No-Bake Apricot Chia Energy Bars
No-bake apricot chia energy bars are healthy no-bake snacks that make great healthy after-school snacks for kids! Sweet and chewy, you can make these are gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, and vegan energy bars in just minutes with only six ingredients. They keep for days in the refrigerator, but these homemade energy bars also make great road trip snacks. And since they are peanut free and tree nut free, they are perfect to pack in a lunch box as an allergy-safe snack for nut-free schools and camps.
Apricot Chia Homemade Energy Bars
No-Bake Apricot Chia Energy Bars are so quick and easy that the kids and help you make them. They can measure out the dates and dried apricots and dump them into the food processor. Add the chia seeds and cinnamon, and run the food processor until everything comes together in a ball. Scrap down the sides as needed, then add your pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas) and pulse again. Lastly, add those white chocolate chips and give it a few more pulses to break them up without melting them. Then just press it all down firmly in a pan and pop the no-bake energy bars in the refrigerator.
I seriously hate driving. Not just driving. I don’t even like being in the car. As a kid, long road trips were the worst because I’d try to read a book to pass the time, but that made me so nauseous that after awhile I’d feel my tummy turning just by reading road signs. My first long drive on my own was about five hours from Central New Jersey to visit my friend in Syracuse, and every time I went, I’d drive as long as I possibly could before I stopped, would run into Subway, and then somehow eat a sub while driving, just to minimize my time in the car. A few days later when I was ready to head home, we would usually go get a big breakfast, and then I’d try to make it all the way without so much as a bathroom break.
When it was just The Hubby and I, I always made him drive. I still do, except when I take the boys on my own to make the 3 1/2 hour trek to my mom’s. And let me tell you, that’s always such a joy. Especially when the 3 1/2 hour trek takes 5 or 6 hours. When it was just The Bug, I kind of lucked out because I could easily time our trips around nap time, and he would crash and sleep almost the entire way. Oh, well except that one time when we drove down in a snowstorm, it took something like six hours, and he slept for 40 minutes.
And now it’s even more fun and excitement. The little guy clearly inherited my feelings about being in the car, and The Bug no longer naps unless he is super exhausted. So basically he spends the entire time nagging me. Ten minutes into the ride he wants a snack. Twenty minutes later he wants to know if we are still in New Jersey. Thirty minutes later he has shut his mouth just long enough for his brother to finally fall asleep. And thirty minutes after that I’m doing 70 mph on the interstate with a million other cars around, because this is Jersey, and he has to have a snack NNNOOOOOOWWWW. And BAM, the little guy is up and whining for the next 2 1/2 hours.
Not that he would have slept much longer anyway. Forty minutes is about his maximum in the car. And if he does sleep longer, Mr. I Don’t Have to Pee I Don’t Have to Pee I Don’t Have to Pee obviously DOES have to pee. Repeatedly.
Actually the best was when he didn’t have to pee until we were twenty minutes away from my mom’s with literally nowhere to stop. OMG! Both of them were screaming. “I HAVE TO PEE!” “I NEED A SNACK!” “MAMAMAMAMAMA! MA-MAAAAAAAA!” “WAAAAAHHHHH!!!!!”
Luckily, to calm the natives, food usually works. Even speeding down the highway, I can just toss them one of these no-bake apricot chia energy bars!
So I know this may seem like a random combination, but out of all of the healthy energy bars, balls and bites I’ve made, this no-bake apricot chia energy bar recipe might be my absolute favorite. OK, maybe the Funky Monkey Banana Chocolate Peanut Butter Energy Balls rank pretty high, but I’m a sucker for peanut butter and chocolate.
So, how do you make homemade energy bars?
- Keep the ingredient list short, simple, and nutrient dense. I like to stick with dried fruit, some sort of nut or seed, a superfood like chia seeds or flax seeds, and yes, I do like to sneak in a bit of chocolate for a hint of sweetness.
- Combine the ingredients (except the chocolate) in a food processor and pulse until it forms almost a thick paste, but where you can still see individual bits of each of the separate ingredients. You might need to stop the processor a few times to scrape it down with a spatula.
- Add your chocolate chunks or chips at the end and pulse just a couple times so the chocolate doesn’t melt.
- Transfer the mixture to a square pan lined with wax paper or parchment paper. Press it down firmly. One trick is to use another pan of the same size and place it on top to press the mixture tight into the pan.
- Refrigerate until firm before cutting into squares.
- These healthy energy bars will keep for several days at room temperature, and a couple weeks in the refrigerator.
Let’s talk specifically about these No-Bake Apricot Chia Energy Bars. They are definitely sweet, but the tangy apricot flavor keeps them from being too sweet. The bits of pepitas (raw pumpkin seeds) and especially the chia seeds at the perfect amount of texture. Most of the time you see chia in overnight oats (try these Hummingbird Cake Overnight Oats) or smoothies or chia pudding where is swells up and get gel-ish, but here it’s like little bits of crunch.
I like just a little bit of white chocolate for a creamy bit to balance the fruit, but if you don’t want the added sugar (though it is only a bit), you could leave out the white chocolate chips. Though I wouldn’t recommend that. 😉
What I would recommend, though, is making a batch of these to bring along when you are in the car, at the park, anywhere on-the-go, because they are super portable, super tasty, but not super messy. Always a good thing when you are stuck in a car with two cranky kids.
So now that you’ve bought that big bag of chia seeds to make these Apricot Chia Bars, I know you are wondering…
What can I make with chia seeds?
- Apricot Coconut Energy Balls
- Triple Berry Coconut Chia Pudding Parfaits
- Dark Cocoa Superfood Granola
- Lemon Blueberry Chia Seed Vinaigrette
Plus here are a few from my friends…
- Breakfast Chia with Quinoa and Cinnamon from Rachel Cooks
- Strawberry Chia Seed Jam from Spoonful of Flavor
- Overnight Quinoa-Chia Chocolate Breakfast Pudding from Boulder Locavore
What do you need to make homemade energy bars?
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Here’s the No-Bake Apricot Chia Energy Bars Recipe…
It’s fast, it’s easy, and the healthy snacks are portable and packable for school, camp, road trips, or just a outing to the park. Or keep them in the fridge for when the afternoon hunger pangs start. Just grab the six ingredients, your food processor, and a pan, then make these easy snack bars. They are sweet and tangy with just a hint of crunch, but are free from peanuts, tree nuts, dairy (if you get dairy-free chips), and gluten.
It only takes minutes to make this sweet and chewy snack with just a bit of crunch. Perfectly portable, plus they are gluten free, vegan, and nut-free.
- Line a 8x8 or 9x9 square pan with wax or paper.
- Place dates, apricots, chia seeds and cinnamon in a food processor, and process until the mixture forms a large mass.
- Break up slightly with a spatula, add pepitas to the mixture in the food processor, and pulse until there are small chunks of pepitas.
- Break up the mixture one more time, add white chocolate chips and pulse a few times to slightly break and distribute the chips.
- Press the mixture into the prepared pan. You can cover the top with more paper and press an equal sized pan to roll the top with a glass to flatten completely.
- Refrigerate for 30-45 minutes, then slice into bars or squares.