Pistachio Nanaimo Bars: A St. Patty’s Day Surprise (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Ok friends, in my last post I mentioned I was going to share with you a few new ways to make your food more nutrient dense and kid friendly so you can feel good about eating it and serving it to your family. Now, don’t be scared. No, seriously, don’t because this recipe may have vegetables in it but you would never know. SERIOUSLY! YOU WOULD NEVER KNOW! Sorry, don’t mean to yell at you but I’m so excited! This is one tasty Nanaimo bar treat! And there are two cups of raw spinach in it.

Pistachio Nanaimo Bars with Spinach

Yup, you heard me right. Two cups of raw spinach. Now, I don’t normally “hide” vegetables in our every day meals because I want my kids to know what they are eating. My kids eat a lot of veggies but for some reason I cannot get  Little Q to eat dark leafy greens unless pulverized in my Kale Smoothie or baked into a Kale Chip. I think it is a texture thing and I know I am not the only mom who has this problem. Now, I have one more recipe up my sleeve that gets a little more greens into the diet! MUAHAHAHAHA

Pistachio Nanaimo Bars with Spinach

Enter from stage right these divine Pistachio Nanaimo Bars! These bars are based off my first vegan, gluten-free Nanaimo bar recipe which I make a Christmas time.  The original version is mint flavour, which you can certainly do here in place of the vanilla for the middle layer, I just wanted to make something different then what I had done before. What I like about this version is I decided not to bake the bottom layer (mainly because I have become more lazy now that I am a mother of two) and they turned out just as good if not better than the original! Seriously, you need to make these and use St. Patty’s Day as an excuse – that’s what I did! Who knows, I may just start throwing spinach into random things just to see how it turns out!

Pistachio Nanaimo Bars with Spinach

Pistachio Nanaimo Bars (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

Lightly adapted from my original Vegan Gluten-Free Nanaimo Bar recipe.

BOTTOM LAYER

1/2 cup raw pistachios, shells taken off and roughly chopped

1/2 cup cocoa powder

1/2 cup brown rice flour

3/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

2 tbsp tapioca starch

1/4 cup coconut sugar

1/3 cup coconut oil

2 tbsp chia seeds soaked in 1/2 cup water for 5mins

Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with parchment paper. Mix above ingredients in one bowl until well blended. Press the mixture into the bottom of the lined pan into an even layer using the back of a spoon to ensure that the mixture is well compressed. Set aside while you make the remaining layers.

MIDDLE FILLING

1 cup raw cashews, soaked in water for a minimum 3 hrs

2 cups loosely packed raw spinach (I used organic baby spinach)

2 tsp vanilla (if choosing mint flavour instead, omit vanilla & substitute 1/2 tsp pure peppermint extract)

2 tbsp coconut sugar

1/2 cup water (approx.)

Place filling ingredients in food processor with the ‘S’ blade and blend until smooth and creamy adding more water if necessary to attain this texture. Pour evenly over bottom layer and set aside.

TOP LAYER

For best results use Cara’s Raw Chocolate Bars recipe from Fork and Beans

1/2 cup coconut oil

6 heaping tbsp cocoa powder

4 tbsp maple syrup

pinch of sea salt

Heat in small saucepan over low heat and pour over middle filling once all ingredients have melted together. Set aside and let cool in fridge slightly before scoring the bars then put back into fridge to fully set. When set, cut bars into squares and serve. Keep in fridge for 1 week. Enjoy this healthy treat!

 

 

 

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles (A Healthy Ferrero Rocher)

There is a great deal of pressure for people around Valentine’s Day and it drives me nuts!  Although this is the time of year that my husband and I had an accidental first date and fell in love, it was not because of some holiday that the card companies made up. So instead of naming these here balls something clever that rhymes with Valentines, how about we call them like we see them: Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles or A Healthy Ferrero Rocher.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle (Healthy Ferrero Rocher)

As I spent the day on Monday making these as thank you gifts to those who helped me out, I was DYING to eat them. Only one problem: chocolate and breast-feeding an infant does not always mix. I’ve had to cut it out to have a less gassy and less refluxing baby, allowing me to get more sleep. Yup, that’s right. I cut chocolate out. Very hard to do I may add, but worth it if it means I get more sleep!

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle (Healthy Ferrero Rocher)

So I realized something the other day. Men, or boys, have a thing about their penis’ from the beginning of their lives people! My son was playing in his toy room and came out with a large pole. As he was holding it where his privates are, he looked up at me than looked back down at the placement of the pole, than back up at me and declared “Mom! My penis is GIGANTIC!”.

Ummm, hello? It took every once of me not to burst out laughing. An who taught him that?!?!? NO ONE!!! HE WAS JUST GOING ON INSTINCT!

But I held it together (ish) telling him that was not an appropriate thing to say and to put the pole down. Then I repeated it awkwardly several times “Put the pole down, put the pole down, put the pole down…” Oh Jeez, Fraud would have been proud of this moment. And God give me strength for the teenage years…

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle (Healthy Ferrero Rocher)

And on that note! These Chocolate Hazelnut Truffles (or A Healthy Ferrero Rocher) are packed full of vitamin and mineral rich nuts and seeds, coconut oil to help your body absorb that goodness and chia seeds to boost your energy. These take effort to make but are worth the guiltless pleasure they bring to ones mouth and body. Enjoy them anytime of year, not just as a Valentine’s Day chocolate.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle (A Healthy Ferrero Rocher)
 
Serves: 36
Ingredients
  • 1 cup dates, soaked in water for 10mins
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • ½ cup raw walnuts
  • ¼ cup raw pecans
  • 2 tbsp raw pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds
  • ¼ tsp sea salt
  • 4-6 tbsp non-dairy milk or water
  • 36 raw hazelnuts (good-looking ones)
  • ¾ cup raw hazelnuts chopped + ¼ cup for topper
  • 6oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp coconut sugar + 1 tbsp for topper
Instructions
  1. In a food processor with the 'S' blade, combine almonds, walnuts, pecans & pumpkin seeds until a meal consistency. Place in a medium-sized bowl.
  2. Add cocoa powder, sea salt & chia seeds. Mix until combined.
  3. Next, place soaked dates into food processor and blend until a paste. Add the dates and the non dairy milk to the meal blend and mix well.
  4. Line a large cookie sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Take the whole hazelnuts and begin to cover each one with approximately a tablespoon of chocolate mix, rolling until about a 1" sized ball. Set aside on cookie sheet. Repeat with remaining whole hazelnuts until chocolate mixture is gone. About 36 balls.
  6. Now you are going to coat your balls and you will need to move quickly so lets set up the candy making station. Place ¾ of a cup of chopped hazelnuts in a bowl, next an empty bowl to put chocolate coating mixture into and the third bowl will have ¼ cup of chopped hazelnuts mixed with 1 tbsp of coconut sugar (topping).
  7. In a small saucepan on low heat, melt the unsweetened chocolate, coconut oil and 4 tbsp of coconut sugar. Keep an eye on the pot, stirring regularly. Once melted remove from heat and place half of the mixture in the bowl that is between the chopped nuts and the topping. Place hot-pot of chocolate on a trivet to protect your countertop in front of the chopped nuts.
  8. Your order should look like this: melted chocolate, chopped nuts, melted chocolate, topping.
  9. Moving quickly, using two forks, roll one ball at a time in the melted chocolate mixture, then roll in chopped hazelnuts, then in the second bowl of melted chocolate mixture and place on parchment paper lined cookie sheet. Sprinkle with topping while still wet. Repeat until all balls are done.
  10. Place in freezer until all balls cooled then transfer to an air tight container and store in fridge. Remove from fridge when ready to serve.

Chocolate Hazelnut Truffle (Healthy Ferrero Rocher)