This gluten-free and vegan chocolate cherry chia bread has the texture and a little bit of the flavour of a sprouted bread (according to the testers I asked). But it’s a little sweeter, a cross between a date bar and a banana bread. It’s great on its own, but would be lovely with some nut butter smeared on there and a few slices of fresh banana, too.
And it’s not terribly sweet and indulgent, either. The only refined sugar is found in the small amount of semi-sweet chocolate chips. You can leave those out…but do you really want to? Use an organic brand with just a few ingredients and you’re golden – or try using raw cacao nibs for that chocolate-y taste.
The squares will keep at room temperature for a few days, but are better stored in the fridge and then brought to room temperature to serve in the warmer months. You could freeze them in individual portions and defrost them later – but really, I don’t think they’ll be around long enough for it to matter.
- 1 cup rolled oats, ground to flour in a high speed blender or food processor
- ¼ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup chia seeds or chia powder
- ½ cup cacao powder
- ½ cup walnuts, roughly chopped
- ½ cup dried cherries, roughly chopped
- ½ cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (optional, but highly recommended)
- ½ tsp fine grain sea salt
- 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 cup water
- ¾ cup packed Medjool dates (pitted)
- 1 large banana (or 2 smaller ones)
- Preheat the oven to 350.
- Line the bottom of a 9x11 inch baking pan with parchment paper and grease the sides lightly.
- Measure all ingredients except water, dates and banana into a large bowl and stir to mix well.
- Add water, dates and banana to your blender and blend until the mixture looks like caramel sauce. If your dates are drier or you don't have a high-speed blender, you may want to soak them in boiling water for 10 minutes first, drain, then proceed to blend.
- Add the date/banana mixture to the dry ingredients and stir to mix well.
- Pour/scoop the batter into the prepared pan, spreading as evenly as possibly and smoothing the top. Tap the pan on the counter a few times to help the batter settle evenly.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Let cool in the pan 10-20 minutes, then cover the pan with a cookie sheet and overturn it to release the bread.
- Let cool completely before cutting into squares. Will keep a day or two on the counter, a week in the fridge or a few months in the freezer.