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3 pecan chocolate bars on a white rectangular plate

Paleo Chocolate Pecan Bars

desserts paleo Nov 14, 2022

Pecans. They’re a holiday staple food. In fact, they were the star of the show at last year's Thanksgiving dinner. Our Paleo Chocolate Pecan Bars were so popular on the first holiday that everyone begged us to make them again in December. 

Okay. You don’t have to twist our arms too much to have a dessert that has quickly skyrocketed to our Top 5 all-time favorites!

But first, let’s talk about the health benefits of pecans and how to cook with them. You’ll want to know this.

Health Benefits of Pecans

Pecans are one of our favorite nuts (the other being macadamias) because they are rich and buttery tasting and work well in sweet and savory recipes. Stay tuned for our favorite savory recipe for pecans – keep reading or just scroll all the way to the end of this post to get it.

Not only do they taste great, but pecans are super-nutritious! They are high in monounsaturated fats (anti-inflammatory), vitamin E (antioxidant), Thiamin/B1 (metabolism), and manganese and copper (minerals important for making enzymes that help growth and metabolic reactions in the body). Plus, pecans are a decent source of plant protein, with 3 grams per 1 ounce serving.

How to Use Pecans in Cooking

There are so many ways you can incorporate pecans (and other nuts) into your daily diet.

  • Add them to a salad for a nice crunch element. You can find one of our favorite salads from our cookbook, “No Excuses! 50 Healthy Ways to ROCK Lunch & Dinner!”. It’s a maple-rosemary brussels sprouts salad to which we always add spiced pecans.
  • Chopped pecans have a “meaty” texture and you can make a delicious vegan bolognese sauce with them 
  • Or just enjoy them by the handful for a satisfying snack.

When you shop for pecans or any other nut, you want to buy them RAW rather than roasted. Why?

Most manufacturers roast nuts in pro-inflammatory oils, like safflower and sunflower oil, both of which can go rancid quickly, especially when not stored in proper conditions. Nuts and oils can quickly oxidize and turn rancid in heat and humidity, which can cause inflammation in the body. Room temperature is just too warm to keep your nuts fresh.

Always store your nuts and seeds in the refrigerator (if you think you will eat them within 6 months) or the freezer (indefinite when in an air-tight container).

Pro tip: when you are using chopped pecans in a recipe, don’t blow your budget buying whole or halved pecans. Go straight for the bag of “pecan pieces” and save a few $$.