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The first attempt at millet was a disaster in our kitchen. The tiny grain was supposed to cook up nice and fluffy like rice, but I ended up with a gummy, sticky mess that went straight into the garbage. That, I learned, is what happens when your glass of wine is more interesting than millet and distracts you from the stove.

I wasn’t ready to give up on millet. Similar to quinoa, millet is a gluten-free ancient grain that contains high amounts of fiber, B-complex vitamins, essential amino acids and phytochemicals. It’s also easy to digest and pretty high in protein.

I found a disaster-proof way to use millet in our kitchen – granola bars! I’m heading to Florida for work on Sunday, so I wanted to make a new, healthy snack to take along. I loved the Sesame Cashew Squares that I made for my last work trip, but wanted something a little different this time.

When coming up with this recipe, I had a few requirements:

  • won’t easily break apart
  • no refrigeration required
  • mix of whole grains and nuts
  • sweet!

There is flexibility with this recipe. You can use any combination of nuts and seeds you have on hand. You can also substitute maple syrup or honey for brown rice syrup. The one ingredient that I wouldn’t leave out is millet – it gives it each bite just the right amount of crunch.

Plantation Bars
{gluten-free, vegan}

Makes 16 bars

2 cups rolled oats
1 cup roughly chopped nuts and seeds (I used almonds, pistachios and pepitas)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/2 cup millet
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup dates
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 tablespoon coconut oil

Preheat the oven to 325. Line an 8×8 pan with parchment paper.

Add the oats, nuts and seeds, coconut flakes, millet, flaxseed and salt into a large bowl. Mix well.

Puree the dates in a food processor. In a medium saucepan, combine the pureed dates, brown rice syrup, peanut butter and coconut oil over medium heat. Stir until combined.

Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well. Once it gets difficult to stir, use your hands to continue mixing until it is completely incorporated. This will be very sticky!

Dump the mixture into the prepared pan. Press down to flatten with your fingers, then use a small piece of parchment paper to firmly press into the pan.

Bake for about 25 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan, then remove and cut into bars. Store in an airtight container for up to one week.