Vegan, gluten-free, and dairy-free nut bars. Sweet, salty, chocolaty and delicious! The perfect healthy snack. JUMP TO RECIPE
Some people love to have a sweet treat after dinner but for some strange reason I’ve always had this craving following lunch. In my younger years this usually meant having a cookie or candy bar, but as I got older, and made a conscious effort to eat more healthfully, I sought out nutritious alternatives to satisfy my midday sweet tooth and this is when I got hooked on KIND snack nut bars. For years I had one almost every day after lunch and discovered, much to my delight, that they did a great job of keeping full until dinner (not true when I was in the habit of having a cookie/candy bar). But one day I realized how much money I was spending on them and decided to start making my own nut bars. These Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Flax Nut Bars are one version I came up with and they are REALLY delicious!
Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Flax Nut Bars are super easy to make. No special equipment is needed and the recipe yields a whopping 16 bars. If you eat these as frequently as I do, that’s more than a 2-week supply! You can even simplify things if you’re short on time by omitting the chocolate drizzle, which adds an extra step to the recipe. I like to buy my almonds, pecans, and walnuts in bulk so that I always have plenty of nuts on hand to make these bars. And here’s a tip – even though nuts have a fairly long shelf life, store them in the freezer until ready to use to extend their shelf life even further.
I think KIND snack nut bars are one of the healthiest, mass-produced snacks available but most varieties contain two ingredients I’m not crazy about – soy lecithin and glucose syrup. (If you want to learn more about soy lecithin and glucose syrup read this article and this one.) Eaten occasionally, and in small quantities, these ingredients are probably fine, but I feel better knowing that my homemade Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Flax Nut Bars don’t contain the commercial additive soy lecithin, and that they are sweetened primarily with unrefined sugar (coconut sugar) vs. glucose syrup, a refined sweetener often derived from corn, which is why it’s sometimes called corn syrup. (Note that the vegan chocolate chips called for in this recipe contain refined sugar but most of the sweetness in these bars comes from the coconut sugar.)
Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Flax Nut Bars are gluten-free and dairy-free but they’re also vegan, a claim that KIND cannot make for their nut and whole grain-based products because they contain honey. I prefer the more complex taste of maple syrup over honey and think the flavor it imparts is far superior, but large food manufacturers will almost never use maple syrup as an ingredient because it’s too expensive. Although only 1 tablespoon of maple syrup is called for is this recipe, it adds a subtle layer of flavor to the top of the nut bars and provides a slightly sticky surface for the large flake sea salt to adhere to. For other snack ideas using nuts check out Snack Bar Madeleines and Vegan Flax Candied Nuts.
If you make Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Flax Nut Bars don’t forget to snap a pic and tag me over on Instagram @QueenofMyKitchen. I’d love to see your creation!
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons water
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ½ cup coconut sugar
- 1 tablespoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¾ cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips
- 1 cup almonds, roughly chopped
- 1 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 cup pecans, roughly chopped
- 1 cup crisp brown rice cereal (plain or cinnamon and gluten-free)
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon large flake sea salt
- ½ teaspoon coconut oil
- Preheat the oven to 300 degrees. Line a quarter sheet pan (9 x 13) with parchment paper with a few inches of overhang on the long sides.
- Combine the ground flaxseed, water, and vanilla in a small bowl (stir with a fork). Combine the coconut sugar, cinnamon, and salt in another small bowl. Set both aside.
- Spread ½ cup of the chocolate chips out on the sheet pan and place on the bottom rack of the oven for 5 minutes. Remove and spread the chocolate into one even layer using a rubber spatula or offset spatula.
- Place the nuts and crisp rice cereal in a medium sized bowl and add the vanilla flaxseed mixture. Stir to completely coat the nuts. Pour in the coconut sugar mixture and toss to coat the nuts and crisp rice.
- Transfer the nut mixture to the pan and spread it out, to the edges. Use the bottom of a spatula or glass to press and compact the nut mixture into one even layer. Bake on the bottom rack of the oven for 25 minutes. Let cool completely before cutting into 16 bars.
- Brush the tops of the bars with maple syrup and sprinkle with large flake sea salt.
- Combine the remaining chocolate chips with coconut oil over a double boiler. Once the chocolate is melted and has cooled for a minute or two, spoon it into the corner of a zip lock baggie. Snip the corner off the baggie and squeeze/drizzle the melted chocolate over the bars.
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