Freshly Vegan: Spring Break road trip snackage

Don't feel like feasting on gas station food this Spring Break? We've got you covered.

All right, aspiring vegans, Spring Break is pretty much here! I’m sure you’ve all got some exciting agendas penned for your one week free of tests and homework. Personally, I’ll be adventuring between Cuse and the Gulf, and facing a couple of daunting eight hour driving days with only gas station food to tide me over. If you’re anything like me, combining a healthy, animal-free lifestyle, a severe case of wanderlust and a tight wallet means you may have to get creative with your snackage. Finding vegan fare at gas stations can be difficult. A lot of the over-processed foods have hidden and unexpected animal byproducts in them, so make sure you read all your labels carefully! Not only that, but moving from a whole foods diet to one composed entirely of those crinkly-packaged, salty snacks can make you feel ill after a while (even if they are very convenient). On that note, I present you with a pretty easy recipe for an on-the-go snack packed with protein that will satiate your hunger and won't make you feel crummy while you’re trying to enjoy the sites!

D.I.Y. Lara Bars (adapted from this recipe)

  • 2 cups raw whole almonds
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped vegan dark chocolate or chocolate chips (I recommend Trader Joe’s 70 percent cocoa dark chocolate bar)
  • 3 cups whole, pitted dates
  • 1 cup dried, unsweetened cherries
  • 2 tablespoon almond butter (or any “nut” butter you prefer)

Line a 9 x 13 straight-sided pan with a piece of parchment paper, so that the paper hangs over the long sides.

Place the almonds in your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the chocolate and pulse again until finely chopped. Place mixture into a large bowl; set aside.

Place half of the fruit in the food processor and process until a paste forms and clumps together. Add 1 tablespoon of the nut butter and 1/2 of the almond/chocolate mixture; process until evenly combined. Scrape into the prepared pan.

Repeat with the remaining fruit, nut butter and almond/chocolate mixture. Scrape into the prepared pan.

With slightly wet hands, press the mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan. Fold the excess parchment over the bars to cover and use something flat and heavy to press down firmly on the mixture until it is smooth (I used a small cutting board). Chill for at least two hours. Using the parchment paper as a guide, transfer the bars to a cutting board. Cut into desired shapes (I cut mine into 30 small-ish rectangular bars). Store, covered, in the refrigerator.

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