Being back in Minnesota has been lovely in all the ways….lake time, outdoor chilling, family game nights, BBQs, and all the festivities in between including a BIG one – my sister’s upcoming wedding! I can’t believe it’s here.
In the middle of wedding crafting, my sister and I did some recipe testing for a snack that would be higher protein but without nuts or any kind of nut butter. She doesn’t like either one and has a hard time finding higher protein snack options that don’t have peanuts, almonds, cashews, walnuts, or basically any nut or any nut butter trace.
When we were little (she was mearly a bit over a year), I thought she should be introduced to my favorite food (peanut butter) and when she bounced and grinned with scoop number one, I thought scoop number two and three were a good idea too. Oops – turns out she had so much peanut butter in her mouth that she could barely open it and I’m convinced this traumatic experience scarred her for life from nuts and nut butters. :/
She bought a bagged snack with coconut seed clusters and wanted to create something similar – so of course I was up for the challenge! Our variation is below. With only 6 ingredients (coconut, pepitas, sunflower seeds, chia seeds, honey, and salt), you’ll have yourself a nut free, plant-based, high protein snack that’s perfect as is or on top of smoothie bowls, salads, or frozen “nice” cream.
The plant-based coconut and seed clusters are crunchy with subtle chewiness, sweet with a dash of salty, and high protein for the ultimate snack win. Think of it like a homemade granola but without the grain.
We used the sweetened coconut my mom had in the pantry but I would suggest trying it with unsweetened coconut flakes. The clusters won’t be as sweet but keep the honey nearby as you may need more to help it stick together.
I’ve got to say – I am pretty impressed with how the coconut seed clusters turned out. So much so that I didn’t take many pictures in our multiple recipe testing processes and I also haven’t gotten to experiment with unsweetened coconut (only had sweetened coconut on hand). However, I wanted to share this recipe with you right away in case you have nut allergies or sensitivities in your family and wanted to offer up a high protein snack. Also, even if you like nuts and nut butters (like me), these plant-based snack clusters are a great wholesome addition. I would suggest making them on your meal prep day and eating the coconut clusters sprinkled throughout the week.
6 Ingredient Coconut Seed Clusters
Preheat Oven to 325 degree Farenheit. In a small bowl, mix 1 tablespoon chia seeds with 1 heaping tablespoon and a half of honey. Let sit for a few minutes while mixing other ingredients to help thicken the honey/chia mixture. In a medium sized mixing bowl, add in 4 tablespoons unsalted, roasted pepitas (baby pumpkin seeds), 3 tablespoons roasted, unsalted sunflower seeds, 4 tablespoons shredded coconut (sweetened or unsweetened), and 1/8 teaspoon (a dash or so) of sea salt. Note: if you are using nuts that are salted, omit salt. Mix honey/chia mixture into coconut and seed mixture. Stir until well coated. If you use a spoon to press mixture down, it should form and stick together. If not, add a dash more honey. Press mixture about 1/4″ thick into small baking pan (the Pampered Chef Toaster Oven Pan works great for this) and bake in oven for 10 minutes then broil on high for 2 minutes until golden brown. Take out and let cool completely before storing in airtight container for 1 week in pantry or one month in fridge.
Note: this recipe can easily be doubled or tripled to save yourself time and if you’re really short on time, skip the initial baking section. The clusters are still great I found this is not be ideal for longer storage as the plant-based snack clusters do not stick together as easily and will become more crumbly faster.
If you’re interested in other easy recipes, check out my 3 ingredient “ice cream” or if you are concerned about your protein intake, whether plant-based or not, you may need to be concerned about this nutrient instead (read this popular post). Plan on making or adapting this recipe? Comment below, I’d love to hear from you.