Wild Grain Bars Recipe

Chef Jerome Grant from the Mitsitam Native Foods Cafe kitchens at the National Museum of the American Indian was shown how to make delicious wild grain bars by a cook from Minnesota’s Red Lake Nation. The bars are gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan, and now you can try them out for yourself by following the recipe at The Washington Post, or below.

  • Canola oil, for frying
  • 1/2 cup roasted, lightly salted hulled pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup hulled, unsalted sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup golden flax seed
  • 3 cups dried wild rice (not a wild rice/brown rice blend)
  • 1/2 cup dried red quinoa, preferably Native Harvest brand
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk, preferably full-fat
  • 1/2 cup mild honey
  • 3/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 cups tart dried cherries

Pour oil into a heavy-bottomed pot to a depth of at least 2 inches. Heat over high heat to 410 degrees; it will take a while to come to temperature.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flax seed evenly on a rimmed baking sheet. Toast for 3 to 5 minutes, shaking the pan once or twice. Transfer to a large, wide mixing bowl to cool.

Pour 1 cup of the wild rice into the fine-mesh strainer. Carefully lower it into the oil for about 3 minutes or until at least half of the wild rice has puffed (showing white). Drain and immediately transfer to a heatproof bowl lined with a few layers of paper towels. Fry a second cup of rice in the same manner, and the third, adding them to the bowl. Turn off the heat.

Transfer 2 tablespoons of the fry oil to a wide skillet; heat over medium-high heat. Once the oil shimmers, add the quinoa, spreading it evenly. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes, shaking the skillet once or twice; you’ll see some of the quinoa jump, and about half of it will pop (showing white). Scrape it into the bowl with the puffed wild rice.

Generously grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with fresh oil; line with parchment paper as well, if desired.

Combine the coconut milk, honey, maple syrup and dark brown sugar in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil; cook undisturbed for about 20 minutes, until the temperature of the mixture reaches 237 degrees. To test the consistency, spoon a long, thin streak on a clean work surface; wait a few seconds, then swipe your index finger across it. When you pinch your finger and thumb together and pull them apart, the syrup should create a thin string.

Add the cooled puffed wild rice and quinoa, the salt and the dried cherries to the seed mixture. Grease a spatula with cooking oil spray. Pour half of the syrup into the bowl, stirring with the spatula to coat, then add the remaining syrup. Toss/stir until the mixture is completely coated.

Quickly transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish, pressing and packing it firmly. If the mixture seems to be setting up too fast, pop it into a low-heat oven for 5 minutes.

Let cool for 2 hours before cutting into 15 or 18 pieces.

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