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Healthy Living Recipes: Vegan Pecan Bars

Sometimes a dessert calls your name loudly and clearly—maybe it’s about when you eat it (at a celebration or when you’re in an especially good mood) or maybe it’s just that perfect mixture of sweetness and texture. For at least one of our guests, the magic combination of ingredients in our Vegan Pecan Bars elicited that kind of gastronomic joy. We think that many more of you will share her enthusiasm after you give them a try.

Vegan Pecan Bars

Makes one 9-by-13-inch pan.

1 cup pecan meal (finely ground pecans)
½ cup oat flour
⅔ cup barley flour
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon sea salt
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
⅓ cup sunflower oil
⅓ cup maple syrup
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract

¼ cup potato starch
⅓ cup soy milk
1 ¼ cup organic dark sugar (Sucanat)
¾ cup brown rice syrup
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons Earth Balance
⅛ teaspoon salt
2 cups chopped pecans, lightly roasted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

To make the crust, combine the dry and wet ingredients separately. Pour wet into dry and stir to combine. Press the mixture into the baking pan. Prebake the crust for 10 minutes, until it’s lightly cooked but hasn’t started to brown yet.

For the filling, place the potato starch in a bowl and slowly add the soy milk, stirring to combine. Add the sugar and stir until it begins to dissolve. Add the rice syrup (you can substitute agave or honey), Earth Balance, vanilla, and salt. Stir to combine.

Spread filling on top of crust. Top with chopped pecans. Bake at 350 degrees until the bars are a uniformly brown color yet still retain some softness, about 20 minutes. Be careful not to overcook, as they will become brittle.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for a few minutes. Cut into bars while still warm.

Read Nutritional Commentary: Whole-Grain Goodness.

Research at the University of Minnesota showed that by simply baking all of their traditional recipes with 100 percent whole grains, study participants were able to significantly reduce their blood sugar levels over the course of the day and had better blood sugar control without altering their diet in any other way. Oats in particular are loaded with water-soluble fiber and beta-glucan, which can lower cholesterol levels.

Find more delicious and nutritious recipes in Kripalu Recipes.