Granola bars are marketed as a healthy snack, but if you take a peek at the nutrition label of most store-bought bars, you will find that they have almost as much sugar as a candy bar, and very little balance in the way of nutrients. Generally, oats are the main ingredient, followed by various forms of refined sugars. This is disappointing, because a tasty snack bar is really the perfect vehicle for all kinds of super nutrients. I always figured making my own would be daunting and time consuming, but it was surprisingly easy and fun!
These high energy bars are loaded with healthy fats, protein and fiber, making them a truly nutritious snack for any time of day. They are chewy and crunchy at the same time, and have a slight sweet/salty flavor. Each ingredient is whole and unrefined, and packed with vitamins, minerals and numerous powerful plant nutrients that support our bodies. These bar disappear quickly in my home, so I like to make a double batch, and store in the fridge to grab on the go. I suggest you do too!
You can find all the ingredients in your local market, health food store, or online. Use them in baking recipes, and as nutritious toppings for oatmeal or cold cereal. Once you make the recipe as written, try playing around with different nuts or seeds to your liking (or depending on what you have in the pantry). Sometimes I add dried tart cherries, cranberries, or freeze dried raspberries. You can’t go wrong.
These are gluten-free if you use GF oats, and you can omit the nuts and substitute sun butter (for the almond butter) to make them a nut-free, school safe snack.
Wholesome Granola Bars
- 1 1/2 cup rolled oats gluten free, optional
- 1/2 cup buckwheat groats
- 1/2 cup raw almonds roughly chopped
- 1 cup soft dates
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds
- 2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
- 3 tablespoons hulled hemp seeds (hemp hearts)
- 2 tablespoons ground flax seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/4 cup pure dark amber maple syrup or raw honey
- 1/3 cup creamy natural almond butter or sunflower seed butter
- Heat oven to 350℉. Pour oats, almonds and buckwheat groats onto a sheet pan, and toast until slightly golden, about 15 minutes. While toasting, process dates in the food processor or mini chopper until finely chopped and forms a paste. Mix together oats, almonds, buckwheat and seeds in a bowl.
- Warm honey/maple syrup, and almond butter in a large pot over low heat, stirring until creamy and smooth. Add salt. Remove from heat and pour oat/seed mixture into pot. Add the date paste, and mix all ingredients together with a large spoon, until evenly coated throughout.
- Transfer mixture to an 8x8" baking pan, lined with parchment paper (this will allow you to easily lift the bars from the pan before cutting).
- Using a spoon or spatula, spread the mixture into the pan, using the bottom of a large glass or a book to press down, packing the bars tight. Chill in the freezer for 15-20 minutes or refrigerate until firm. Lift bars from pan using edges of parchment paper, and chop into 8 rectangular bars (or 12 smaller bars).