The Lazy Vegan’s Party Treat
Just shut up and eat it, it’s good.
I’ve been vegan since 2012 and, at this point, I’ve heard all your dumb jokes, rude comments, and misdirected defensiveness about it, so let’s both shut up for a minute and enjoy some hella good Crispy Chocolatey Sunflower Tahini Bars.
Yes, I know you love bacon. I do too, that’s why I can transform everything from tofu to carrots to coconuts into it. But don’t you also love sweets? Vegan sweets are as good as animal secretions-filled sweets, if not better. That’s why vegan cupcakes won the first season of Cupcake Wars.
You’re not going to miss cow’s milk in a recipe. Oat milk works just as well. And eggs? When’s the last time you bit into a cookie and said, “Wow, I love how the egg flavor really shines through in this!” Here’s the answer: never. You never said that. Eggs are only there to provide structure, and they’re not the only ingredient on Earth that can do it. You can mix a little ground flax with water to create the very same structure.
But you know what? I’m not even going to challenge you to recast ingredients with this recipe. No need for plant-based milk or a vegan egg. This recipe is good, old-fashioned, tasty stuff thrown together to create something beautiful. And it’s going to please all your pickiest post-pandemmy party people.
Know why? Because this kick-ass treat is:
- Allergen-friendly. No soy, no egg (duh), no nuts. It does contain coconut, tahini (sesame seeds), and sunflower seeds, which are not common allergens, but they’re not unheard of either.
- Gluten free. Look, ma, no flour!
- Sugar free… technically. I mean, okay, it’s not sugar free at all. But it is CANE sugar-free. The sugar comes in the form of agave or maple syrup, which is really still just, well, sugar. But not everyone knows that, so you can pretend it’s healthy by saying stuff like “It has a lower glycemic index!”
- Cholesterol free, of course! It’s vegan, it doesn’t contain any cholesterol. But who are we kidding here? It contains saturated fat from the seeds, so if you’re prone to high cholesterol, that’s going to cause your body to make it. Hey, so would a non-vegan treat, plus it would contain added cholesterol on top of that, so let’s call it a win.
Not everything has to be healthy all the time. I’m not claiming these chocolate-covered cookie bars are the secret to longevity. I’m just saying they’re freakin' delicious, relatively healthyish, and DID I MENTION perfect for lazy people?
Vegan doesn’t automatically mean you have to spend all your time cooking. Vegans can be equally as lazy in the kitchen as flesh-eaters. You don’t even need to make these bars if you don't want to. You can buy vegan treats at any grocery store nowadays. Oreos are vegan. However, I’m giving you this bar recipe because I LOVE YOU and I WANT YOU TO BE HAPPY.
So, without further ado, here is my recipe for Crispy Chocolatey Sunflower Tahini Bars.
CRISPY CHOCOLATEY SUNFLOWER TAHINI BARS
1.5 cup of oatmeal (the thicker the cut of oatmeal, the more health-foody these are so, for most delicious, choose instant)
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
½ cup coconut flakes
10 tablespoons tahini
¾ cup of agave, maple syrup, or a mix of both
¾ cup chocolate chips. (Lots of semi-sweet chips, especially out of bulk bins, are vegan. I also love the Enjoy Life brand chips.)
- First, grease a 10 x 15 inch pan (9 x 13 inch will also work---if there’s too much, just eat the extra batter, it’s good raw, unlike with non-vegan recipes where salmonella might getcha) with some canola oil, vegan butter, or vegetable shortening. Preheat the oven to 375°F.
- Mix everything together except the chocolate chips until it’s good and combined.
- Push the mix into the pan. Use a rubber spatula if you’re fancy, I guess. I just use the back of a spoon because I’m not.
- Bake for about 16 minutes. Keep an eye on it, you want the top just starting to golden, so you may want to take it out earlier or later.
- Remove from the oven, sprinkle chocolate chips on top. Use your best judgement about how many chips are ideal. Cover the pan with aluminum foil or a bigger pan or a cookie sheet so the chocolate can melt.
- Read a post on Vocal for 5 minutes while you wait for the chocolate to get melty.
- Use a rubber spatula (you’re so fancy) or the back of a spoon to smooth the chocolate over the top.
- Stick it in the fridge to get the chocolate hard again.
You can cut these into adorable bite-sizes for a party or, if you’re like me, you can slice off a little bit now and then with a butter knife because they're dishwasher safe and pop it in your mouth as a sweet pick-me-up.
You’re gonna love these. I’m not a big coconut person at all, and I still love them. I *am* a big sunflower seed and tahini person, though, so if you're not into those things, this recipe may not be for you.
In which case, make something else! It’s easy to find recipes these days. Just Google the word “vegan” along with whatever food you enjoy eating, and countless vegan recipes for that food will appear.
Yes, I know, I know, you think you’d be “bored” eating only vegan food all the time. I've heard it before and I doubt it, man. When I was a non-vegan kid, I used to live off mostly mac & cheese from a box, frozen pizza, and chicken nuggets. I eat way more variety now that I'm vegan. Plus, I mean, if you still want to eat mac & cheese from a box, frozen pizza, and chicken nuggets, you can totally buy vegan versions of all that stuff at most grocery stores.
Being vegan is fun and really not hard and it makes you appreciate food and life more. It's way easier to eat sustainably as a vegan and you're far more likely to consume adequate amounts of health-promoting food like legumes, fruit, veggies, and whole unprocessed grains if you're vegan. Plus, you don't want to hurt the cute animals, do you?
Know what? We don’t need to talk about this. Have a Sunflower Tahini Bar and let’s talk about something way less controversial instead, like politics or religion.
About the author
Lissa is a writer and nanny who lives in Oakland, California. She enjoys books, books, playing Disney songs on ukulele for kiddos, books, and hanging out with her deeply world-weary dog, Willow. And, oh yeah, also—get this: books.