My kids have a love affair with oatmeal, they would happily eat anything with the word oatmeal in it. Refrigerator oatmeal, granola, cookies, you name it. When it was time to choose my secret recipe club assignment, I went through the Saturday evening pot’s archives.I bookmarked their Berry Smoothies with Hidden Greens, and their Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Balsamic Vinegar recipe among many others. Then I came across this recipe for no bake fruit crumble bars and I instantly knew that this was the one! Before I can get to the recipe let me tell you a little about my assigned blog. The Saturday evening pot is run by the Chef, who graduated from Johnson and Wales University with a degree in Culinary Arts and has always loved cooking.His family, The Lucky Wife and The Well-Fed Kids, who get to be the taste-testers of his new creations .They share their food adventures and recipes through their blog This particular recipe was made by the Lucky wife. I loved it because it was quick, easy,nutritious, lunch box friendly and of course it had oatmeal in it. I adapted the recipe a little using dates as a filling instead of jam, I also added a few spices to jazz things up a bit. I used dates because I wanted to try these bars in their purest form, raw, vegan and with out any added sugar. Why you may ask? Well until recently a recipe described as raw, vegan and without sugar was one I would not even consider. It must be bland and tasteless I always told myself but the more I read about the health benefits of raw and vegan food, the more I am tempted to give recipes like this one a try. So I ventured on,and I am happy to report that after trying these bars, the result blew me away. The crust had a wonderful texture with the earthy oats, the nutty almonds , the hint of coconut and slight sweetness provided by the dates. The filling added a spicy sweet note without making these bars overly sweet. The best part is that the kids loved them so much that they demanded them for school and I was more than happy to oblige. My next project is to try the crust as a base for my healthy cheese cake recipe.I will let you know how the experiment turns out!
No bake almond date bars
- 1.5 cups whole raw almonds (see notes)
- 1.5 cups regular oats (for Gluten-free, use GF oats)
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 16 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (see notes)
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 200 grams date puree or ajweh (see notes)
- 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (optional)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon (optional)
- 1 tablespoon olive oil or coconut oil
Directions: Line a pan with two pieces of parchment paper going opposite ways.
In a food processor, process the almond, salt, and oats until a fine crumble forms. (If you like your crust to have more texture you can process the mix until it is a coarse crumble)
Now add in the dates and process until crumbly again.
Melt the coconut oil and add to the mixture and process until sticky.
Remove from processor, set aside 3/4 cup of the mixture for later, and press the rest of the mixture very firmly and evenly into the pan.
Knead the date puree with the spices and oil then roll between two pieces of parchment or by hand and place it on top of the crust Sprinkle on the 3/4 cup of mixture you set aside and gently press down with fingers. Refrigerate in the fridge until firm for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. Cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge or freezer.
The amounts of dates: you need to use in the crust will depend on how soft and how large the dates you have are. If you have bog soft dates, 10-15 would be enough. If your dates are small and some what dry you will need 25- 30. The key is to add dates until your crust mixture holds together when you take a hand full in your hand and squeeze it.
Alternatives to dates in the crust: If you are not fond of dates you can replace them with raisin, dried cherries or dried cranberries.
You can use other nuts to make these bars, walnuts or pecans would work beautifully.
The filling: Date puree or ajweh is basically pitted dates that are chopped and then kneaded until they almost become like a dough. If you can’t find it, you can make your own by chopping soft dates and then kneading them . If you find the process a little difficult you can place them in a pot with a tablespoon of butter and then gently heat while stirring for 5 minutes. The heat will help soften the dates.
You can also use jam instead of dates. another option would be to use dried figs that you blend with a little water