This is the first raw recipe I’ve ever posted to the blog, I think. It isn’t that I don’t eat raw foods regularly, but they’re mostly vegetables foraged hurriedly from the fridge: broccoli florets, rounds of zucchini, baby carrots by the bagful, dripping slices of heirloom tomato. These raw energy bars are something else entirely, of course, and a more satisfying snack. Sweet, with chewiness from the dates and coconut paired with the crunch of pistachios and pumpkin seeds, they’re a little bit crumbly. A little bit sticky.
I suppose I should say a word about the algae, right? Growing up, my mother always tried to sneak more algae into my meals: kelp dusted into stews, blue-green algae capsules in the mornings (she supplements the horses’ feed with it, too). So when I got the inspiration—if you can call it that—to make raw energy bars, and hit on the idea to make them green (my mind works in weird ways, okay?) then algae was the natural addition to achieve a truly unusual hue, plus bump up their nutritional profile significantly. The specific type I used is spirulina, a green-black algae in powder form. It’s an incredibly interesting ingredient with a Wikipedia page that’s a great read.
Spirulina was a food source for the Aztecs and other Mesoamericans until the 16th century; the harvest from Lake Texcoco and subsequent sale as cakes were described by one of Cortés’ soldiers. The Aztecs called it “techuitlatl”.
If you’re wondering, I purchased all of the ingredients for these at Whole Foods (even the hemp hearts!) so there’s a good chance you can source them at your local Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, Sprouts or Central Market.
- In a food processor, pulse the ingredients until the mixture is crumbly but beginning to come together.
- Press into an 8-inch square cake pan or glass dish.
- Chill in the refrigerator for at least an hour, then slice and serve.