Those who know and love me will tell you I am very frugal (except they would likely select a less-flattering adjective). I prefer to say that I am careful with my spending, especially when it comes to food shopping. I tell you this because I am not the person at the health food store throwing every new superfood into my hand-basket with nary a thought of price; rather, I’m the woman making a beeline to the bulk goods and comparing the price per ounce on every item. So when I do recommend a particular superfood-splurge, it’s because I think it’s truly worth it. Case in point, goji berries. Goji berries are bright orange-red berries that come from a shrub that’s native to China and they have a unique taste akin to dried cherries and cranberries. A lot of nutrition gets packed into a single berry, including powerful antioxidants, 18 different amino acids, and up to 21 trace minerals, including zinc, iron, copper, and calcium.
- 1 Cup packed pitted, soft dates
- 1 Cup warm water
- 1/3 Cup natural, unsweetened raw nut or seed butter
- 1/2 Teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 2/3 Cup old-fashioned or quick-cooking rolling oats
- 2/3 Cups dried goji berries, dried cherries, or dried cranberries, finely chopped
- 1/2 Cup raw cashews, chopped
- 1/2 Cup unsweetened flake or shredded coconut
- 1/3 Cup chia seeds
- 2 Tablespoons flaxseed meal
- Coconut or vegetable oil, for greasing
Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment paper and grease the pan with coconut oil or vegetable oil.
Combine the dates and warm water in a small bowl. Let stand for 5 to 10 minutes until fruit is soft (time will vary according to the dryness of the dates). Drain and pat dry with paper towels. Place the dates, nut or seed butter, and cardamom in a food processor and process until the mixture forms a thick paste. Transfer to a large mixing bowl.
To the date mixture, add the oats, goji berries, cashews, coconut, chia seeds, and flaxseed meal and stir until well mixed (mixture will be very stiff.).
Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan. Place a large piece of parchment paper, waxed paper, or plastic wrap (lightly greased with coconut or vegetable oil) on top of the bar mixture and use it to spread and flatten the mixture evenly in the pan. Leave the paper or plastic wrap to cover. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour.
Using the liner, lift the mixture from the pan and transfer to a cutting board. Uncover and cut into 16 bars.