These easy Cashew Sesame Bars or squares are simply delicious. They're entirely gluten-free, dairy-free and easy to make Paleo-friendly too. Plus, everyone in the family will love them!
My family certainly loves these bars. If you look closely, you'll see two are missing by the time we took the photos! They smell the sesame seeds toasting and start hovering in the kitchen, waiting for the bars to be cool enough to eat. Sometimes we cut them into squares too - that's usually what I do if I'll be adding them to a cheeseboard or dessert tray.
Should you make sesame bars or squares? It's up to you!
Since these bars are baked in an 8x8 or 9x9 pan, you can cut them any way you want! They can be drizzled with dark chocolate and sprinkled with flaky sea salt if you like - I do that when I'm serving them more like cookies.
Adding mix-ins and swapping ingredients:
I've tried adding mix-ins like dried fruit, which went OK if I chopped it very small. Chocolate or anything that melts or absorbs moisture (like coconut) doesn't do well mixed-in to the bar recipe.
You can swap up the flavor a bit by using honey in place of the maple syrup too. They're both delicious, but I prefer the maple flavor with the sesame.
Making the bars grain-free + Quinoa Bran swaps:
I often make these with flax meal in place of the quinoa bran - they are completely interchangeable in the this recipe. Also, if you'd like to make grain-free sesame bars, flax meal is the answer. Quinoa bran can be found at health or natural food stores, but it isn't the easiest thing to find. Rice bran will also work if you don't want to use flax meal or quinoa bran.
One note about making these easy Cashew Sesame Bars: they may puff slightly as they bake. For an extra crispy bar, press the bars to flatten when they’re still warm using another 8” square pan or your fingers.
Love an easy snack bar recipe? My No-Bake Chewy Granola Bars are simple, delicious and fast.
If you want more grain free nutty treats, check out these Three-Ingredient Macadamia Nut Cookies or my Pecan Drop Cookies.
Crunchy, Easy Cashew Sesame Bars or Squares
- Nonstick vegetable oil spray
- 1½ cups cashews unsalted, raw or roasted
- 6 tablespoons raw sesame seeds
- 5 tablespoons flaxseed
- ¼ cup quinoa bran or flax meal flax meal for Paleo
- ¾ teaspoon sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ cup pure maple syrup or honey
- 1 tablespoon coconut oil
- Preheat oven to 350°. Coat 8x8” baking pan with vegetable oil spray; line with parchment, leaving overhang on all sides. Toast cashews, sesame seeds, and flaxseed in separate areas on a rimmed baking sheet, stirring occasionally (but not mixing), until golden brown, 10–12 minutes. Let cool. Set aside 2 Tbsp. sesame seeds and 1 Tbsp. flaxseed.
- Process cashews and remaining seeds with quinoa bran, salt, cinnamon and cardamom in a food processor until mostly finely chopped. Place in a medium bowl.
- Bring maple syrup and coconut oil to a boil in a small saucepan; cook, stirring, 2-3 minutes. Pour over cashew mixture and stir to coat.
- Press mixture firmly into prepared pan with wet hands (it will be sticky). Top with reserved seeds; press to adhere. Bake until golden brown, 25–30 minutes. Let cool, then cut into bars.
Frequently Asked Questions about this Sesame Bars recipe:
Yes, these sesame squares, which are made from nuts, seeds and healthy fats and a but of sweetener are considered healthy. Each square contains 6 grams of protein, plus several vitamins and nutrients.
Sesame seeds are high in protein and healthy fats and low in carbohydrates. They are also high in fiber. One 3-tablespoon serving (30 grams) of sesame seeds provides 5 grams of protein. They are also a good source of B vitamins.
Yes, sesame seeds, sesame oil, and tahini, which is made from sesame seeds, are all approved on the Palo diet.
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