Superfood in the spotlight: Goji berries

Posted in Nutrition

Goji berries have been enjoyed for centuries; originally hailing from China and the Himalayas. They’re loved for their healing and medicinal properties as much as they are their sweet taste.

Raw, dried or cooked; the goji berry can be consumed in a variety of ways. Mostly, it’s consumed dried in salads, in herbal teas or blitzed up in juices. Benefits of the berries include revved-up weight loss, better sleep and an induced a sense of calmness.

The taste of goji berries is slightly sharp - and just on the right side of sweet. It’s also very rich in nutrients, antioxidants, trace minerals, essential amino acids, Vitamin C, and beta-carotene.

As with any other ingredient, moderation is the key to a healthy diet. And there are plenty of delicious recipes out there where you can include goji berries.

We’re craving this sweet amaranth, almond, date, goji bar with carob recipe from goodnessis.com. With this particularly special mix of ingredients, it could definitely be considered a superfood bar.

Carob and goji bar recipe

Ingredients:

Makes 8 large rectangular bars/16 square
Note: If amaranth is hard to find, replace with popped quinoa.

For the amaranth bars:

  • 1 cup popped amaranth (¼ cup amaranth needed for 1 cup popped)
  • 100g de-seeded soft pitted medjool dates (about 5 large dates)
  • 1 tbsp extra virgin coconut oil, melted
  • ½ cup almond butter, store-bought or home-made
  • pinch salt
  • zest from 1 large lemon
  • 1 ½ tsp freshly grated ginger
  • 2 tbsp coconut flakes
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped almonds
  • 3 tbsp finely chopped dried goji berries plus 1 tbsp (for garnish)
  • 1 tbsp dried shredded coconut (for garnish)

For the carob coating:

  • 2 tbsp coconut oil
  • ¼ cup carob powder
  • ¼ cup maple syrup
  • ½ tsp vanilla essence (optional)

Method:

  1. Warm a small heavy-bottomed pot with a lid over high heat for 2 minutes. Add 1 tbsp of amaranth and cover the pot immediately.
  1. Count 5 seconds and shake pan; you will hear the grain popping rapidly. Shake again, or until all the grains have popped.
  1. Quickly transfer to a bowl. Repeat with remaining amaranth, 1 tbsp at a time. Set aside.
  1. For the bars, line a 7-inch x 7-inch square dish with baking paper. Place dates in a bowl and mash with a fork. If your dates are not soft, soak them in water for a few minutes, then drain well and proceed to mash.
  1. Add the melted coconut oil, almond butter, salt, lemon zest, ginger and coconut flakes. Mix well, pushing down with the back of a fork until combined.
  1. Add the amaranth, chopped almonds and 2 tbsp of dried goji berries, incorporating everything evenly. The mixture may seem dry, but this is fine as it will be packed tightly in the dish.
  1. Using your hands or the back of a spoon, press the mixture very tightly into the lined dish until completely even and flat. Place in the fridge while preparing the carob coating.
  1. For the carob coating, melt the coconut oil in a small saucepan then turn off the heat. Add the maple syrup and carob powder, then mix with a small whisk or fork until smooth.
  1. Stir in the vanilla essence and set aside. Remove the amaranth slice from the fridge, then, using a spatula, spread the carob coating evenly over the slice. Sprinkle with the remaining dried goji berries and shredded coconut.
  1. Place in the fridge for at least an hour until cold and firm. Remove and cut into bite-sized squares or rectangular bars cut into bite-sized squares using a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container in the fridge. The bars will keep up to 2 weeks.

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Posted in Nutrition