On our recent trip to Austin I had two stasher bags with snacks in my backpack. One filled with the protein version of my tigernut cookies, and the other filled with these dark chocolate clusters. Obviously my snacking priorities lie with chocolate. It can be a tough-y to find wholesome snacks when out and about, and I’m so grateful for packable recipes like these to have as “travel buddies”. One of my favorite nights we had in Austin was the night we stayed in, we cuddled up under the same blanket on the couch, put on a hockey game, and busted out the bag of these seedy nut clusters. Can you say “homebodies” *wink wink*. There is just something special about doing exactly what you love doing at home in a comfy house that isn’t your own, and in a city you don’t know. You’re free from all of life’s distractions and responsibilities and can just hang.
I have the amazing Shelly from Vegetarian Ventures to thank for this recipe creation. These clusters hail from her new cookbook, Vegetarian Heartland, which is available for pre-order now (woot woot!). Shelly has a way with intertwining food and life, and her cookbook is a perfect portrayal of this. In a little note with her cookbook, Shelly mentioned to me that she thought I would particularly like the Camping section. I stopped dead in my tracks when I flipped to the page that said “dark chocolate seedy nut clusters”, and wouldn’t you know – its the first recipe in the Camping chapter. Does this gal know me or what? Of course when it called for a bar of dark chocolate, I decided to make my own, but I have both measurements for you below to choose from – either is a stellar decision, just as long as you enjoy these ASAP.
If you’ve followed Shelly, you know she is basically the midwest vegetarian queen, and this book is an extension of her true talents in this arena. Organized by experience, you have sections like Picnic, Fruit Picking, Playing in the Snow, and another fave – Road Trip. Although this cookbook is more-so suited for vegetarians, it has inspiration for entirely plant based folks too. Other recipes such as her trail mix cookies, wild rice sliders, and smoky maple baked beans fall into the latter category – and of course these clusters. Intertwined with beautiful lifestyle photography, as well as photos of the food, this book will make you want to gather everyone you know in the kitchen and head out for a little afternoon adventure. I love the video she made for her cookbook too, which you can watch here.
Many of you who watched my stories on Instagram the other day know that I am embarking on a thirty day low-lectin diet to see what effects it has on my digestive issues. It may work, it may not, but I have nothing to loose! After hearing both positive and not-so-positive feedback from a few of you, I wanted to take a moment to say I’m not here to say what you should do, I’m only here to share a little of what I’m trying for my own reasons. So please take everything I say with a grain of salt and a dose of perspective. After two and a half years of digestive issues, four doctors, and over a dozen semi-helpful/mostly unhelpful tests – I’m willing to give anything a go for thirty days to see what happens. You have to listen to your body and your needs, always. If you’d like, you can read more about the man behind the movement at the moment, Dr. Gundry, here – and listen to a great interview with him over on Jessica’s podcast from last week as well (I’m reading his book, Plant Paradox, for my info). These cluster’s are lower-lectin, but not completely low-lectin. I couldn’t pry myself away from my precious sprouted pepitas just yet when I was shooting these, but have notes below on substitutions I’ve made since. Use whatever the heck you love and makes you feel amazing, okay? – xx
DARK CHOCOLATE SEEDY NUT CLUSTERS
Makes 25 small, or 10 big clusters.
In a double boiler set over simmering water, melt the chocolate (or make my homemade chocolate in the notes below). Remove from the heat. Add the apricots, macadamia nuts, hemp hearts, pepitas, and salt and fold together until everything is evenly coated in chocolate.
Scoop the batter, 1 tablespoon at a time (I made mine larger), onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Refrigerate until the chocolate is hardened (about 30 minutes), or have them “quick set” in the freezer for half the time. Store in an airtight jar in the fridge for up to one week. (In my experience, these travel well without refrigeration.)
Very slightly adapted from Vegetarian Heartland, reprinted with permission from the publisher.
NOTES: I made mine using my homemade chocolate method, if you’d like to too here it is: melt 1 cup of raw cacao butter in the double boiler; remove from the heat and add 1/2 cup of coconut sugar plus 1/4 teaspoon ground vanilla bean; whisk well and add 1 cup raw cacao powder. Proceed with adding the mix-ins, and set as instructed above. For a low-lectin version, replace the pepitas with additional chopped macadamias (or chopped walnuts/almonds/pecans).
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