Strawberry Cherry Apple Chia Bars
We here at Our Sweetly Spiced Life are planners. Our days run best when we know what we’re trying to get done and outline the steps to get there. We also plan out or meals a week at a time, so we can do all the shopping at once. Every so often, however, we have one of those evenings where we don’t feel like cooking what we’ve planned or would rather grab something simple and quick. This can prove tricky at the stores nearby. Inevitably, we end up wandering the aisles, trying to decide what sounds good from our limited options. If you’ve ever had a night where you’re sitting around asking each other “what do you want for dinner?” you know what I mean.
One particular evening we had exhausted the options at the local grocery store, had ruled out the limited restaurants and fast food chains in the area, and wound up (not exactly sure how) at CVS. You can probably picture the selection we discovered, and maybe you can relate to our night of indecisiveness. By this point I was pretty much ready to just grab whatever and be done with it, but Joelle was struggling to find anything that sounded good. After what I have to imagine was an internal struggle of epic proportions, she settled on boxed mac n’ cheese and oreos (we always do so well eating healthy when we have these nights).
Selections in hand, we stood in the checkout line forever (as always seems the case when you’re starving) and perused the impulse buy display. Amongst the candy and such we came across these Pressed by Kind bars. Our interest piqued; we studied the labels more closely. Delicious sounding fruit combinations, check. Good solid ingredients, check. No artificial flavors, added sugars, or weird ingredients we couldn’t pronounce, check! We had to try them (despite their $2 a bar price tag). We grabbed three different flavors, finally checked out, and made it home.
Once home we opened up one to try it, and they were incredible. They had awesome flavor, a great texture, and we still couldn’t believe the only ingredients were fruits and Chia Seeds. Our throw-together dinner that we had grabbed from CVS seemed pretty lame in comparison to our checkout-line discovery. I’m pretty sure we ate all three of the bars we bought that evening they were so good. Wanting more of these (without breaking our bank) we set out to make our own versions.
These chia fruit bars are packed with delicious, ripe fruits and loaded up with protein, fiber, and fats (omega-3 included) from chia seeds. They’re perfect for a quick snack at home or for fueling up between meals while out and about. We love to take them on hiking trips as well since they don’t need to be refrigerated and don’t take up a lot of room. They are great healthy munchies for car trips, delicious pick-me-ups during a marathon day of shopping, and are perfect to grab a quick bite at school between classes when I just can’t make it until my lunch break.
When making these bars, be sure to plan plenty of time for them to dehydrate (or bake). We use our Excalibur Food Dehydrator, but you can use the oven as well if you prefer. Food process the ingredients (not too much, or you’ll make leathers instead of bars), pour the slightly chunky puree out into a baking pan or mold, and set the dehydrator to temp. If you can get your hands on Silicone Cake Molds, these work wonders for forming the bars and helping to speed up cooking time. Rimmed baking sheets work as well, but allow extra time since the airflow can’t reach the bottom of the bars like it can with the molds. Once the puree has set up, remove the mold, and flip the bars over. Then continue cooking until done! The texture we end up with isn’t a perfect imitation of the Pressed by Kind bars, but it’s delicious and pretty close to the original! If you want to speed up dehydrate time, blend the ingredients until smooth instead, and pour thin, even layers on multiple ParaFlexx Sheets. Dehydrate, flipping over and removing the teflon sheets when the top has set up well, and keep an eye on the time, as leathers will finish much faster!
Make sure you’ve got what you need for your chia bars!
- 1 3/4C Strawberries
- 1 1/3C Cherries, seeds and stems removed
- 1 1/2 Apples (fuji, gala, or similar), roughly chopped
- 4tsp chia seeds
- If using frozen fruit, thaw.
- Add strawberries, cherries, and apples to food processor.
- Process until fruit is combined and the mixture is slightly chunky.
- Add chia seeds. Stir to combine.
- Pour mixture into mold on dehydrator sheet lined with teflex.
- Dehydrate at 125F for 4 hours; then remove the mold.
- Dehydrate another 2.5 hours, then flip bars over and onto dehydrator tray without teflex and peel away the teflex from the bars.
- Continue dehydrating until done, approximately 11.5 more hours.
- If you'd rather make fruit leathers, process or blend fruit until completely smooth, add chia, then pour the mixture in thin, even sheets on teflex-lined trays. Dehydrate until done (will not take anywhere near as long as bars).
- You can likely make these into leathers using parchment lined baking sheets and baking at 200. We haven't done this personally, so keep an eye on them for time; you may want to flip them over partway through.
- We do not recommend baking the bars, as we've found that in order to keep them thick but not burning/browning too much on the outside, the temp needs to be pretty low, causing them to take almost 12 hours in the oven... not an ideal scenario for sure. The flavor isn't as intense in the oven either. We definitely recommend dehydrating these!
- These will come out a bit thinner than the Pressed by Kind bars they're inspired by, but they are incredibly tasty! We didn't want to make the dehydration time even longer, so we went with this thickness.
- 9 Easy Healthy Snacks
- Mango Jalapeno Salsa
- Coconut Chips 5 Ways
- Chilled Peach Soup
- Lychee Cherry Blender Ice Cream (non-dairy!)
What other fruit combinations would you love in a chia fruit bar? Let us know down in the comment section. Be sure to check us out on Facebook and subscribe here so you’ll never miss a new post!
Until next time, enjoy the journey!
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