4 Ingredient Iron-boosting Bars (Vegan)

Did you know that about 20% of women in the US are iron deficient? (Thanks largely to Aunt Flo)

I know I’ve been slacking on making sure I’m getting enough, so I’ve been researching the iron content of a ton of different ingredients, and coming up with recipes that are super high in iron.

I figured my high-iron recipes wouldn’t necessarily be the next great taste sensation given my main focus is on their nutrient content, but on day 2 of my new iron-finding kick, these bars proved me oh so wrong. They are incredibly delicious–for breakfast, snacks, or even dessert.

Just 100 calories of them provides 13% of your recommended daily intake of iron, and a breakfast-sized amount (let’s say 500 calories), satisfies a whopping 65% of your daily iron needs. (See below for more nutrition notes)

To put it in more exciting terms… calorie for calorie, these bars have 4x as much iron as chicken, and twice as much iron as STEAK!

In good news, my husband tried them and loves them so much that he keeps asking for them, and has even dubbed them “the perfect breakfast.” In bad news, a batch doesn’t last me nearly as long as I thought it would, because I had originally expected to be the only one eating them… 😛

Makes 16 bars; each 100-calorie bar has 13% of the female RDA for iron (26% of the male RDA).


  • 2 cups puffed amaranth (requires about 2/3-1 cup dry amaranth)
  • 1/2 cup tahini
  • 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp molasses
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup*
  • 1/8 tsp salt (optional)
*You can sub out the maple syrup for agave, or more molasses


  1. Preheat a pot over medium-high heat for 5 minutes. Make sure the bottom of the pot is the same size or smaller than your burner.
  2. Pop the amaranth: add one tablespoon of dry amaranth to the pot; it should start popping almost immediately (it looks like mini popcorn). Shake or stir the pot consistently while the amaranth pops. Once most of the grains have popped, or once the remaining unpopped ones starts to get a darker brown, pour out the amaranth into a separate bowl. Then repeat the process with the rest of the dried amaranth until you have 1 cup. It sounds difficult, but once you get the hang of it, it’s easy and honestly pretty fun. I found this video to be useful! (but no need to sieve it)
  3. Once cooled, add the popped amaranth to a 9″ square (or round) pan, and add all the other ingredients. Stir until well combined. (If it seems dry/crumbly, add more molasses–the consistency will depend on what % of your amaranth ended up being puffed.)
  4. Press mixture into pan, refrigerate, cut into bars, and enjoy!

Extra nutrition notes:

  • With the ingredients I use, the entire recipe contains 36mg of iron; a premenopausal woman’s daily RDA of iron is 18mg! For men and postmenopausal women, the RDA is 8mg.
  • For my tahini, I use Artisana Tahini. I’ve noticed that the iron content of tahini can vary somewhat, and Artisana is one of the highest iron contents I’ve found.
  • For amaranth, I use Bob’s Red Mill from Amazon.
  • For molasses, I use Grandma’s.

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