Gone are the days of granola bars made from candy bar ingredients. These healthy no-bake granola bars are not only good for you, they taste better than store-bought brands in our humble opinions.
We're not trying to put down the kind of granola bars that make you feel like you're eating a chocolate-dipped treat. Well, we kind of are because it's crazy to think they're marketed as a healthy treat. You may as well just give your kid a Snickers and be done with it!
With ingredients like corn syrup, milk fat, and palm oil, it's no wonder we decided to come up with a healthier alternative. And that's how these granola bars were created! Trust us, it still tastes like you're enjoying a treat. But, we also made these with wholesome ingredients you'll actually feel comfortable feeding to your family.
Plus, they're a great way to get in some healthy fats and protein since there's a variety of nuts and seeds in each bite. It's the perfect kind of snack for all lifestyles. Whether you're hiking, running errands, or taking care of the kids, these handy dandy bars are there for you. They are quick and simple to make, so you can have a batch on hand at all times!
So, are you ready to replace those junk bars with some real food?!
🍲 Key ingredients
- Rolled oats: these are amongst some of the healthiest grains in the world. We love the taste of freshly rolled oats with their nutty, toasty, and sweet notes. They're the perfect base to use in a homemade granola bar. Plus, they work in conjunction with dates and nut butter to bind everything together. Oats are absolutely loaded with nutrients too. In just a ½ cup, there is more than 30% of your daily needs of manganese, phosphorus, magnesium, and thiamine. And did we mention, they're naturally gluten-free?
- Dates: ahh, the delicious fruit of the date palm tree. These sweet nuggets pack a heap of vitamins and minerals. In just 3.5 oz, there is 20% of your daily potassium needs (move over bananas, a new fruit is in town). Whenever possible, we enjoy using fruit to sweeten our meals since it's healthier than processed options like corn syrup and refined sugar. If anything, it just allows for all the other flavors to come through even more. And as we discussed previously, the dates in this recipe help to hold everything together.
- Peanut butter: we don't know about you guys, but we often catch each other taking a heaping spoonful of peanut butter directly from the jar. We literally eat this stuff by the spoonful because it's just so delicious (especially when it's our favorite brand, Adams). We'd like to think we're peanut butter connoisseurs. And rest assured, even though eating lots of this calorie-dense food adds up, it's full of heart-healthy fats which are great for reducing LDL cholesterol (that's the bad kind).
- Pumpkin seeds: don't be fooled by their size, these small seeds pack a punch! They contain a whopping 7g of protein per oz, along with a healthy dose of essential minerals like zinc, copper, and iron. They also add a salty and crunchy element to these already delicious granola bars.
It's best if you start off by pitting, then soaking the dates in hot water for at least an hour, but preferably overnight. Once they've softened, drain the water and blend them in a high-speed blender or food processor.
You want to end up with a fairly smooth consistency, so stop the blender and scrape down the sides a few times. It's okay if there are a few smaller chunks left though since they'll add a chewy element to the bars.
Once you have your date paste ready, add all of the dry ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon, or with your hands if you're feeling like a savage.
Once the dry ingredients are combined, pour in the date paste, runny (or slightly melted) nut butter, and the coconut nectar. Stir your granola mixture again, making sure to coat everything in the wet ingredients.
Then, line a couple loaf pans with parchment paper, and divide the granola evenly. Press the mixture down firmly with your hands or a spatula.
Lastly, set the loaf pans in the freezer for about an hour or overnight. Once they've had time to set, cut your bars into snack-size portions, just like Quaker!
These bars are best stored in the freezer for up to 1 month. They can also be kept in the fridge for 7-10 days if you prefer a softer texture. We wouldn't recommend keeping these bars at room temperature for longer than a day since they will loose their shape.
💭 Budget tips
We think everyone should be able to eat better for less, so here are a few tricks to make this recipe even more affordable:
- Replace the Medjool dates with a cheaper date variety like Deglet Noor
- Instead of pumpkin seeds or sesame seeds try some sunflower seeds!
- Use agave nectar in place of the coconut nectar
🍴 Tasting notes
They're the perfect snack to have on the go, during a busy day, or when you need a little something extra. They're:
If you try these granola bars, please rate them and leave us a comment below! Want to stay up-to-date with new recipes? Subscribe to our newsletter or connect with Broke Bank Vegan on social media. Happy eating!
Healthy No-Bake Granola Bars
- Food processor
- Large mixing bowl
- Loaf pans
- Parchment paper
- ½ cup Medjool dates, soaked ($0.92)
- 2 cups rolled oats ($0.38)
- 1 cup crispy rice cereal ($0.04)
- ½ cup dried cranberries ($0.34)
- ¼ cup mini vegan chocolate chips ($0.34)
- ⅓ cup pumpkin seeds ($0.59)
- ⅓ cup sesame seeds ($0.82)
- A pinch of sea salt ($0.01)
- ¼ cup tahini ($0.24)
- ½ cup natural smooth peanut butter ($0.88)
- ¼ cup coconut nectar ($0.45)
- Start by pitting, then soaking the dates in hot water for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight. Once they've softened, drain the water and blend them in a high-speed blender or food processor until smooth. You may have to stop and scrape down the sides a few times.
- Once you have your date paste ready, add the rolled oats, crispy rice cereal, dried cranberries, mini chocolate chips, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, and salt into a large mixing bowl. Stir thoroughly with a wooden spoon or your hands.
- Once the dry ingredients are mixed, combine the date paste, runny (or slightly melted) tahini and peanut butter, and the coconut nectar in a separate bowl. Pour all of this into the bowl of dry ingredients, and mix well.
- Then, line 2 loaf pans with parchment paper. Divide the granola evenly between both pans, pressing the mixture down firmly with your hands or a spatula.
- Lastly, set the loaf pans in the freezer for about an hour or overnight. Once they've had time to set, cut your bars into snack-size portions to store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer.
- The brand of mini chocolate chips we like is Enjoy Life.
- If your tahini or nut butter has hardened, melt it slightly in the microwave in 10-second bursts to help it mix easier.
♻️ Similar recipes
For more tasty breakfast recipes, check out our:
- Blueberry pie oatmeal if you love blueberries and pie for breakfast.
- Chocolate chip banana oat waffles to enjoy on lazy Sundays.
- Cranberry orange granola for a homemade granola recipe that's sure to knock your socks off.
- Chocolate chip banana bread for a sweet and tender treat you won't forget.
You do not have to use tahini. You can just add more peanut butter, or any nut butter of your liking as a substitute.
The seeds in this recipe can be customized to your preference. If you don't have pumpkin seeds, you can replace them with sunflower seeds or chia seeds. But really, any seeds will work.
If you don't have coconut nectar, you can replace it with brown rice syrup for a similar texture. Agave nectar or maple syrup will work too with a slightly softer texture.