10 Jul Spinach Bars – Healthy Snack or Bread Substitute
Spinach Bars Ingredients
– 450 g (16oz) spinach
– 1/2 cup nuts or seeds
– 2 crushed garlic cloves
– handful fresh basil (or other herb)
– 2-3 eggs
Forget expensive energy bars, sports bars and meal replacement bars that are full of manufactured powders and other non-foods. Here you have a bar that is full of nutrients and it’s made from real food in your kitchen for a fraction of the cost. We all know how nutritious spinach is, then you’ve got protein and nutrient-rich eggs, garlic which boosts immunity in so many ways, and the healthy fats of nuts or seeds. This is a true health bar.
Mark Sisson calls this recipe Spinach Bread in his Primal Blueprint Cookbook, as you can cut it into bigger slices and use as a bread substitute to hold your meats, veggies or tuna salad, like a sandwich. We love it mainly as a snack or side dish, but have also enjoyed scooping up our scrap salads or leftover stews, or sopping up soups, like you would with bread slices. Small cut spinach bars are also great to serve with an avocado or hummus dip, instead of crackers. All my friends and clients who are mums say the best thing about these bars is that it’s the only way their kids will eat spinach. I think this may even be true for some grownups. Any way you slice it, it’s Paleo, it’s primal, it’s nutritious, easy and delicious.
– Mark Sisson’s original recipe calls for pine nuts and basil, which give the bars a pesto flavour. I find pine nuts too expensive, and therefore use whatever nuts I have on hand. I have tried almonds, walnuts, cashews, and brazil nuts. Lightly toasting the nuts in a fry pan or toaster oven gives them more flavour. To make the bars nut-free so Kaiya could take them to her daycare, I even did a batch once with sunflower seeds, and they came out great. Experiment and see what you like.
– Same goes for the basil. If you don’t have any on hand, as is often in winter, try using a different fresh herb or just omitting the herbs altogether. I once tried using thai basil from my friends garden, and it was an all new taste sensation.
– I recently found another version of this recipe on cravingsgoneclean.com where you don’t have to wilt the spinach first, if you want to try that one out too. I’m going to give it a whirl, so let’s compare notes!
– Using organic baby spinach leaves will usually be more expensive than a full bunch of organic English Spinach, so I recommend the latter, but you can use either one.
Spinach Bars Recipe
Step 1: Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Rip spinach leaves away from ribs/stems (not necessary if using baby spinach) and put in a pot. Rinse lightly and shake most water off.
Step 2: Cook spinach in the covered pot over med/low heat for a few minutes, just until wilted.
Step 3: Wrap the cooked spinach into a tea towel, cheesecloth or paper towel and squeeze out all the excess moisture.
Step 4: Pulse the nuts, garlic and herbs in a food processor until nuts are crumbled well but not completely broken down.
Step 5: Add to the food processor your wilted spinach, salt and pepper to taste. Pulse for 10 seconds.
Step 6: Stir in the eggs. Pour mixture into a shallow pan, like a slice pan or pie tin, and spread evenly.
Step 7: Bake in the oven for 25 minutes.
Step 8: Let cool, then slice into squares, rectangles or triangles of your desired size.
What nuts and herbs did you put in your spinach bars? Did you eat them as bread, snacks, or both?
Spinach Bars – Healthy Snack or Bread Substitute – July 2013