Oat Bran Granola Bars – Healthy and Tasty! {Vegetarian Friendly}

I’m always trying to find ways to have healthier snacks and get in enough calories each day, especially on days when I’m at the gym. One snack I really love is granola bars; they’re quick, tasty and convenient. But have you looked at the ingredient list?!? Oh my… Something that has so much potential to be so healthy, is commonly littered with additives and sugars that just aren’t necessary. Sure, you can buy more “natural” granola bars, however I really don’t like the taste of them. Kashi has a dark chocolate and cherry granola bar, but I’m still not the biggest fan…  

I’m constantly playing around with cookie, muffin and bar recipes. So I wanted to try to make a granola bar that was soft and tasty, while still maintaining the nutrients that I need with my snacks in between meals. This recipe came together so well, that I just had to share it. An added bonus is that it’s great for vegetarians as there are NO eggs, dairy or animal byproducts. {Um, except for honey… This is debateable, because I’ve known some vegetarians that are okay with eating honey, and some vegetarians that are not. If you’re a vegetarian that won’t eat honey, and want to try this, you can simply omit the honey all together.} So here’s the recipe, enjoy! 🙂 

Oat Bran Granola Bars – Healthy and Tasty! {Vegetarian Friendly} 

Ingredients

  • 1 cup rolled oats, quick cooking works just fine for these
  • 1 cup oat bran
  • 1/2 cup almond slices
  • 1/2 cup walnut pieces
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried apricots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • Dash each of nutmeg and ground cloves
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk {Start off with 1 cup, then add the 1/4 cup if you need more liquid. You can use skim milk if you like, however the vanilla almond milk gives such a nice flavour.}
  • 1 tbsp ground flax-seed mixed in with 3 tbsp water. Mix well, and set aside for 5 minutes. Stir again before using. {This replaces the egg you would have used.}
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • {Optional: 1/4 cup peanut butter. This is a great addition to the recipe, or if you’re removing the honey, because it also helps in holding the bar together better. Also, if you want some more chocolate, you can add chocolate chips… It won’t be as healthy, but that’s okay! 😉 }

Method

  • Pre heat your oven to 350 F.
  • Line a foil or metal baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients together.
  • Add the wet ingredients, one at a time, to the dry mixture.
  • Lightly stir a couple of times between each addition.
  • Pour the batter {it will be a thick batter} into the baking sheet, and use the back of a spoon to form the batter into a flat square/rectangle shape into the bottom of the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 35-45 minutes. {If you bake it for 35 minutes, it will be very soft. If you bake for 45 minutes, you will have a crispier layer on the outside, and a soft and chewy center}
  • Cut into squares {carefully, this stuff crumbles a bit!}, and allow to cool at room temperature.
  • To store, place in layers between parchment paper in an airtight container, and keep in the fridge {or at room temperature} for up to a week. You can also wrap these tightly in plastic wrap, and then in an airtight bag, and freeze for a few months.
  • NOTE: Because dehydrating fruit causes the sugar content to be concentrated into a smaller area, a 1/2 cup serving of dried fruit will have significantly more sugar {and more calories} than a 1/2 cup serving of fresh fruit. Keep this in mind when snacking on foods like raisins, cranberries or other dried fruits. In many recipes like this calling for dried fruit, if you need to watch your sugar levels you CAN use fresh fruit like chopped cherries, apples or many other types instead. Also, you can decrease the amount of dried fruit in the recipe.
Fresh out of the oven! :)

Fresh out of the oven! 🙂

 

This chewy granola bar is a great friend to some sliced apple for breakfast... :)

This chewy granola bar is a great friend to some sliced apple for breakfast... 🙂

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2 comments on “Oat Bran Granola Bars – Healthy and Tasty! {Vegetarian Friendly}

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