These bars are the perfect way to start your day, as they contain proteins, healthy fats and carbohydrates and an abundance of micronutrients such as calcium, magnesium and potassium.

Morning Energy Bars (page 35)

Ingredients

2 cups chopped pitted dates
2 tbsp raw cacao powder (see Tips)
3 tbsp raw agave nectar (see Tips)
2 tbsp water
1⁄4 cup raw cashews
1⁄4 cup walnuts
1⁄4 cup raw whole almonds
3 tbsp raw shelled hemp seeds
2 tsp sesame seeds
Pinch fine sea salt

Preparation

1. In a food processor fitted with the metal blade, process dates, cacao powder, agave nectar and water until smooth. Add cashews, walnuts, almonds, hemp seeds, sesame seeds and salt. Process until the ingredients come together to form a sticky mass, stopping the motor once and scraping down the sides of the work bowl.

2. Transfer to a cutting board. Using your hands, press out the mixture until it is 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick and shape into a square about 6 inches (15 cm) long. Cut into 9 bars, each approximately 3 inches (7.5 cm) long and 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide. Place on a platter or baking sheet lined with parchment paper and refrigerate for one hour to set. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Makes 9 bars.

Variations

Various kinds of nuts and seeds can be substituted in the same quantities. For example, you may substitute chia seeds for the sesame seeds. If you have Brazil nuts on hand, try substituting them for the cashews. By experimenting, you may find a combination that suits you to a tee.

Tips

There are numerous varieties of dates, but Medjool are my favorite. Although they are generally more expensive, they are larger, softer and ideal for using in raw food recipes.

Cacao powder is powdered raw chocolate. Is it similar to cocoa powder but tastes even better, with a deeper, richer flavor. Cacao powder is available in well-stocked supermarkets, natural foods stores and online. If you are transitioning to a raw foods diet or can’t find it, substitute an equal quantity of good-quality cocoa powder.

When purchasing agave nectar, be sure to look for products labeled “raw.” Most of the agave nectar on the market has been heated to a high temperature and does not qualify as raw food. If you have concerns, ask your purveyor.

*Excerpted from Eat Raw, Eat Well by Douglas McNish © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.*

Photo credit: Colin Erricson/www.robertrose.ca

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