Inspired by a picture I saw on Pinterest of some tasty looking Strawberry Crumb Bars, I thought it would be fun to make a gluten free, high raw version for my family. Basic date-nut bar mixture combined with homemade gluten free granola, topped with strawberries mascerated with chia seeds to help them form a firm raw layer, then topped with crumbs from the bar base. Quick prep, a little time to chill and we were in dessert bliss.
Want a totally raw version? Omit the granola and increase the nuts to 1 cup. The bars will be thinner, but no less tasty!
No Bake Strawberry Crumb Bars
1 ½ cups pitted medool dates(about ¾ lb)
½ cup raw cashew nuts (see note)
1 cup gluten free granola or ¾ cup gluten free quick cooking oats (Bob’s Red Mill)
1 Tbsp coconut oil
½ of a banana (about ½ cup)
1 cup organic strawberries, greens removed
1 Tbsp chia seeds
*Note: pecans, walnuts and macademias should also work, but they have much stronger nut flavor. I chose cashews for their mild, creamy flavor.
Place dates, nuts, granola and coconut oil in your trusty food processor and whiz until everything is uniform in size. You’ll get something that looks like crumbs.
Remove 1 cup of this crumb mixture and set it aside.
Add the banana to the mixture remaining in the food processor and pulse a few times until you get a ball of dough. This is your crumb bar base.
Line your pan of choice with a piece of plastic wrap or parchment paper. Put the base mixture into this pan, press it to the edges and flatten it with your fingers to get an even surface. Doesn’t need to be perfect and you totally get to lick your fingers when you’re done!
Put your food processor bowl back onto the base with the blade (you don’t even need to clean it! SCORE!)
The strawberries and chia get a turn in the bowl now until you have an almost smooth, but somewhat chunky strawberry mash. Remove the blade from the bowl and use a spoon or spatula to scrape the sides and all around the bowl to ensure that those gorgeous little chia seeds are incorporated.
Spoon the strawberry chia mixture over the crumb base that you’ve already got in the pan. Spread it out so it covers that first layer.
Now, take the reserved crumb mixture and sprinkle it over the strawberry chia layer. All that’s left to do is put the whole pan in the fridge and give it a chance to firm up so you can slice it. I usually give mine an hour or more to chill. You can leave it overnight and even up to a few days if you’re making a batch in advance of a party or for snacks, etc.
To serve, I take the edges of the plastic wrap or parchment and loosen the whole bar. I wiggle it out of the pan in an air lift fashion and put the slab onto my cutting board where I decide on what size to make my servings. We like smallish squares or dainty rectanglular pieces, but you can cut into whatever size your heart desires. You could even go right at the thing with a fork… It’s all good! Not quite firm enough to pick up with your fingers…. freeze them if you want something that is finger friendly. Going the frozen route also limits your serving window to about 30 minutes from the time you plate them. Otherwise, it’s forks all around!
No matter which way you make them, Enjoy!