My namesake, Vanilla And Bean, was born out of my love of vanilla (and beans). While I knew vanilla, for the most part, was hand pollinated, I didn’t fully understand why.
Native to Mexico, Central America and Northern South America, I assumed vanilla’s pollinators, several types of bees, were extinct. They are not, although bee numbers are dwindling due to a myriad of reasons.
But because naturally only 6% of vanilla’s flowers form fruit, most of the world’s vanilla is produced through hand pollination. Leading growers of vanilla are Madagascar, Indonesia and China where vanilla’s pollinators are not found.
Because hand pollination has led to commercial cultivation, vanilla is widely available and is only second in the world to saffron in price due to it’s labor intensive growing requirements. I have a much deeper appreciation now for what it takes for vanilla to reach my pantry.
These pumpkin kasha energy bites showcase so many flavors but ultimately remind me of pumpkin pie with a bit of extra fiber, in the form of crunchies, thrown in. They are simple to make, travel with ease in lunch boxes and make a delightful, fiber packed and filling snack.
Having these little bites on hand in the fridge helps me eat better when my stomach starts to grumble and I just want to grab something, posthaste!
Kasha is toasted buckwheat, a nutritious seed that is high in fiber, antioxidants, B vitamins and is heart healthy. It adds a delicious, nutty crunch to these little bites and makes a fabulous pumpkin or coconut porridge.
Look for kasha in the bulk bins at your local Co-Op, WholeFoods, natural foods store or buy online.
These energy bites are more soft than firm, almost creamy, sweetened with dates, gluten free, vegan and have all the flavors you’d expect with your pumpkin. I am partial to homemade pumpkin puree, but canned puree will work in this recipe too. It’s so darn convenient!
Pumpkin Kasha Energy Bites
For the Bites:
- 21 lb Medjool Dates pitted (about 1 with pits)
- 3/4 C Pumpkin Puree 6 3/4 oz
- 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
- 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp Ground Nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp Ground Cloves
- 1/4 tsp Ground Ginger
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 1 C Oat Flour gluten free or regular (see note*) (3 3/4 oz)
- 3/4 C Almond Meal or Flour 3 1/4 oz
- 1/2 C Kasha AKA uncooked buckwheat groats or roasted buckwheat kernals *see note, 3 3/4 oz
- 3/4 C + 2 Tbs Chopped Pepitas finely chopped for rolling in (see other options below) (5 oz)
Optional for Rolling in:
- Hemp Seeds
- Cocoa Nibs
- Chopped Walnuts
- Mini Chocolate Chips
- In a food processor, process half of the following: pitted dates, pumpkin puree, extract, spices and salt. Process until a smooth paste is formed, stopping to scrape the sides down several times. Scoop out into a large mixing bowl. Process the remaining pitted dates, pumpkin puree, spices and salt as before then place it in the bowl with the other date/pumpkin date mixture.
- To the date mixture stir in half of the following: oat flour, almond meal, and kasha (uncooked). Stir to incorporate, then add the remaining flour, meal and kasha. Stir to evenly distribute the ingredients.
- Using a #40 scoop (or 1 Tbs + 1 tsp) scoop to portion all the bites. Place on a cutting board. At this point you can either place the bites in the fridge for 30 minuites to make them a bit easier to handle, or you can forge ahead (although its a bit stickier).
- Place the chopped pepitas in a shallow dish or small plate.
- Use your hands to roll individual bites into balls, then roll through the pepitas (or other optional covering) to cover each individual bite.
- Place in a covered container. When stacking the bites, be sure to separate layers with a piece of parchment or wax paper. Refrigerate in a covered container for up to a week. They will firm up a bit in the fridge.
Recipe Notes*Note: To make oat flour, process 1 C of old fashioned rolled oats in a food processor. Process until a meal is formed.
*Note: Do not cook the kasha. The kasha is crunchy, yes, but will soften within the bites.
Inspired by PCC Natural Markets Kasha Energy Bars