These triple seed cacao squares bring together the health and nutrition benefits and delicious flavors of hemp, pumpkin and sesame seeds. They make a perfect snack or treat for anyone with nut allergies or for kids to take with them to any nut-free event, including school. They are chewy and soft, yet they provide some fun textures with a gentle crunch, given the different seeds in them. They are also sure to please the chocolate lover, but can also be made in a cacao-free version.

These whole food squares are high-energy and super nutrient-dense. They are rich in protein, healthy fats, antioxidants, micronutrients and fiber. They are naturally low in sodium and have no refined sugars. They predominantly use whole-food sugars from dates, and with 16 dates used for 16 squares, each serving equates to eating one date along with a small handful of seeds. Being raw, as opposed to baked or cooked, also means that they maintain their full nutritional integrity!

Characteristics

TYPE: Snack
PREPARATION: < 5 mins
SERVING: Makes 16 squares

  • Whole food
  • 100% Plant-based (Vegan)
  • Raw
  • Organic (depending on choice of ingredients)
  • Wheat-free
  • Gluten-free
  • Peanut-free
  • Nut-free
  • Soy-free
  • Corn-free
  • Refined sugar-free

Goodies Needed

INGREDIENTS:

TOOLS:

  • Food Processor
  • Spatula
  • Glass 8-inch Square Dish

Preparation Steps

  1. Place the seeds in a food processor, and process on high speed, until broken down into smaller pieces.
  2. Add in the reminder of the ingredients, except for the water and maple syrup. (Be sure to remove the pits from your Medjool dates!) Process on high speed, until a uniform crumbly mixture results.
  3. Add in the maple syrup and water and spin for a few more seconds. Stop the food processor and test a small amount in your fingers. Mixture should stick together.
  4. Transfer the mixture into your dish and press firmly all around with your spatula to pack down the mixture. You can eat it immediately for a soft, chewy texture, or place in the refrigerator for about 1 hour (or more) for a firmer texture.

  5. Cut into 16 squares and enjoy.

  6. Store in refrigerator for short term use (within week), or in freezer for long term use.

Tips

  • You can easily make these squares cacao-free if you require or to experiment with a new flavor combination. If leaving out the cacao, I also recommend leaving out the maple syrup and water.
  • You can substitute the cacao powder for carob powder, in which case you will most likely not need the maple syrup.
  • You can also experiment with other seeds. For example, swap the pumpkin seeds for sunflower seeds for a different flavor combination.
  • Be sure to use fresh Medjool dates, which are plump and moist. Dry dates or other varieties of dates may not be ideal for this recipe, failing to make it stick together properly or requiring more water.
  • If the mixture is too crumbly and does not want to stick together enough, you can mix in another tablespoon or two of water.
  • If you cannot easily get Medjool dates, swap them for about 1.5 cups of raisins and omit the maple syrup.
  • Instead of squares, you can also cut these into bars, or if you have more time form them into balls.

Meal Health & Nutrition Benefits

Hemp Seeds

  • excellent source of healthy fats (35%) and protein (25%)
  • provide healthy carbohydrates and fiber
  • excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, including an optimal omega-3 to omega-6 ratio (1:3)
  • provide phytonutrients, antioxidants and anti-inflammatory benefits
  • provide vitamins, especially vitamin A and E, and some B vitamins
  • provide minerals, especially phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and zinc
  • support optimal health, weight, healing, and prevention
  • support healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels
  • protect against heart disease, cancers, diabetes type 2, and other chronic diseases
  • for more information, visit the hemp seed health benefits from Organic Facts

Pumpkin Seeds

  • provide healthy fats, protein, some carbohydrates, and fiber
  • provide phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory properties
  • provide vitamins, including vitamin E and most B vitamins
  • provide minerals, especially manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, copper, zinc, and iron
  • support optimal health, weight, healing, and prevention
  • support healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels
  • protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes type 2, and infections
  • for more information, visit the pumpkin seed detailed overview from World’s Healthiest Foods

Sesame Seeds / Tahini

  • provide healthy fats, protein, some carbohydrates, and fiber
  • provide phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory benefits
  • provide vitamins, especially vitamin A and most B vitamins, including folate
  • provide minerals, especially calcium, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium, iron, zinc, copper, and selenium
  • support optimal health, weight, healing, and prevention
  • support healthy blood pressure, blood sugar, and cholesterol levels
  • protect against cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes type 2, osteoporosis, and other diseases
  • for more information, visit the sesame detailed overview from World’s Healthiest Foods

Cacao (Powder, Nibs, Beans)

  • provides healthy fats, protein, some carbohydrates, and fiber
  • provides lots of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and anti-inflammatory benefits
  • provides vitamins, especially most B vitamins
  • provides minerals, especially potassium, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, iron, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium
  • supports optimal health, weight, healing, and prevention
  • contains euphoric properties (anandamide), aphrodisiac properties (arginine), anti-depressant properties (tryptophan), anti-aging properties, and helps to stimulate and balance brain activity
  • helps maintain healthy blood pressure and blood sugar
  • protects against cardiovascular disease, cancer, diabetes type 2, and other diseases
  • for more info, see the cacao benefits overview on Nutrition And You
  • Tips: This information applies specifically to pure cacao products and not any chocolate with added dairy, sugar, or other additives. Choose organic and raw pure cacao products for maximum nutrition and health benefits.

Medjool Dates

  • provide healthy carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and are virtually fat-free
  • provide phytonutrients and antioxidants
  • have anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory properties
  • provide vitamins, especially the B vitamins
  • provide minerals, especially potassium, copper, manganese, magnesium, calcium, and iron
  • support optimal health, energy, weight, healing, and prevention
  • support digestive, immune, and cardiovascular health
  • for more info, see the medjool date overview on Eco Watch

Maple Syrup

  • provides mostly simple carbohydrates (sugars) and about 20% fewer calories than honey
  • provides antioxidants and phytonutrients
  • provides trace amounts of B vitamins
  • provides minerals, especially manganese, zinc, calcium, iron, potassium, copper, and magnesium
  • serves as a good, natural sweetener option, which provides some nutrition and health benefits
  • for more info, see the maple syrup overview on organicfacts.net

Vanilla

  • provides antioxidants and phytonutrients, like vanilloids, and has anti-inflammatory benefits
  • provides some B vitamins
  • provides some minerals, especially manganese, potassium, copper, and magnesium
  • supports healing, prevention, and overall health
  • supports cardiovascular and nervous system health
  • for more information, visit the vanilla overview from Nutrition-and-You.com Tips: Use the vanilla bean directly or choose pure, natural, and organic vanilla extracts. Avoid synthetic vanilla and similar artificial vanilla products.