Larabars… while convenient and yummy… have two problems!
Problem #1: They’re expensive at $1ish per bar. A couple of them, no big deal. But if you’re traveling or supplying a family regularly with this snack, the cost really adds up!
Problem #2: While they are made with whole foods, the nuts are not soaked. Which means the anti-nutrients of phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors that we’ve discussed before can cause digestion and nutrition issues.
(Also, the ingredients are not organic.)
So… if you make your own, they will hands-down be much healthier AND if you use the nuts, seeds, and fruits that are most readily available and inexpensive in your area, you can save a lot over buying the ready-made Larabars. It’s a win-win!
What Does Enzyme-Rich Mean?
I call these homemade Larabars “enzyme-rich” because two of the key ingredients — raw dates and nuts — are excellent sources of digestive enzymes.
Since the original Larabar recipe calls for unsoaked nuts, my homemade bars are not only less expensive, but also much more nutritious. They are rich in digestive enzymes instead of enzyme inhibitors.
You can read more about digestive enzymes, why they're important, and which foods have them here.
How To Choose Ingredients
Use raw, organic ingredients wherever possible.
Fruits: Choose organic unsulphured dried fruits dehydrated at low temperatures (115 degrees Fahrenheit or less). If you use figs for the “other” dried fruit, you'll have chosen another enzyme-rich dried fruit! Choose dates that haven't been coated in oat flour. Choose dried fruits that haven’t had oils or sugar added.
Nuts/Seeds: Start with raw, organic nuts and seeds. Then soak and dehydrate them into “crispy” nuts/seeds.
Enzyme-Rich Homemade Larabars
I use soaked and dehydrated nuts in these homemade Larabars, making them a digestive enzyme-rich food! Adapted from this recipe.
- 1 cup dates pitted, chopped
- 1 cup dried fruit such as raisins, dried cherries, figs, dried apricots, etc.
- 1 1/2 tablespoons cocoa powder optional
- 1 pinch sea salt
- 1 1/3 cup crispy nuts such as almonds
- 1/3 cup add-ins such as unsweetened shredded coconut, soaked and dehydrated seeds, chocolate shavings or chips (not Paleo or Whole30 compliant), etc.
- pure water additional, if needed
Process dates, dried fruit, cocoa powder and sea salt in food processor until all chopped up. It will be like a thick paste, and perhaps even roll up into a ball.
Remove from food processor to a bowl.
Put nuts (and seeds or coconut, if using) in the food processor.
Process until a coarse meal.
Break up the fruit paste into chunks and add back to the food processor.
Add chocolate shavings or chips (if using).
Process to incorporate all ingredients. It may roll up into a ball.
Press with your finger – does it hold together? If not, add additional water, tablespoon by tablespoon to achieve this.
Press the dough into a stainless steel 8-inch square cake pan.
Refrigerate for 15 to 30 minutes until hardened sufficiently for easy cutting.
Bring out of refrigerator and cut into bars. I do 18 bars — 6 rows of 3 bars each. Each bar is 1 inch by 2 inches.
Store the pan of bars in the refrigerator, covered tightly so they don’t dry out.
Or wrap each bar individually and store in the refrigerator for an easy grab-and-go snack!
Enjoy! Do you have a favorite homemade Larabar recipe? What flavors do you like?
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