Fruit and Nut Bars (vegan, paleo, gluten-free)

prune and walnut bars paleo gluten-free

Sometimes, I need an emergency snack.

Have you ever been so busy that you sat down at your desk at 8 a.m. and didn’t look up until 3 p.m.? I had that kind of week. So there wasn’t a lot of time for lunch, and I needed something to satisfy my hunger and keep me going — fast. Luckily, these bars pack plenty of protein, fiber, and sweetness, while being easy to pack and store in my desk.

There are basically three ingredients: nuts, coconut, and prunes. Yes, prunes. Because I am still working through my huge Costco-sized bags of prunes. But you can use dates, if you like, which will give these bars a little more firmness and a little more caramelized flavor.

These are remarkably similar to Larabars, but a little bit firmer than the last recipe I posted. The nut-to-fruit ratio is a little higher, I think, which helps keep these from being too sweet or moist — a necessity, since prunes are much softer than the dates typically used in bars like this one.

You should store them in the fridge to keep them a little bit firmer, but they will last a few days in your desk. Good thing, because if you have a busy week coming up, too, you’re going to want to keep a stash. Make these this weekend and be ready for Monday!

Fruit and Nut Bars
Yields 8
Simple snack for busy days
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Ingredients
  • 1 1/2 cups walnuts (or mixed nuts — I used half cashews)
  • 1 cup prunes
  • 1/4 cup flaked, unsweetened coconut plus 1 Tbsp
  • pinch of salt, cinnamon, whatever you want
Instructions
  1. Pulse walnuts in a food processor quickly, basically until chopped. Remove half a cup. Process the rest until finely ground.
  2. Keep the food processor on and add prunes one at a time. Process until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of coconut and previously set-aside nuts; pulse to just combine.
  3. Spread mixture in an 8×8 baking dish lined with waxed or parchment paper. Refrigerate until firm; cut into 8 squares. Enjoy!
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