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Sweet and Spicy Chai Apple Protein Bars with Crunchy Pistachios

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Photo: Elizabeth Shaw/Shaw's Simple Swaps

If you're in the habit of grabbing a protein bar as you head out the door, the cost can really add up. Before you know it, you've spent $10 on bars in less than a week. Not to mention, some protein bars are loaded with sugar. Solution: Keep your money in your pocket and make your own hearty, crunchy protein bars that are low in sugar and loaded with flavor.

Most people still aren't meeting their daily recommended needs for dietary fiber (women need 25 grams a day, but generally speaking, most get only 15 to 18), so I decided to take a stab at making a bar that was an equal ratio of fiber to protein. This dynamic duo will satisfy your cravings and your hungry belly plus repair and replenish your hard-working muscles all in one.

I used one of my new favorite grain and seed products, but you can easily swap that out for another oat-and-grain-based breakfast blend. Just shoot for an option that has at least 20 grams of fiber in each cup.

And it wouldn't be a fall recipe without apples. Just one medium apple provides a whopping 4.4 grams of fiber.

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Photo: Elizabeth Shaw/Shaw's Simple Swaps

To add a little texture (hello crunch!), pistachios step up to the plate. Pistachios are one of the best nuts for good protein and fiber, containing 3 grams of dietary fiber and 6 grams of protein (not to mention the 11 grams of heart-healthy unsaturated fat) in only 1/4 cup. While you can use any pistachio variety you prefer, I like to save my time (and manicure) by using the pre-shelled variety from Wonderful Pistachios. (Disclaimer: I'm a brand ambassador for Wonderful.) 

Last, but certainly not least, the addition of chai tea to this recipe will make you wonder why you haven't been eating your tea instead of drinking it. You can make your own spice mix using cinnamon, ginger, cardamom, and cloves, but I often don't have all four on hand at once. So a regular chai tea bag will do just fine to add a deep layer of flavor.

You can enjoy these apple protein bars for breakfast or a snack. I recommend eating one after a workout alongside a cup of milk or 1/2 cup of Greek yogurt to get more than 14 grams of high-quality protein—exactly what your recovering muscles need.

Sweet & Spicy Chai Pistachio Protein Bars with Fall Harvest Apples

Serves 9

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup 2 percent milk
  • 2 chai tea bags
  • 1 cup Soulfull Project Gluten-Free Hearty Grains & Seeds Blend or any grain-based breakfast cereal
  • 1/3 cup quinoa, dry
  • 1/4 cup almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons nut butter
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 medium apples, chopped into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup roasted and salted, shelled pistachios, roughly chopped

Directions

  1. Heat milk in a microwave-safe mug for 45 seconds. Remove and place two chai tea bags in the milk to steep. Add two ice cubes and place in refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  2. While cooling, add grains and seeds blend and dry quinoa to a large bowl. Set aside.
  3. Remove tea bags and pour milk over grain and quinoa blend; stir together. Set mixture in the fridge for at least 1 hour to allow grains to absorb the milk.
  4. Remove from refrigerator to begin preparing bars. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  5. Add almond flour and baking powder to the wet mixture and whisk vigorously for 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in honey, nut butter, egg, and kosher salt. Next, fold in chopped apples and chopped pistachios. Continue to mix until all ingredients are uniformly combined.
  6. Pour into an 8×8-inch baking pan lined with parchment paper. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until lightly browned on top and firm to touch.
  7. Remove and let cool. Cut into 9 squares, wrap individually, and store in refrigerator for up to 7 days or freeze for up to 1 month for best consistency. (To thaw, heat for 30 seconds in the microwave.)

Nutrition facts per serving: calories 220, total fat 9g, saturated fat 1g, cholesterol 21mg, sodium 95mg, potassium 173mg, carbohydrate 32mg, fiber 6g, protein 6g

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