There is more than one month until Easter, and I started my fasting time. I totally excluded eggs and cheese, and I’m basically on a vegan diet now. I’m not doing this for religious reasons, but actually to give my body a pause from metabolising animal protein. Fasting during spring is bliss, because there are so many fresh greens available at the farmers’ market, and it’s also a great opportunity to experiment with new ingredients. I’ve had a bag of millet in my cupboard for quite a while now, and it seemed to be just the right time to make it shine on a plate!
When it comes sourcing for minerals (both trace and essential), grains, legumes and cereals are my first choice. I regularly consume oats, buckwheat, quinoa, lentils, beans of all kinds and chickpeas, but never experimented with millet, and I can’t understand why. Reading about its nutritional properties revealed it as an excellent source of magnesium, phosphorus, copper and manganese.
Minerals are essential for our bodies’ natural detoxification processes: magnesium regulates the sodium-potassium balance at the cell level and has alkalizing properties; copper is part of different proteins and enzymes with essential metabolic functions; phosphorus is an essential element of the ATP coenzyme (adenosine triphosphate), with a key role during the intracellular energy transfer, and also a component of the building blocks of DNA; while manganese is involved in fat and carbohydrate metabolism and supports collagen production.
Millet is also a good source of insoluble fiber, which speeds the intestinal transit time and reduces the secretion of bile acids, preventing gallstone formation. Insoluble fiber is also a great addition to your diet because it reduces the risk of breast cancer.
With all this information in hand, making the best of the millet in my pantry seemed like the wisest thing to do yesterday. So, it soon played a key role in these chocolate energy bars inspired from Green Kitchen Stories, which were pure bliss. Because they are loaded with magnesium and unrefined sugar from dates, they make the perfect choice for a pre-workout snack (they look a bit melted because they almost defrosted while I was photographing them). Or, because they taste delicious, you can have them as dessert. Either way, keep in mind that a diverse diet is essential for maintaining your health, and we shouldn’t be afraid to experiment with new, whole, unrefined ingredients!
Millet Chocolate Energy Bars
- 1 cup dry pitted dates soaked into purified water for at least 30 mins
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 cup mixed nuts and seeds I used walnuts, almonds and pumpkin seeds
- 1 cup puffed millet
- 1 tbsp almond butter
- For the chocolate sauce
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 tbsp cacao butter
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 4 tbsp almond milk
- you can use melted vegan chocolate chips instead if you don't have all the ingredients above
- To garnish: unsweetened desiccated coconut
- Drain the pitted dates and add them into the food processor together with the coconut oil and almond butter, then pulse to obtain a puree.
- Add the mixed nuts and seeds, and pulse one or two times to incorporate.
- Transfer the mixture into a bowl, then add the puffed millet and mix to incorporate.
- Line a baking pan (I used a 6''x10'' one) with parchment paper, then transfer the mixture into the pan and spread it evenly.
- In a small sauce pan melt the coconut oil and cacao butter, then add the cacao powder and almond milk, and mix to incorporate.
- Pour the chocolate over the nut and millet mixture, sprinkle with desiccated coconut and set aside to cool.
- Cover with a plastic foil and freeze for at least one hour before slicing and serving.
- Keep in the freezer for up to one month.