Broccoli Bars

by Maria Theresa Maggi on March 13, 2014

Broccoli Bar

I have a dear friend who rearranges her furniture as a way of paving a new way for herself when she needs a change. In my small house it seems to me there’s only one way things can go, but in her small house I like to tease her that the combinations are infinite. While I may not be very imaginative when it comes to moving my furniture around, I sure do like to change up the usual fruits–or vegetables–in a recipe. It’s kind of like playing an old song in a different key, or using an off-beat arrangement or choice of instruments. That’s my excuse for this recipe. My interest in vegetables in dessert was re-sparked by carrot cake I made from Straight Up Food’s Carrot Cake Donut recipe, from which these bars get their soul. While resting during my afternoon nap time, I got to daydreaming of the zucchini muffins I used to make, adaptations of Susan’s St. Patrick’s Day Zucchini Muffins and Happy Herbivore’s Chocolate Zucchini Muffins (which I made with gluten free flours and carob powder instead of cocoa powder). But it isn’t zucchini season. Instead, I’ve been eating a lot of really nice organic broccoli. The stalks have been so nice and tasty, almost sweet, nearly all the way down that I’ve saved them, thinking I’d make broccoli slaw.

But then, oh then, I asked myself the question that led me down the road to these unqiue bars: how different than zucchini would shredded broccoli stalks behave in a cake, a bar, or a muffin? I’d read (and tried) bits of finely chopped kale in muffins so why not broccoli? It was so wierd it make me laugh, and I just had to see what would happen if I tried it.

I’ve been adding fruit to savory dishes for so long with such good results, that I suppose it was only a matter of time before I transposed that tendency and started venturing a little bit more outrageously into putting vegetables in my dessert. Of course there’s sweet potato, and carrot, and even zucchini. But broccoli?  If I can put pineapple in a stir fry with it, then I might as well try it as an ingredient in a healthy fruity dessert or breakfast bar.

This is what comes of rearranging food instead of furniture.


I was going to end this post by saying if you are the kind of cook who sneaks vegetables into things so your kids (or anyone else) will eat them without knowing it, this might be a good recipe to try, because, I told myself, who besides me who would want to eat a breakfast or dessert bar made with broccoli on purpose if they knew the truth about it?  In other words, I was thinking I needed an apology for my eccentric rearrangements–for putting broccoli where it doesn’t belong

But then a day after I made these a good friend I haven’t seen in months came over for a delightful catch-up visit. Though the daffodils aren’t quite up yet in our gardens, the sun was finally shining and she came to the door with a fistful of  grocery store daffodils about to burst open in her hands, to celebrate how close we’re getting to real Spring. As I put the daffodils in water, I told her  I had saved the last two pieces of Cathy’s carrot cake for our visit, and I laughingly admitted that I had made another version with broccoli I was sure I would be eating all of myself. But when she heard I’d also attempted these broccoli bars, she wanted one of each. And then she wanted the recipe. So my eclectic experiment with a serious green vegetable turned out to be truly tasty to someone besides myself–someone who is a healthy eater, but not vegan. Some people might not be as graciously intrepid as my friend was about full disclosure, so you  might want to offer a taste before you rattle off the list of ingredients. Either way, though, broccoli and I never had it so sweet.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!!

Maria (moonwatcher)



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{ 18 comments… read them below or add one }

1 The Savvy Sister March 14, 2014 at 7:52 am

We posted to our FB page! Thanks!


2 moonwatcher March 14, 2014 at 8:33 am

You’re welcome Savvy Sister, and thank YOU!! 🙂


3 BJ March 14, 2014 at 5:32 pm

I can hardly wait to try these!

Though I don’t often comment, rest assured I’ve been reading your blog for awhile now, and thoroughly enjoy every word!


4 moonwatcher March 14, 2014 at 5:45 pm

Thank you, BJ! I’m happy to know you are following along and enjoying the blog. 🙂


5 Veronica March 16, 2014 at 10:54 am

You are so creative with your ingredients! It actually sounds quite delicious – you’re totally right, if zucchini and carrots work in dessert, why not try broccoli? Thanks for sharing!! Keep up the experimentation. 🙂


6 moonwatcher March 16, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Thanks, Veronica, for the vote of confidence about my experimentation! It really made me smile and I’m very happy it actually sounded quite delicious to you. They were pretty darn good. 🙂


7 Deb March 17, 2014 at 5:04 pm

Is the measurement for broccoli for the shredded product or stalks pre-shred??


8 moonwatcher March 17, 2014 at 5:27 pm

Hi Deb, thanks for your question. My measurement is for the amount of broccoli stalk I shredded in my food processor from whole stalks I saved. I think you could use the preshredded, but I would pick the cabbage out of it, since it usually comes with a little carrot and cabbage in it. Carrots could stay I guess if you wanted. Also the prepackaged is more dry than shredding your own in the food processor, so you might have a shorter baking time. Not sure who they’d moisten up in the process of baking–maybe differently than a fresh grated stalk.


9 Deb March 25, 2014 at 12:35 pm



10 moonwatcher March 25, 2014 at 10:49 pm

You’re welcome, Deb!


11 Lee March 24, 2014 at 12:12 pm

OK, I’m intrigued by these! I’m usually a pretty intrepid vegetable-dessert eater myself, but broccoli in a dessert? Only one thing to do–try them out! 😀


12 moonwatcher March 24, 2014 at 12:27 pm

Thanks, Lee, you made me laugh. Indeed! To boldly go where no vegetable–or plant-based cook in her so-called right mind–has gone before. . . I really did like them. Go figure. LOL Glad you’re intrigued. If you do try them, let me know what you think!


13 Corrin Radd March 27, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Made these today and they’re definitely bold and interesting.


14 moonwatcher March 27, 2014 at 8:20 pm

Hi Corrin–you made me laugh!! Great way to describe these. Thanks for being brave enough to try them out. 🙂


15 Megan (The Lyons' Share) March 31, 2014 at 5:10 am

What an AMAZING idea! Like you, I’ve done so many things with zucchini, but never thought to do broccoli! Will definitely be trying these out – thanks!


16 moonwatcher March 31, 2014 at 8:08 am

Thanks Megan! I’m so glad you like this off-beat idea and might be bold enough to try it out! I love the name of your site, too, and it looks great–so positive, and that’s the “lion’s share” of keeping on track. 🙂 You go!


17 earthlover July 3, 2014 at 6:08 am

Very good this, and i lov e all those ingredients, and energy bars too.
i have never understood why people say medjool dates and not dates. could you please just explain the difference and why that is enphasised?


18 moonwatcher July 3, 2014 at 8:15 am

Welcome, earthlover! As a fresh ingredient, the medjool dates are the most moist and sweet. Deglet dates, for instance are less moist and a bit lighter in sweetness. If you use deglets dried, I’ve found, you can get as much sweetness as in a fresh medjool, and it’s less expensive. But the medjools are the crown “jewels” of fresh dates. That’s why everyone says to use them 🙂


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