These vegan, gluten free and naturally sweetened chocolate-hazelnut chia bars with sea salt are perfect for fueling a workout, or to enjoy as a sweet treat!
Do me a favor. Next time you're at the grocery store, check out the ingredients list on your favorite energy bar. Soy protein isolate...sucralose...inulin (aka fart fuel)...is that really how you want to fuel your workout?
Although I do love a good Lara bar, for years, I've been making my own. Cheap, easy, and a whole lot tastier than anything you can find at the store! With this chocolate-hazelnut version, I think I outdid myself. Besides the whole nutella thing, these bars are packed with foods to make the most of your workout.
First, there's chocolate, which improves blood flow to muscles, which boosts endurance. Then there's omega 3 rich chia seeds, which may improve post-workout recovery with their anti-inflammatory effects. The sea salt helps replace minerals lost in sweat. And to round it all out, it's naturally sweetened with dates, one of my favorite ways to fuel a workout as it's a concentrated source of natural sugars.
Chocolate Hazelnut Chia Bars
Makes 12 bars
1 cup packed, pitted dates
1.5 cups toasted hazelnuts
1/4 cup chia seeds
6 Tablespoons cocoa powder
1 Tablespoon water, optional (if needed to help it stick)
pinch of flaky or crunchy sea salt
Place dates, hazelnuts, chia and cocoa in the food processor and blend until chopped finely and well combined.
Add a tablespoon water if needed to help it blend.
Scoop mixture into an oiled rectangle baking dish. Using a spatula, flatten the top and press down. It should be about 1/2-inch thick.
Sprinkle sea salt lightly over the top and press down so it sticks.
Cut into 12 bars and carefully remove with a spatula.
Store in the refrigerator in a covered container where iit should be fine for a few weeks (as if they'll last that long!).