Tahini-Date Granola Bars, with Dried Apricots. A strong start.

Tahini-date granola bars are chewy, nutty, and have that delicious tangy dried fruit flavor with dried apricots. The tahini combines great with peanut butter, but you can do all tahini, leave out the almonds and go nut-free. Have fun and add other dried fruits, nuts, and seeds–just be sure to keep the same proportions so the bars hold together, We can’t live without these!

Tahini date granola bars, Maureen Abood

Perhaps it was the way the light was streaming in through the window. Or that my mind’s usual distractions took a moment of reprieve to notice what was what. Whatever it was, I saw it clear as day one morning last fall.

I was, undeniably: Out. Of. Shape.

I argued with myself over the situation. No WAY this was happening! I eat a LEBANESE diet! It’s so healthy! I skip some meals! I’m on the go! I run! I lift weights!

Ingredients for tahini granola, Maureen Abood

Tahini honey for granola bars, Maureen Abood

Or do I? When I reviewed the prior 10 months of book and Market-launch lock-down, I realized my exercise routine had become far from routine. It was once a week, maybe twice. Maybe.

Plus, there was the mint chip. Every walk we made into town in Harbor Springs last summer seemed to include my mint chip cone. My Lebanese mint-lovin’ self couldn’t quit it.

So when I headed back downstate for the fall, I forced myself to follow Dan’s workout routine. The guy is a machine; he’s not satisfied unless he gets his exercise fix not once, but twice a day (weights in the morning, a run in the evening, thank you very much). He wouldn’t let me out of it, either.

Toasted Almonds for granola, Maureen Abood

Chopped ingredients for bars, Maureen Abood

Tahini Date Granola Bars, Maureen Abood

We started in with Justin the Trainer. Justin is one Solid Dude. We’re talking military tough. He put us through the paces, always first thing in the morning, and Dan barely broke a sweat. I, on the other hand, was queasy in the corner.

The whole thing brought back bad memories of my childhood efforts at athletics. There was the failed swim test when I couldn’t go the full length of the Olympic-sized pool (hey! I was really small!). There was the Presidential Physical Fitness mile run that I had to walk, last one over the finish line (scarring). Thank goodness I have a sister, an athletic star, who has always believed in me no matter what, and told me so when it came to a golf or tennis swing, which she called “a natural” . . . if I’d just spend some time on it . . ..

35 pounds, Maureen Abood

Barbell, Maureen Abood

Lulu color, Maureen Abood


You need to eat something before we work out
, Justin told me when I got the head spins. In other words: you need to toughen up, girl. He tried to hold me to it, asking what I ate before our session every time I started to turn green. He suggested fruit, nuts, that sort of thing. Sometimes I ate a bite or two of banana. Most of the time I ate nothing.

Then, we started pushing ahead. In between the pain, I felt the gain. I found if I ate a little something before and a little something after, I could do a lot more than I ever thought possible. I started playing with breakfast bars, like the ones Trisha brought over that we could not stop eating. Nutty, chewy, fruity—they’re the kind of delicious that makes you excited when you wake up and know you get to eat another one.

Extra Fancy Apricots, MaureenAboodMarket.com

Tahini Date Granola Bars, Maureen Abood

The other day Justin told me to grab the 35 lb. barbell. You’re graduating, he said. When my eyes got huge in both fear and excitement, he reminded me of where I was when we started. He asked what I’d eaten that morning, and I told him about the granola bars.

You got this, he said. And he was right.

Tahini-Date Granola Bars

Maureen Abood
The tahini combines great with peanut butter here, but you can do all tahini, substitute the almonds for pepitas, and go nut-free. Have fun and add other dried fruits, nuts, and seeds--just be sure to keep the same proportions so the bars hold together.
Servings 20 bars, depending on how large or small you cut them

Ingredients
  

  • 2 cups pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup honey, agave syrup, or maple syrup
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 3 tablespoons peanut butter
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 3 cups old fashioned oats, toasted
  • 1 cup almonds, toasted and coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup desiccated (unsweetened) coconut flakes
  • 1 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped

Instructions
 

  • Line a 13x9x2-inch pan with parchment paper, creating a sling by letting it hang over the long sides by a couple of inches. Process the dates to a paste in the food processor, or chop finely by hand (processing is best).
  • In a small saucepan, combine the honey, tahini, peanut butter, and salt. Warm over low heat until heated through and smooth, stirring occasionally. Add the date mixture and continue heating and stirring occasionally until smooth.
  • In a large bowl, combine the oats, almonds, coconut, and apricots. Pour the tahini-date mixture over top and stir to combine, which can take a couple of minutes.
  • Spread granola mixture in the prepared pan, using a piece of wax paper to press and flatten it evenly. Chill for about 15 minutes, then cut into bars. The bars will last fine at room temperature, in the open air, for a couple of weeks and remain soft and chewy.
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20 Comments

  1. Helen Corey on March 11, 2016 at 10:14 AM

    Want to make bars for grandkids but they want calorie count with everything they eat. Telling the Middlerastern food doesn’t come with calorie count doesn’t persuade them to eat. Do you have calorie count on a bar?

    • Maureen Abood on March 12, 2016 at 9:46 AM

      I don’t have the count on these–I’m sure they are caloric with the tahini, nuts, and dried fruit. But a little bit won’t hurt them! And they’re healthy calories!

  2. Jill Silverman Hough on March 11, 2016 at 12:52 PM

    You go, girl! Thanks for the inspiring story, and the delicious-looking recipe. I’m putting it on my to-do list. 🙂

    • Maureen Abood on March 12, 2016 at 9:45 AM

      Thanks Jill! Hope you like these as much as we do!

  3. Sabrina on March 12, 2016 at 6:45 PM

    These bars sound so delicious! The tahini must make them amazing 🙂

  4. Danica on March 16, 2016 at 4:22 PM

    I saw this recipe earlier this week and knew I had to make it!

    I recently got this chai spice blend off of etsy and waited for it to come in the mail before making it. I included 1 tsp of the blend into the recipe and it really puts them over the top! I would highly recommend it!
    https://www.etsy.com/listing/263470098/medicinal-masala-chai-blend

    Thank you for this recipe… seriously so yummy!

    • Maureen Abood on March 17, 2016 at 11:31 AM

      Nice idea, thank you!

  5. Jenny on March 16, 2016 at 4:37 PM

    This looks very tasty. I have everything in the cupboard except apricots.
    My tahini tastes a little bitter. Is that normal or is it just cheap tahini?

    • Maureen Abood on March 17, 2016 at 11:31 AM

      Some tahini–or rather, many–are bitter. Try Joyva or Al Kanater. I use a Lebanese imported tahini, Lebanon Valley, in my hummus kits at Maureen Abood Market.

  6. Marie on March 17, 2016 at 6:36 AM

    These look and sound delicious.i am going to figure the calories and the protein by adding it all up and dividing. When I make ajwee, I used to grind the dates, now I use the date paste from my local Lebanese store. Can you suggest how much paste I would use to be equivalent to 2 cups of dates?
    Love your book!

    • Maureen Abood on March 17, 2016 at 11:29 AM

      Thank you Marie! I use the baking dates sometimes too! The package I use is 13 oz, which works fine as a substitute for the 2 cups of dates.

  7. Mary on July 7, 2016 at 8:57 AM

    Toasting the oats…any certain way you like to do that?

    • Maureen Abood on July 22, 2016 at 11:24 AM

      Toast as you would nuts, at 350 for about 10 minutes!

  8. Kate Goodman on August 15, 2016 at 5:30 AM

    I have a very similar recipe which I love – I finish the bar with a layer of dark chocolate. I often find that our dates are quite dry, so I soak in boiling water for 20 minutes, then blend in the food processor. I don’t use coconut, usually chia seeds and sometimes ground linseed.

  9. Wade on September 5, 2016 at 2:54 PM

    I have a very similar recipe for a Sweet and Spicy Tahini Granola on my website. I also drew on my Lebanese heritage to come up with the recipe. The spiciness may mean it will not be to everyone’s taste but it is delicious, and does not go soft. For a twist, I added dark chocolate chunks and sour cherries!

  10. Cynthia Nagy-Dejenariu on October 25, 2016 at 11:11 AM

    Just made these this past week – absolutely delicious! Just wondering if anyone has come up with an estimated calorie count on these.

    Thanks Maureen – I always enjoy your blog and recipes!

    Cynthia
    Halifax, NS, Canada

  11. Rachel on October 7, 2019 at 11:17 PM

    I’ve been trying many recipes for no refined sugar energy bars and this one is my favorite!

    • Maureen Abood on October 8, 2019 at 10:12 AM

      So happy to hear it Rachel–this is great one.

  12. Tracy on September 24, 2022 at 8:38 PM

    These are REALLY good.

    • Maureen Abood on October 1, 2022 at 2:40 PM

      Really really good!!! Thanks Tracy!

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I'm so glad you're here! You'll find among these pages the fresh and classic Lebanese recipes we can't get enough of! My mission is to share my tried + true recipes -- and to help our Lebanese food-loving community keep these culinary traditions alive and on the table. What recipes are you looking for? Let me know!

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