Do you ever have those mornings and/or afternoons when you need a quick bite before hitting the gym, running out the door, or just a little something to hold you over until dinner time? This is me. Pretty much everyday. And while I try my best to prepare as much food at home as possible (both in an effort to save money and also eat healthier) I often find myself reaching for something pre-packaged. Granola bars, fruit and nut mixes, or “energy” bars are usually my downfalls. I know that something that stays in the office vending machine for God knows how long or can be grabbed at a bodega on the corner in a pinch is not the best option for either eating healthier or cheaper. But it’s just so darn convenient.
Well, I’m glad to say – I may have found a way around my morning/afternoon needs for a quick bite. I had the intention of experimenting with a new recipe for my own granola or energy bars, but then I thought – I’m always looking for a quick bite. Like a handful of almonds and dried fruit, or half a bar. So instead of making bars, I decided to make bites. It turned out to be one of the most genius things I’ve done in a while!
I had every intention of going the granola bar route, adding rolled oats and some sort of flour. But then I remembered the great hazelnut meal I had on hand after my awesome SideChef surprise, and I decided to go a full grain-free route instead. I pulled together hazelnut flour, almonds and instead of oats I added unsweetened shredded coconut. And you know what? Flavor explosion.
I must admit, I don’t count calories. But based on the fact that there’s lots of almonds and hazelnut meal in these, and nuts are pretty dense calorie-wise, I’d say they’re not exactly “light.” But they’re 2 to 3-bite sized and let’s be honest, there are worse things you could eat other than dried fruits and crushed up nuts. I added chia seeds and flax meal for some good omega-3s so by my standards? These count as totally healthy. (We may have different standards, of course.)
While the hazelnuts and almonds offer a great earthy, nutty flavor — the coconut, apricots and raisins add a more complex sweetness to round the whole bite out. To keep them sticking together, I added a bit of coconut oil and coconut milk, which really added to the overall coconut flavor.
The bites are super easy to make. All you really need is a food processor that can handle nuts (or buy already slivered almonds) and a desire to get your hands a little dirty. All you do is process the apricots and raisins with the coconut oil and coconut milk, add that to all the other ingredients, and you’re forming little balls of deliciousness in no time! So let’s just get on with the recipe, shall we?
Grain Free Coconut Energy Bites
What You’ll Need:
- 3/4 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup almonds, ground or slivered
- 1/2 cup hazelnut meal
- 2 tablespoons flax meal
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 3/4 cup dried Turkish apricots
- 1/4 cup golden raisins
- 2 1/2 tablespoons light coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil, melted
What You’ll Do:
Put the apricots and raisins into a food processor and add the melted coconut oil, pulse until the fruit starts to break down
Add coconut milk one tablespoon at a time – depending on how firm your fruit is it may take more or less coconut milk
Once the fruit is somewhat wet and sticky but not runny – it’s ready!
Add the rest of the ingredients to a large bowl
Add the fruit to the bowl and mix until everything is well distributed
Using a spoon and your hands, start making balls out of the mixture. That’s it!
I recommend keeping them in the refrigerator as they’ll stay firm, and the milk will keep longer. Enjoy!