Food and Community

November 11, 2019 Food, Uncategorized
SPICY OR SLIGHTLY SWEET NUT BARS

Ashtangis love to eat. That shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone who’s practiced ashtanga yoga for a while. We work hard during the practice, expend a lot of energy, and often end up hungry afterwards. If you’re fortunate like me, you practice in a community that just rolls with the desire to get something to eat. We’ve had potlucks, birthday celebrations, and times when we just head out somewhere for breakfast after practice. I think that desire is more than just enjoying something good to eat though. Those times when the community gets to together over food is an opportunity to share our experiences, check in with each other on how everyone is doing, and provide support to one another, both on and off the mat. I believe those are the connections that come together with the practice to help build and support our community. With that in mind, here’s a great vegan and gluten free dish you can make that can be either spicy or a little sweet, depending on your preference.

SPICY OR SLIGHTLY SWEET NUT BARS

Ingredients
1 cup raw cashews
1 cup raw almonds
1⁄2 cup raw walnuts
1 Tbsp. virgin coconut oil melted, plus more for greasing 1⁄2 tsp kosher salt
1 cup puffed brown rice
1⁄2 cup toasted coconut chips, unsweetened
1⁄2 cup dates (about 5 dates or so), pitted and finely chopped 1 Tbsp flax meal
1 Tbsp toasted sesame seeds
1⁄2 cup brown rice syrup

Option for Spicy: 1 Tbsp Madras curry powder

Option for Slightly Sweet: 1+ cup of vegan semi-sweet chocolate and 3-4 Tbsp(ish) of coconut milk

Note about ingredients: Raw nuts aren’t roasted, so they have a different taste and texture than roasted nuts. Trader Joes has a good selection of raw nuts, and has coconut chips. Puffed brown rice and brown rice syrup may be a little harder to find, you can try a store with a good health food section or order online. With puffed rice, that should be the only ingredient listed. If you can’t find toasted and unsweetened coconut chips or toasted sesame seeds, it’s easy to do at home. Get the untoasted variety, spread evenly on baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for a few minutes, checking every minute or so until golden brown.

Brown rice syrup isn’t sweet, and doesn’t have much flavor. This is where the option to be spicy or a little sweet comes in. Typically, I make the slightly sweet version because you know, who doesn’t like chocolate? I use Enjoy Life vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips, should be available at most grocery stores. For the chocolate version, skip the curry powder. For the curry version, the recipe calls for no chocolate. Could you do both? Could you use dark chocolate instead? Sure! Play with the recipe and make it your own.

Instructions

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine cashews, almonds, walnuts, melted coconut oil, and salt in medium bowl. If making spicy, also add curry powder. Stir to coat. Transfer to large baking sheet, and spread in an even layer. Bake until nuts are lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes.

2. Grease a 9 inch square baking pan with coconut oil, and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2 inch overhang on 2 sides. Toss the toasted nuts with puffed rice, coconut chips, dates, flax meal, and sesame seeds in a medium bowl. Add brown rice syrup while nut mixture is still hot, stir to coat. Transfer to prepared pan, and bake at 325 degrees until toasted and starting to set, 15 to 18 minutes.

3. Transfer pan to wire rack, let cool. If you’re not using chocolate, it’s a little easier to remove parchment if mixture is slightly warm. If using chocolate, I leave mixture in pan with parchment until cool. Add chocolate chips to metal bowl over pan of boiling water (double boiler method). Once chips start to melt, add coconut milk making sure to use some of the thick, creamy part. Stir until chocolate and coconut oil are smooth, then pour over cooled nut mixture. Once everything is cool, remove mixture from pan and cut with oiled knife since it will be sticky. (Full disclosure, I’ve really never measured the chocolate or coconut milk, I just look for a nice-ish amount with smooth texture and taste before pouring on nut mixture.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Combine cashews, almonds, walnuts, melted coconut oil, and salt in medium bowl. If making spicy, also add curry powder. Stir to coat. Transfer to large baking sheet, and spread in an even layer. Bake until nuts are lightly toasted, 8 to 10 minutes.

Grease a 9 inch square baking pan with coconut oil, and line with parchment paper, leaving a 2 inch overhang on 2 sides. Toss the toasted nuts with puffed rice, coconut chips, dates, flax meal, and sesame seeds in a medium bowl. Add brown rice syrup while nut mixture is still hot, stir to coat. Transfer to prepared pan, and bake at 325 degrees until toasted and starting to set, 15 to 18 minutes.

Transfer pan to wire rack, let cool. If you’re not using chocolate, it’s a little easier to remove parchment if mixture is slightly warm. If using chocolate, I leave mixture in pan with parchment until cool. Add chocolate chips to metal bowl over pan of boiling water (double boiler method). Once chips start to melt, add coconut milk making sure to use some of the thick, creamy part. Stir until chocolate and coconut oil are smooth, then pour over cooled nut mixture. Once everything is cool, remove mixture from pan and cut with oiled knife since it will be sticky. (Full disclosure, I’ve really never measured the chocolate or coconut milk, I just look for a nice-ish amount with smooth texture and taste before pouring on nut mixture.)

Without chocolate, nut bars can be stored tightly wrapped at room temperature for a few days. I tend to refrigerate the chocolate version, then take them out a few hours before serving. It’s never lasted very long, so not sure how long it keeps!

Enjoy!

Written by Jeff Howard