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Chocolate Puffed Amaranth Bars are a perfect vegan, gluten-free, and a healthy snack or protein bar perfect for your mid-morning or evening snack. These bars are no-bake and sugar-free. I.e. it does not contain any form of white or processed sugar.
What is Amaranth
Amaranth also called Rajgira in Hindi is a gluten-free grain. It has been commonly used in Asian Cuisine and especially in India for years. It is one of the grains which is allowed and consumed during the fasting/vrat/upvas days in India.
Amaranth is rich in protein, fiber, and other nutrients. It may aid in weight loss due to its high fiber and protein cooked. It is easy to cook and can be added to a variety of dishes. Rajgira or Amaranth chiiki or laddu is a very common snack in India. Rajgira Paratha, pakoda, kadhi (Recipe coming up next month), and pancakes are other common recipes using Amaranth.
How to cook Amaranth
Rajgira or Amaranth grain needs to be cooked before. One can either soak and sprout it which helps in easier digestion. Another option is to pop or puff the Amaranth grains and use them to make different recipes. The puffed-up Amaranth grains can be then milled to form a flour. Flour can be used in different recipes. The flour also acts as a thickener in soups or stews.
Puffed up Amaranth can be added to smoothies or your fruit bowls. Porridge and bread are other healthier breakfast options using Amaranth. Amaranth can easily be puffed up at home. Once puffed, the flour can be at home. I would be soon coming up with the post on how to do the same.
Ingredients used in Today’s recipe of Chocolate Puffed Amaranth Bars
The first main Ingredient is Amaranth, which is naturally gluten-free and I have already detailed it above.
The second ingredient used is the recipe is Cocoa Powder. I have added cocoa powder here to add to the chocolate taste as well as appeal it to my kids. Anything with chocolate always is a win-win with me and my kids. Try to use raw cacao powder or organic cocoa powder.
To add sweetness to these bars, I have used Soft Dates. Dates have natural sugar in them. They are a rich source of fiber and are also a rich source of carbs and hence high in calories. Growing kids need the required carbs and hence it is good to add it in natural sugar form. People who cannot eat sugar or who are on their weight loss journey can eat these bars but in moderation.
The next ingredient is Dried Cranberries. The cranberry adds a nice crunch as well as a little bit of tart as well as sweet flavor to the bars. Again this is a rich source of carbs and fiber.
Next is Pumpkin and Flax Seeds which are tiny seeds packed with healthy fats and nutrients. They are called as one of the superfoods. Flax Seeds are rich in dietary fiber and help in gut health. Regular consumption of flax and pumpkin seeds also helps in regulating blood sugar levels. Hence it is a good idea to add them with Dates in this recipe.
It is best to consume these Flax Seeds in powder form rather than whole seeds. Pumpkin and Flax Seeds can be topped up in your salads or smoothie bowls. Pumpkin seeds can be either eaten raw or roasted and consumed salted or unsalted.
Coconut Oil is used to provide the necessary binding. It also adds to the fat content of the recipe. One can use any flavorless oil if required.
Lastly, I added Almond Flakes. I added it for crunch as well as for the fat content. The other reason was also to give some nice contrasting colours to my bars.
I have added a tiny bit of salt for taste and drizzled the bars with melted Dark Chocolate. Chocolate is purely for decoration and completely optional.
Chocolate, Millet & Energy Bite Recipes
I like to add chocolate or cocoa powder in many of my healthy recipes. As said earlier it is appealing to the kids. So as in my recipe for this Beetroot and Dates Energy bites where I have added some cocoa powder. It is healthy with beetroot and is again sugar-free.
Then this No-Bake Chocolate Weetabix Energy Slice which is healthy and delicious after school snacks or treats. If you are looking for more such recipes, you can try this Dates & Nuts Energy bites (With oats) or this Sugarfree Khajoor roll or Sugarless Ragi Ladoos
This Egg-less, Butter-less, chocolate Ragi Brownie incorporates the millet, that is Ragi flour and cocoa powder and this is a healthy and a filling smoothie which has the goodness of Ragi, Banana and Dates.
Another reason for me to add cocoa powder in these protein bars is the current month theme for our group, Shhhhh Cooking Secretly Challenge, which is chocolate, my favorite. The theme is suggested by the admin of the group Mayuri Patel from Mayuri’s Jikoni.
Mayuri Ji has a wonderful blog that has recipes from all over the world. I am in love with her recent Chocolate Modak recipe, and I would love to make this healthy and gluten-free version of halwa, i.e. Almond and Chocolate Halwa.
If you are a regular follower of my blog, you must be knowing that in this group we are paired against each other. So this month my partner was Poonam from Annapurna. Poonam gave me 2 secret ingredients as Dates and Almond Flakes and I made these Chocolate Puffed Amaranth Bars.
I gave Poonam her secret ingredients as Jaggery and Vanilla Essence and she made this Ragi Chocolate Pancakes. Before I proceed further to my recipe check out Poonam’s No-Bake Chocolate Swiss Roll recipe which can be easily done at home with minimum ingredients.
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So here goes the recipe of Chocolate Puffed Amaranth Bars
Chocolate Puffed Amaranth Bars (Vegan, Gluten Free, No-Bake)
- Food Processor/Grinder
- 2 Cups 200 grams Popped/Puffed Amaranth
- 1 Cup 150 grams Soft pitted Dates
- ½ Cup 80 grams Dry Cranberry
- 4 Cup 40 grams Pumpkin seeds
- 1 tablespoon 20 grams Flax Seeds
- ¼ Cup 30 gram Cocoa Powder
- ½ Cup 51 grams Almond Flakes
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2-4 tablespoon of Coconut oil or any flavorless oil
- Chocolate a few pieces to drizzle (optional)
- Grease an 8*8 inch baking tray or any tray with oil and keep it aside.
- In a wide bowl add the Popped/Puffed Amaranth
- In a food processor add in the pitted dates, cranberry, flax seeds, cocoa powder.
- Process it until it forms like a lump and the dates are almost chopped completely.
- Now add the processed mixture into the Amaranth bowl.
- Next add in pumpkin seeds, salt, and almond flakes and give everything a nice mix.
- Add in the coconut oil a tablespoon at a time just enough to bind the ingredients.
- One should be able to form a small ball/truffle/ladoo when everything is combined.
- Pour the mixture on the prepared tray and tap/press all over to form a uniform layer.
- Refrigerate for 2-3 hours.
- Cut into desired pieces and enjoy.
- Store it in an airtight container.
- 1 Cup = 235 ml, 1 tbsp= 15 ml, 1 tsp = 5 ml
- Use a soft variety of dates. They are sweeter and help in binding too.
- It might have a tendency to soften in warmer environments. So one can keep it refrigerated.
- Instead of pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds can be used
- Cranberry can be replaced by raisins.
- Coconut oil can be replaced by any flavorless oil.
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