Nicole MacPherson: Meatless Mummy Con Carne


Nut-Free, Gluten-Free, Sugar-Free Vegan Energy Bars


vegan sugar-free nut-free gluten-free energy bars

My best friend's daughter has Celiac disease, and one day when we were chatting about school snacks and lunches, she mentioned the difficulty of finding really tasty gluten-free "grab and go" snacks that were also nut-free.  The wheels in my head started turning, especially after talking with another friend whose daughter is allergic to dairy and sugar cane, in addition to gluten and nuts. I was thinking about them both as I found myself in the kitchen, trying to create an energy bar that would fill all those needs. Was it possible? Gluten-free, nut-free, added sugar-free, and vegan seemed to be a pretty tall order for an energy bar, but I was determined.

What I came up with was an energy bar that not only ticked off all those boxes, but also tastes great and is a snap to put together. This would be an excellent addition to any school lunch, as well as a perfect after-school snack to fuel the kids (and yourself!) through the frenzy of weekday activities, events, and carpooling. These bars deliver a burst of energy, but are packed with protein to keep you going...and going...and going...


2 cups Medjool dates, pitted
1/3 cup coconut oil
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
1/2 cup hemp seeds
1 cup pumpkin seeds 


  Line a 9x9 baking pan with enough parchment paper so that the paper hangs over the edge of the pan.

  In a food processor, process dates and coconut oil together until crumbly.

  Add cocoa, cinnamon, coconut, and hemp seeds and process until mixture resembles a thick, crumbly paste.

  Add pumpkin seeds and pulse until combined.

  Scoop into prepared pan, and press VERY FIRMLY to flatten. It's very important to press firmly so that the bars stay together. HINT: rub a little coconut oil on your hands so you can flatten the mixture without it sticking.

  Place in the freezer for an hour, until firm. Lift the parchment paper to remove the mixture, then cut into bars.

  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Coconut oil: hey, wanna date?

This is what a crumbly paste looks like.

After slicing, watch out for thieves.

 Want easy and delicious school snack ideas? Try Nut-Free School-Safe Granola BarsVegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip MuffinsPumpkin Chocolate Chip Snack Loaf