Israel Inspired Oat & Chickpea Chocolate Squares [vegan + GF]

(Since I originally began writing this post, there have actually been a few “updates” to my original situation: Israel has assassinated the Hamas military chief in an airstrike. Hamas now claims that Israel has “opened the gates of Hell” and has killed at least three Israelis with rocket fire. “Wider war looms.” Great. Juuuust great.

At least my Chickpea Chocolate Bars are portable...
chickpea granola
protect me, sweet vessels of chocolate and nutrition
Oh, Israel…you silly country, you. Always tied up in some sort of trouble.

I made the mistake last night of telling my dad the location of my next Wwoofing farm… In a nutshell, he replied, “Um, aren’t you aware that missiles from the Gaza Strip were fired about 10 miles northwest of the very area to which you’re going a mere TWO days ago, injuring 3 very innocent farm workers on one very innocent farm…an innocent farm like the one you’re headed to?”

Looks like I'm not going.

I don’t think I’ll get used to this whole “always a country at war” thing. I don’t really want to get used to it.

I’ve never had to deal with such serious issues getting in the way of my travel plans. Usually I’m the type to say, “Eh, it’s nothing I wouldn’t see in downtown Atlanta,” but in this case, I’ll begrudgingly admit that 72 rockets and mortars launched at my current country of residence is, in fact, a bit more serious than a night in Buckhead.

The reason that I had paid no attention to this before speaking with my dad is that I was simply following the example of Israelis—they are so accustomed to this state of affairs that they seem to hear the news with a mere shake of the head, a sigh, and then life goes on as usual.
date recipe
Viewed from afar, missiles and mortar shells look surprisingly like dates.
Bad joke, much?
I’ll be the first to admit that sometimes I am not the proudest American: we claim that school lunch pizza is a vegetable, we drill our national parks for oil, we remove mountain tops—literally—for coal, and don’t even get me started on our “unbiased” news channels (living overseas you see how dramatic American broadcasters are compared to other countrys’).

But living here in Israel, I do feel proud of America (cue patriotic music here). I realize that Israel is a beautiful country with especially beautiful people, but it is caught within a vicious cycle of seemingly-endless war with its neighbors. It is geographical tug-of-war, and I can only hope that the religious extremists don’t win.

I am proud because the powers-that-be enabled me to grow up protected, exposed to many other cultures, and with an unquestionable feeling of safety in my life. I know that all American kids aren’t lucky enough to experience this, and I know that the ways in which America gains this power and strength to protect its citizens are sometimes questionable.

But at this moment when I can’t travel a mere three hours to go work on a peaceful organic olive orchard, I feel proud of America, and I miss my home.

So what do I do when my plans are thwarted and my spirits low (another day in Eilat…)?

I cook, of course.
chocolate chickpea
take the pain away
Admittedly, I was going to try to ditch John with a big Tupperware of cooked garbanzo beans (chickpeas) that I felt too uninspired to do anything with. I was hummused out (is that even possible?), and deeply involved with my current book (Cloud Atlas By Mitchell, David (Google Affiliate Ad)), to the point that I excused myself from any in-depth cooking for the past couple of days (I get a little nerdy sometimes).

But now that I'm stuck in Eilat for a few more days, the time has come for my darling chickpeas.

Hummus and roasted beans were out. Since I’d let these little guys sit around lonesomely in the fridge for the past 2-3 days, I wanted something that would last a while once prepared

And thus was born my Israel-Inspired Oat & Chickpea Chocolate Squares.

It was simple enough: I just kind of started throwing healthy and desserty ingredients in a bowl, flattened out and baked it, then topped everything with chocolate.
you + me = peace in Israel
They’re sweet—but not too sweet—and the abundance of chickpeas, oats, and dates means you’ve got your fill of protein, fiber, energy, vitamins, and minerals! How this all worked out in such a tasty, wonderful way, I’m not exactly sure. I mean, I have the list of ingredients right here, but that still doesn’t explain the magic. The mouth tells you that they must be bad for you, and yet they're quite the opposite. So go ahead, you can eat them for breakfast OR dessert. If that’s not exciting, then I’m not sure what is.

Oat & Chickpea Chocolate Squares [vegan + GF]

  • 1 ½ cup cooked chickpeas
  • 1 ½ c oats
  • ½ cup nut butter* 
  • 1 cup packed pitted dates (about 12)
  • 3 tbs toasted sesame seeds
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup applesauce (or sub maple syrup or more honey)
  • 1 tbs cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 bar dark chocolate (100 grams or about ½ c chocolate chips, use half if you just want to use a drizzle on top)
  • * I used 1/4 cup of a relatively "thin" natural peanut butter with an already thin 1/4 cup tahini. If you're using a chunky peanut butter, melt it in a saucepan with the honey before mixing with the rest, or use 1/2 cup toasted crushed nuts and 1/2 very ripe banana
    Baked chickpea-oateyness...DON'T use an oval dish like I did. I am sad to say that it's the only
    baking dish I had on hand, and it did not make things easy.
    Directions Preheat oven to 300 degrees, line a 8x11 baking pan with parchment paper or aluminum for easy removal of the mixture.

    Chop dates into tiny pieces and mash chickpeas by hand or with a blender/food processor. Then throw everything else except for the chocolate into the food processor and pulse just enough to blend. Press mixture firmly and evenly into the baking pan, and cook for about 15-25 minutes, or until sides start to brown.

    Remove, let cool completely so that it won’t break up later. Once cool, remove from the pan and set yourself up for drizzling chocolate over the top.

    Gently melt chocolate using double-boiler method, then spread over the baked chickpeas and oats. If a full layer of topping scares you, feel free to just drizzle drizzlies on top.

    Allow chocolate to cool and harden, then try not to trick yourself into thinking that they’re so healthy you can eat half before going to bed.
    chocolate oat dessert
    Make healthy-things-with-chocolate, not war.
    And just like that, my Israel blues are cured.

    The Savings: Chickpeas and oats cost next to nothing, which makes these bars even more enjoyable. It's fun to use a cheap food that's usually only considered for one dish (hummus) in a new, so you get to perk up your tastebuds and impress friends at a very low cost. Furthermore, it's packed with vitamins and minerals, and because of all the protein, you'll feel more full, faster. A little goes a long way with these guys, financially and nutritionally.

    (By the way, click here to receive Chowgypsy updates in your inbox!)


    1. Aww sad to hear the news, but at least you baked up something cool!
      I was just having a bad day, and was surprised by a very not-vegan-friendly cafeteria serving vegan pumpkin soup! Not really related but basically: food always makes my day. :D And it's nice that those delicious morsels came out from bad news.

      Anyways this is a really cool recipe, I'm glad you found a new way to use chickpeas, yum!

      1. If food can't make you happy, then you're dealin with a saaaad situation

    2. Well, I have to disagree just a little. The US has also been involved in "vicious cycle of seemingly-endless wars" for around 60 years now. I doubt we've had a year of peace in that time. Our client state of Israel seems to have absorbed that lesson quite well. Stay safe and enjoy the chickpeas!

      1. I have to say, you have a point. Why did you have to disrupt my blissful ignorance?

    3. Great post, Meggan! I look forward to making this. Please be careful over there :) Miss you!

    4. Israeli here! From Beersheba, actually.
      I found this blog while looking for a recipe for Sriracha sauce. Great read so far.
      So, I'm guessing you're not going to venture anywhere near my place, huh?

      1. haha, so happy to hear that an actual Israeli found me! and that you're bringing more sriracha to Israel!
        I wanted so badly to come to Beersheba but alas, our plans were cut 3 weeks short! We decided to head over to Turkey to prevent the families from worrying themselves to death. Looks like I'll just have to come back :)
        Hope you're staying safe!




    Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...