My kids always want snacks.
Who am I kidding? I always want snacks, too.
I’m not crazy about all the “stuff” that’s in most purchased snacks, though. And by “stuff” I mean things I can’t identify or pronounce: binders and preservatives and artificial flavors and colors. Not only are a lot of those ingredients unhealthy, but I think they make everything taste the same. It’s like all the added “stuff” masks the flavors of the real food.
Real food isn’t only better for you, it tastes better, too.
These granola bars are “real food.” They are also real easy, real quick, and real delicious. They are chewy and sweet, but they are also fresh tasting and chock full of good-for-you ingredients: oats, seeds, nuts and fruit. They are held together with coconut oil, honey and a mashed banana, and they have a little brown sugar, vanilla and cinnamon for extra flavor.
I suggest wrapping them individually and storing them in the fridge. Not only will they stay fresh longer, but they will hold together perfectly if they are kept chilled. If they do get too warm and a little crumbly, just mix them with yogurt and a little fresh fruit for a healthy parfait.
- 3 cups rolled oats, divided
- 1 cup raw sliced almonds
- ½ cup raw pepitas
- 1 cup dried blueberries
- ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp. sea salt
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup dark brown sugar
- 3 Tbsp. coconut oil
- 1 ripe banana
- 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
- Line a 9 x 13 baking dish with parchment paper, extending it up two sides. Spray parchment paper and exposed pan sides with cooking spray. Set aside.
- Measure 1 cup rolled oats and ½ cup raw pepitas into the bowl of a food processor. Pulse a few times until pepitas are coarsely chopped and oats have been broken down into smaller pieces. Do not over-process.
- Pour chopped oats and pepitas into a very large bowl, and add the remaining 2 cups of rolled oats and the sliced almonds. Mix together.
- Add dried blueberries, cinnamon and sea salt; mix in. Set aside.
- Mash ripe banana in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine honey, brown sugar, and coconut oil in a small saucepan. Stir over medium heat until coconut oil is completely melted. Add warm oil mixture to mashed banana and stir to combine. Add vanilla to mixture and stir in.
- Slowly pour oil mixture over dry oatmeal mixture and stir until oat mixture is completely coated. Dump oat mixture into the prepared pan, and press down firmly and evenly. (I like to coat a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and use it to press the granola mixture into an even layer.)
- Bake at 325 degrees for about 25 minutes, or until lightly golden brown around the edges.
- Cool in pan on a wire rack for about ½ hour before cutting into bars or squares, then cover and refrigerate for at least another hour before serving. Store bars in the fridge for the best texture.