Picture this: It's 3 p.m. on a dreary Tuesday. You're sitting at your desk, hunched over, zombie-like, looking at but not really seeing the ever-growing pile of emails on the glaring screen in front of you. You finished your lunch hours ago, and you're officially running on fumes. You need some sort of sustenance to get you through to dinner. But, alas, your choices are limited: Will you turn to caffeine, sugar, or salt?
Enter R29 and Food52's carefully curated selection of supercharged snacks. We're ditching the sugar and salt for high-fiber, high-flavor options that are designed to help you refuel without any crashing or bloating. The best part? Most of these can be made in large batches, days in advance. Your afternoon has officially been saved.
These pear crisps aren't the most obvious cocktail-party snack — until you taste them, and it all becomes clear. You don't want to be eating big baked dishes at a party. You want somewhat light, intensely flavored food that can be eaten with your hands. The flavor of these delicious pears, which are seasoned with cocoa and spices, concentrates as they bake, and you end up with a chip that's warped and brown, like a fossilized pear. Don't bake them too long — you want crisp edges and slightly chewy centers. Pile them in a bowl, and make sure you tell your guests they're edible! They'll love you forever.
Makes about 60 crisps.
3 very firm pears
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 teaspoons powdered galangal, optional
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (if not using galangal, increase this to 1 teaspoon)
3/4 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons cocoa
Preheat oven to 275°F. Halve each pear and use a melon baller to scoop out the core (including the stem).
Set a mandoline to the 1/8-inch setting, and slice each pear half into about 10 very thin slices. Occasionally, the 1/8-inch setting will cause the pears to mush or crumble. In this case, the 1/4-inch setting will work, though the crisps will need an extra 15 minutes or so in the oven.
Mix sugar and spices in small bowl. Place pear slices on rack set over baking sheet. Alternatively, place slices on silpat-lined baking sheet. Sprinkle the tops with spiced sugar. Bake until almost dry, about one hour, turning the slices over and the sheets around half way through to ensure even baking. Cool on rack or sheet. Store airtight up to two days.
These chips are a super-healthful, pop-in-your-mouth snacking option. Butternut squash and fresh herbs provide a serious dose of earthy cold-weather flavor. The best part? These crunchy crisps are not fried, so they're a great source of energy that won't weigh you down.
Makes about two cups.
1 small butternut squash, about 1 pound
2 teaspoons chopped mixed fresh herbs (I used sage, thyme and oregano)
4 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Heat the oven to 250°F and put a rack in the middle of the oven. Peel the squash and cut it in two, separating the thin end without seeds from the bulbous end. Scoop out the seeds with a spoon and discard them (or save and roast them if you're feeling energetic).
Slice the squash finely with a mandoline, about an 1/8-inch thick. You'll have nice neat rounds from the seedless end and pretty rings from the other end.
Toss the squash in a bowl with the herbs, olive oil, and salt. Line two baking sheets with parchment and spread out the squash slices in a single layer on the parchment. Bake for an hour, then flip the slices using tongs or a spatula. Bake for another hour. Turn the slices again, lower the heat to 200°F and bake for another hour. Turn off the oven, and let the chips cool in there for several hours or overnight. Remove from the parchment and serve, or store in an airtight container for up to a week.
This bar can be whatever you want it to be. Add different kinds of dried fruits, different nuts, or different nut butters. It's all good. Mix, wrap, and enjoy!
Makes 10 to 12 bars.
2 1/2 cups rolled or quick oats
1 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
1/2 cup raisins
2/3 cups peanut or almond butter
1/2 to 2/3 cup agave nectar or brown rice syrup (adjust based on how well things stick together)
1/8 teaspoon sea salt (adjust based on which nut butter you use)
Mix oats, pumpkin seeds, and raisins in a large bowl.
Whisk together nut butter, sweetener, and sea salt. Pour into oat mixture, and mix well, until everything is sticky and combined. If it’s too dry, add a bit more agave.
Press mixture into a shallow baking dish that you’ve lined with foil or Saran Wrap. Cover with more foil/plastic wrap, press well into the baking dish, and refrigerate for four hours. Cut into bar shapes, wrap, and keep refrigerated till ready to use. They will last two weeks in the fridge.
A little avocado goes a long way in a smoothie, lending a pillowy, silky smooth texture that words can't really do justice to. Try it for yourself, and see if you don't get hooked!
1 banana, peeled and then frozen
1/2 cup frozen (or fresh) mango
1/2 small or medium avocado
1 cup spinach
1 1/4 cup almond milk (soy, oat, rice, or hemp milk are also fine)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
Place all smoothie ingredients in your blender and blend till very smooth and creamy. Add a little more almond milk as needed or a few ice cubes if you want it to be frostier!