a lean autumn, and I can no longer afford to drop $$ on Larabars and Lydia’s buckwheat bars (even though I love them both, and would buy them by the bushel if I could afford to). Another motive is culinary: I like challenging myself to new things in the kitchen, and I’ve never really tried a bar recipe before, raw or cooked!

My main motive, though, is the simple fact that I’m a tough customer. I have various dissatisfactions with most of the raw/vegan snack bars I’ve purchased–even ones that I like. Lydias, are heavenly, but they’re outrageously expensive. Larabars taste incredible, and I love munching on them along with a salad or other meal components, but they seem to offer me very little in the satiety department. Raw Revolution bars are great, and they’re calorically dense enough to keep me full, but I find them (and Larabars, for that matter) to be a little sugary.  Sigh. I know I’m a tough critic, but couldn’t someone give me a bar that’s inexpensive, tasty, not too sweet, and also filling?

Last week, when it occurred to me that I might create such a snack for myself, I set out to make my first raw snack bar. For a first try, it was a winner! It isn’t perfect, and I imagine it’ll go through some tweaks in the coming months, but it’s super easy, pretty tasty and satisfies the criteria above. I finally have a homemade snack option that I really like, and that offers me a little financial relief.

Since nuts and dried fruit don’t tend to fill me up the way whole grains do, I used a buckwheat+seed base, and added some raisins and maple syrup for sweetness. With a little ground flax, the bar held together nicely, and here’s the best part: it’s dehydrator free. I used my dehydrator to speed along the drying process, but these bars will definitely set up in the fridge (I tested this theory with a double batch) which means that those of you without dehydrators can toast the buckwheat groats in the oven and then make the bars, too. Cheap, quick, and easy: what’s not to like?

Raw, Vegan Energy Bars (Yields 14)

2 cups soaked and dehydrated buckwheat (instructions here) OR, if you don’t have a dehydrator, use 2 cups of soaked and oven toasted buckwheat
1/2 cup raisins, chopped
1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds
6 tbsp maple syrup, brown rice syrup, or agave nectar
3 tbsp ground flax seed
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
2 tbsp coconut oil

1) Mix all ingredients together until evenly coated and distributed.

2) Press mix down in a pan (my baking dish was oddly shaped: 7 x 11), and cover the top tightly with a layer of tin foil. Place in the fridge for an hour, and then cut the dough into bars (you should be able to get 10-14, depending on your pan).

Continue to refrigerate for another few hours, and then serve!

Dehydrator option: If you want these to be super crunchy, or you’d like to speed the process along, dehydrate them at 115 degrees for three hours, stopping midway to cut them into bar shapes: they’ll be warm and very crispy when you’re done.

3) Separate the bars and wrap them tightly. Store in the fridge and freezer till you’re ready to use.


I’ve now got seven of these in the freezer and seven in my fridge, and I look forward to grabbing them for snacks on the go!

Though I don’t usually do nutritional calculations for my recipes, I did want to show you how nicely balanced these guys are. Checkit:

Kcal: 207
Fat: 10.21 grams
Protein: 6.64 grams (double some Larabars!)
Carbs: 27.21 grams
Sugar: 8.92 grams
Sodium: 23.64 grams
Fiber: 3.3 grams

Not bad, eh?

I’ve already snacked on these twice, and I found them pleasantly sating. I think the whole grain+seed combo is key. In any case, you’ll tell me! Let me know if you try this recipe out, and whether or not it’s a hit.

And aside from that, I hope your weeks are off to a great start.

xo

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    69 Comments
  1. As soon as finals are over I am making these! I hate how much money I drop on raw energy bars. Gopals are great, but four dollars for each one? And totally agree: Raw Revolution bars are waaaay too sweet. Also: I have a ridiculous amount of buckwheat. ‘Nough said I think. Thanks for this recipe!

  2. Like some of the others, my came out very crumbly, although delicious. They won’t go to waste! I accidentally bought Bob’s red mill buckwheat cereal instead of the groats. Not sure if that made a difference. I will definitely try adding more sweetner and flax. Thanks!

  3. I was wondering, since you were saying that this would be a big money saver, did you ever calculate out how much they actually cost to make per bar (the way you did the nutritional info)? I thought that would be helpful to know. Thanks!

  4. I made the bars tonight! They are so tasty and my roomies keep commenting on how good they smell haha. However, they keep falling apart on me so I’m eating it almost like granola.
    Do you know why this would be happening?? I didn’t add coconut oil cuz it’s expensive. Would this be why? Or any other suggestions for making them stickier.
    Thanks!

  5. Thanks for the recipe! I used it as a base recipe, and made a few variations and they turned out lovely! Since I didn’t have enough agave or raw honey, I made a date and coconut sweetener, but it turned out a bit watery, so I only used a bit (and now it works as a Delicous desert topping 🙂 and added a little carob. It turned out fantastic and I dehydrated it into granola.

    Thank you!

  6. I’m in love with this and trying to perfect in my kitchen. As other commenters, the first time I tried to make the bars they didn’t stay in bars, so I crumbled the mixture up and presto – granola. So the second time, I made it meaning to make granola, put into mason jars – and it all stuck together and I had to dig out with a knife every time I made breakfast. Of course, I didn’t measure the second time, so I’m sure it was just a matter of more maple syrup and more flaxseeds. Third time perfect? We’ll see…

  7. So I followed the soaking/drying (oven) instructions for the buckwheat but after taking it out of the oven there are these little gelatinous bits throughout. Does this mean I didn’t soak/dry the buckwheat properly and if so, is there anyway for me to salvage the buckwheat?

  8. I made these and they taste great but mine disintegrated into a crumbly mass. I’ve added them to my buckwheat granola rather than try to eat them as bars. I used 5-6 TBS of date paste/ syrup rather than agave/ maple syrup – maybe that was the problem…?

  9. Hey Gena. How long do you think these will last out of the freezer? I’d like to make a batch of these to take on my upcoming trip to NYC but that would require them being out of the fridge for 5ish hours.

    • oh god, they’ll last ages. I carried two around in a hot bag all weekend, and only ate one, and the other is still good.

  10. I guess I should have read all the comments before I left mine. Oops! I agree that it makes a nice topping for yogurt, oatmeal, etc. 🙂

  11. I just made these today and while the flavor is fantastic they will totally not form bars. They are all crumbly. Any thoughts where I could have gone wrong?

  12. Thanks so much for the recipe – I’m very excited to give it a try! I just bought some Chunky Cherry Bumble Bars for the first time last week and loved them so much I was going to try and make some at home… these seem a bit more filling and with maple syrup instead of agave, will probably be less sweet.

  13. Hey Gena, I’ve recently become obsessed with Kaia Foods buckwheat granola (http://kaiafoods.com/about.html) but since it costs almost $10 a bag, I thought these bars would be the next best thing! I used the oven method for drying out the buckwheat, which worked fine (@ 250 deg for ~90 mins). I halved the recipe because I didn’t want too many bars and I tossed all the ingredients together (using agave as the sweetener). I pressed them into a silicone loaf pan, put a layer of tin foil on top, then placed another metal loaf pan inside, pressing the mixture down. I refridgerated overnight.

    Here’s where things fell apart (literally)… the bars did not hold together whatsoever.

    On the plus side, I didn’t mind because now it’s more like the granola I love and I can just add small amounts to my yogurt, cereal, fruit, etc. Taste-wise, I loved the mix! But as far as creating a portable bar is concerned, that did not happen.

    So, I give this a 9 out of 10 🙂 Thanks for sharing!

    • What a giant bummer! Sorry guys.

      I’m going to say you need more flax and one tbsp more sweetener. I’ll adjust the recipe in the post. Mine worked, but two fails is a bad sign.

    • Ditto. I made mine with maple syrup and it didn’t hold together. I made the bars by hand at the end and they are sitting in the freezer now.

  14. So true that Larabars and Lydia’s are pricey, I feel guilty spending so much on them. These look wonderful and I love that I have most of the ingredients for them and must try making for hubby, who frequently leaves the house without breakfast. Thanks!

  15. These look awesome! However, I’m one of those people that craves something and needs it right away. The soaking/toasting seems to be the not-so-quick part of this recipe. Would a product like packaged Kasha(I found Bob’s makes one…basically roasted buckwheat)work? Is it basically the same thing or no?
    thanks!

    • I used the Bob’s buckwheat cereal and it was great without soaking or baking. It was still crumbly. I haven’t made another batch yet with more flax and sweetner to see if that helps.

  16. these look amazing! I love Lydia’s granola, I hunt it down every time I visit the US. I will definitely be making these, maybe toss in some shredded coconut 🙂

    is there anything else I can use apart from coconut oil? I don’t have any…

  17. Wow, what impressive nutrition stats! Pretty much perfect for a snack portion. I dig highly. I should do some homemade snack making – I love the Laras, but it’s true that it’s an unneccessary expense if you can make them easily at home. I think I prefer eating meals big enough that I don’t need to snack in between, but there is just something about that 4 o’clock hour at work that seems to beg for a lil extra nom nom…

  18. Yay, these look great! My mom is always looking for new bar-type recipes (her roommate has a paper route and needs something she can grab at 4AM when she leaves the house), so I’ll definitely forward this to her 🙂 And thank you for making a recipe that can also be made by those of us without dehydrators! I really appreciate your approach to eating raw food without any special equipment. I’ll also have to check out Lydia’s Organics–I definitely agree that most raw bars (and also non-raw energy/granola bars) are too sweet.

  19. These look amazing! And thank goodness they’re dehydrator free, cause I don’t have one yet : Thank you, Gena!

  20. I am RIGHT with you on the bar sitch. I like Larabars, but ultimately a bit too sweet and not filling. I have been meaning to work on a recipe like this, so thank you for posting! I think I will try these this week.

    Thanks again!

  21. These look fabulous. And I love that you don’t have to have a dehydrator (because I definitely don’t and have no room for one!).

    Thanks for sharing 🙂

  22. These look great, and I’ve been looking to make some kind of bar so that I can have a quick meal on the go for when school starts. My problem is that I tried making the buckwheat cereal and it didn’t turn out quite well…

    I soaked them (raw buckwheat groats) overnight, rinsed and drained, and then soaked again for about 9 hours. I drained and rinsed a second time and then put them in the oven at 250 until they dried out and felt a bit crispy. The next day they were really tough and chewy. I might not have toasted them long enough?

    Anyways, it’s worth a second try for delicious looking bars like those. 🙂

  23. Gena, I <3 you! I have the exact same feelings about Larabars – love them, love the taste, but find them a tad sweet and also not super satiating. Your recipe hit the nail on the head – can't wait to try them!!

  24. Fantastic recipe! I just spent an arm and both legs at Whole Foods this weekend stocking up on the hot new LaraBar flavas. Sads. I will definitely give this recipe a try- thanks for sharing!

  25. This is a great recipe! cant wait to try it! I’ve been eating lots of Larabars but also just don’t feel satisfied with them… I think adding some grains to it is key! Thank you!!!

    Christina

  26. I like a recipe with the dehydrate, or not, option. I have one, but sometimes I want a different consistency. And I’m with you. While I enjoy some of the other store-bought bars, there’s something satisfying about making your own. Thanks for the recipe!

  27. These look fantastic and crunchy. Now I just need to find those elusive buckwheat. I’m assuming Whole Foods. They are the (slightly inflated priced) answer to everything.

  28. PERFECT! I love, love, love raw buckwheat. I haven’t had it in so long, so this is absolutely what I’m making with the huge jar of buckwheat sitting in my pantry. I’m so excited for these and I love that they’re no dehydrator needed! I don’t mind dehydrating sprouted buckwheat, but definitely have lost interest in flipping and scoring and waiting forever. Thanks, Gena!!

  29. Great job, Gena! I have been making my own energy bars for a long time and have a no-bake (I can’t say raw b/c I use oats rather than sprouted grains, and I also use some seeds that I am pretty sure arent raw and I don’t care…at all..but the Raw Police comes knockin’ so I labeled mine as no-bake not raw)…anyway, it’s SUCH a money saver!

    With a child and a hubs lunch to pack, not having to buy bars, which i actually never do, is a huge money saver. I also like making these types of bars over say knockoff larabars b/c with bars like this, as with my no bake vegan energy bars, there is not Vita to clean since there are no nuts/dates being ground up. I am a dishes wimp..the less I dirty, the happier I am 🙂

    Have a great nite!

    🙂

  30. These look wonderful and ingredients are all staples in my kitchen 🙂 I also love that they are economical and that the nutritional value is great 🙂 Thanks Gena for sharing the recipe, if I make any tweaks to it that are amazing, I’ll let you know!

    ~Maggie

  31. These look delicious, and I already have all the ingredients in my cupboard, which is always a plus. I’ve never made a snack bar before, though. Is there a general rule on how long they keep?

    • Auden,

      That’s something I’ll let you know when I know! Generally, though, I’d say that they should keep at least two weeks in the fridge and a few months in the freezer?

      G

  32. These look amazing Gena!
    I agree with everything you said about packaged bars…Laras and RR are WAY too sweet for me. Sometimes I have them and feel queasy after from all the sugar (I’m very sugar sensitive). I’ve never tried Lydias…I don’t think any stores here carry them. Anyway, this recipe looks great and not too sweet! love it.

  33. These energy bars look great Gena! I just wanted to know how buckwheat digests and also what are the health benefits? I have tried buckwheat a few times and find that it passes undigested, (I know this because I can see the buckwheat granules floating by during a colonic. Too much information I know! sorry everyone). Maybe I’m not chewing enough.

    • Jane,

      There isn’t really such a thing as TMI on this blog. We’re all eating a lot of fiber.

      Um, so I believe that a certain amount of buckwheat will pass through the system undigested. But I also think that lots of it may indicate that you need to chew better. Ask your hydrotherapist! He/she will know.

      G

  34. Curse you, you’re making it more and more difficult to resist buying a bag of Bob’s Red Mill Buckwheat whenever I’m at the store! Haha, I definitely want to play with it–when I think of filling grain dishes, that Kaia buckwheat-based granola really did the trick.

  35. Those look amazing! I am eating lots of buckwheat lately and this looks like a good way to get more in. Thanks for working on this for us, and you too.