Strawberry Almond Bars

Strawberries are our hearts’ best friends! They are red, and somewhat heart-shaped.  Often, they are covered with chocolate and given as gifts to those whom we love. Some may even identify strawberries as the ultimate fruit of romance. Lucky for us, strawberries really do have health benefits particularly when it comes to our heart health.

Berries are a good source of polyphenols, especially anthocyanins, micronutrients, and fiber. In clinical trials, consumption of pure anthocyanin extracts demonstrated significant improvements in LDL oxidation, lipid peroxidation, total plasma antioxidant capacity, dyslipidemia, and glucose metabolism. Even more encouraging, the benefits were alike for those with existing metabolic risk factors, as well as for healthy subjects. This evidence continues to solidify the inclusion of berries in a heart-healthy diet.

Do you know what else belongs in a heart healthy diet? Almonds! They contain a range of beneficial nutrients including vitamin E, fiber and healthy fats that increase the sense of fullness contributing to satiety, something that also explains their power in weight management health plans. Almonds are also rich in flavonoids  and may have antioxidant properties. Studies show that those consuming two portions of almonds weekly see improved blood flow and lower blood pressure, potentially reducing their risk for heart disease.

Is there a benefit in eating two super foods such as strawberries and almonds together? Indeed, there is! When you combine powerful nutrients, there is reason to believe they act together to intensify the benefits they would offer standing alone. The combination of all these nutrients working together to create overall health benefits rather than just one nutrient in isolation inspires me to create recipes combining superfood ingredients to maximize your results!

You’ll fall in love with these Strawberry Almond Bars with your first bite. They look quite exquisite when displayed on a platter for a party for example, and no one needs to know it only took you minutes to prepare them and fewer ingredients than you may think necessary. They are made with the natural sugar present in fruits,  maple syrup and no added refined sugar. I also chose to use flaxseeds, rolled oats and chia seeds to increase their omega fatty acid, fiber and vitamin content. Not strawberry season right now? No worries, the recipe works perfectly with fresh—or frozen strawberries.

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Strawberry Almond Bars

Course Breakfast, Dessert
Cuisine Gluten free, vegan
Prep Time 10 minutes
Freezer time 30 minutes
Servings 12 bars
Author Carolina Jantac, MS, RD, LD

Ingredients

Crust

  • 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds
  • 3 tablespoons of water
  • ½ cup of raw almonds
  • 2 cups of old-fashioned rolled oats
  • ½ cup of Once Again Creamy Almond Butter
  • 1 cup of Deglet Noor dates or about 12 dates

Jam

  • 1 pound of strawberries
  • 2 tablespoons of water
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 1 tablespoon of ground chia seeds

Topping

Instructions

Crust

  1. Start by adding ground flaxseed to small bowl with water; stir and let it sit for five minutes. In food processor, add dates, almond butter and pulse until it begins to form a ball-like dough. Now add in almonds and oats and pulse. The mixture will be crumbly, but it can be shaped.
  2. Transfer it to a 9x9 silicone pan, or a baking dish lined with parchment paper and press the mixture down.
  3. Use the back of a spatula to press the mixture into the pan. Set the crust in the freezer for 30 minutes.

Jam

  1. In a medium saucepan, add strawberries, maple syrup and water. Stir the mixture over medium heat until it boils.
  2. As the strawberries start to break apart, use the back of a fork to mash them. Let the mixture boil, while you stir it over medium heat for three to four minutes.
  3. Then add in the one tablespoon of ground chia. (You can grind your own chia seeds using a coffee grinder.)
  4. Add the chia slowly, while mixing. Transfer it to a bowl and place it in the refrigerator to set.

Topping

  1. First, add almonds to food processor and grind them down to a coarse-type flour. Then transfer the mixture to a bowl and add oats and almond butter. Using a fork, stir until crumbly.

Assembly:

  1. Add the strawberry jam to the crust, then finish with the topping.
  2. Return the assembled treat to the freezer for one hour.
  3. Slice bars and enjoy! Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days.

Recipe Notes

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