Good to Go

Pardon the cliche, but it’s true- When it rains, it pours. Though equally applicable to the unprecedented amounts of snow endlessly falling on the New England area, in this case I was thinking about deadlines, school work, and freelance jobs. To be utterly booked and maddeningly busy in the industry that I love is the best problem possible, but it does wear one quite thin. Never before have I had any sort of job that had me out of the house for 13 hours at a time, or – heaven forbid – force me to work through lunch. It was always difficult to understand how someone could lack the time to sit down for even a 15-minute meal, but now I get it. Sucked into the dizzying pace and fully absorbed in the task at hand, it can be difficult to break away.

I’m not the type of person who can painlessly forgo a meal though. Prepared for such situations, there’s always some sort of snack secreted away in my bag, mixed amongst the knitting needles and scratch paper. Larabars are standard fare, but like just so many other fans of this natural food bar, I felt compelled to take a crack at a homemade version. Having lamented that their main failing is a lack of protein, this was finally my opportunity to take matters into my own hand and pump up the nutritional stats.

With so much goodness crammed into such a small package, these svelte morsels positively glow with green energy! Instead of using just nuts and fruit as a base, I deviated from the traditional formula to include a generous helping of protein powder, infused with greens no less. Shockingly sweet and tasty for something that looks so grassy, it may not be particularly original, but this is what’s been keeping me going for the past couple of days.

Green Protein Bar

1/2 Cup Raw Cashews
1/2 Cup Vegan Protein Powder with Greens*
12 Medjool Dates, Pitted (About 1 cup, packed)
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Pinch Salt
4 Tablespoons Finely Chopped Dark Chocolate or Mini Chocolate Chips, Divided

*I used Peaceful Planet’s Supreme Meal in these, but I also highly recommend Amazing Grass’s Amazing Meal

Start by placing just the cashews into your blender or food processor, and pulse until they’re pulverized into a coarse meal. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to make sure that there are no large pieces hiding in the corners, add in the protein powder, and pulse a few more times to combine. For the final addition, toss in the dates, vanilla, and salt, and let the machine run until the contents become a mostly smooth, slightly sticky dough. Depending on your equipment, this could take anywhere between 2 – 6 minutes.

Scrape out the dough onto a silpat, and knead in 3 tablespoons of the chocolate by hand. If it’s too sticky to handle, lightly oil your hands before proceeding. Once the chips or chunks are well-distributed throughout, shape the dough into a fairly flat rectangle, approximately 4 x 6 inches.  Take the remaining 1 tablespoon of chocolate, sprinkle it over the top of the block, and gently press it in so that it all sticks.

Stash it in the fridge to solidify a bit more, as it’s likely somewhat warm and soft at this point. After it has chilled for about 2 hours, slice it into 1-inch wide bars. Wrap each bar individually in plastic, and store in the fridge for up to a week.

Makes Approximately 6 Bars

Printable Recipe