Breakfast bars come in all shapes and sizes. From crunchy to chewy, soft, fruity, or nutty – we love all variations of this convenient and tasty snack. But beware, not all oat bars are vegan and not all vegan oat bars are healthy.
And if you know a little bit about us, you’ll probably guess that our following recipe won’t just be entirely plant-based and made from easy to find ingredients, but also wholesome and nourishing.
We think that the internet and cookbooks are already full of unhealthy or semi-healthy recipes that we would only make on very special occasions. And even then, we’d prefer to choose the more nourishing version.
Therefore, it’s close to our heart to share with you every day healthy recipes that you can enjoy on a regular basis without them having to be a treat.
Depending on what kind of consistency you like your oat bars to come in, you may be very happy or very unhappy with our recipe. To be honest, both the crunchy and moist versions require quite a bit of added oils, so our recipe offers a rather chewy mouthfeel.
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And, depending on your add-ons of choice, you can tweak them to be more on the sweet and moist side (think dates or other dried fruit) or a lot more crunchy by topping them with nuts and seeds.
What we wanted to provide you with here is just a very simple base for such breakfast or snack bars which you can then modify to suit your taste and nutritional preferences.
Some want to keep them lower in added fat, others want them to be a good Omega-3 source. You could even go crazy on the spices and add pumpkin spices or cacao powder, some vanilla extract or even chili!
For a colorful springtime version, add some berries to the batter at the very end – you’ll get a nice dose of antioxidants that way as a bonus. I imagine you could also add chopped apple or pear during the colder months. Or sprinkle a few dark chocolate chips or cacao nibs on top!
One of the main problems we hear from our readers is that it’s so hard to find quick and easy recipes. Those that are filling, that the whole family will enjoy, and that you could even take with you to work or school.
The complex carbohydrates keep your blood sugar stable and your body out of the hunger zone for a few hours (depending on how much you eat, of course).
Oats are a great fuel for your brain and gluten-free, for any of you who cannot digest this plant-based protein. We always use soy milk at home because we like the nutritional values, consistency, and taste the most (as well as the price tag!), so this is what you’ll see in our recipes.
But in the case of the vegan oat bars, simply swap it for any other plant-based milk you prefer! Doesn’t make a difference.
For a more convenient version, you can use whatever whole grain flour you have at home instead of the ground up oat flour. Even though it’s made within a couple of seconds using a good blender, you might not have access to this kitchen tool or simply cannot be bothered.
Making them with some whole grain flour, even all-purpose flour, instead, will give you a different consistency but they will still be healthier than any store-bought ones you might find.
Because let’s face it, with all these added sugars, oils, and isolated plant proteins, you’re more often than not confronted with a junk food disguised as “protein bar” or “granola bar”. Many of them are also sweetened with honey, which is not even vegan.
Not to hate on store-bought products in general, we just think it’s a better idea to nourish your awesome body with every bite you take. Because every time you put some food into your mouth, it’s a chance to miss out on an even healthier one, as Dr. Michael Greger likes to say.
If you’re into healthy and delicious oat-based snacks or breakfast options, you can also try our vegan blueberry muffins that are free from oils and refined sugar! A great way to make your eating pattern healthier is by having such homemade treats and snacks in your kitchen so you don’t go for store-bought items too often.
Now, let’s go straight to the simple vegan oat bar recipe!
Healthy Vegan Oat Bar Recipe (Gluten-Free)
These easy Vegan Oat Bars are made with just a handful of simple and wholesome ingredients, naturally gluten-free - no oil, no refined sugar, just 100% satisfying deliciousness.
- 1 cup rolled oats (90g)
- 1 cup oat flour (130g)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp salt
- 2 ripe bananas, chopped or mashed
- ½ cup soy milk (can swap for other plant-based milk)
- 1-2 tbsp maple syrup
- ⅓ cup walnuts, chopped (40g)
- 5 dates, chopped
- ¼ cup coconut flakes (20g)
- 2 tbsp chia seeds
Preheat oven to 350F/180C. Prepare your non-stick baking dish or line it with a piece of parchment paper so the bars are easier to lift out.
If you quickly want to make your own oat flour, put 1.3 cups (or 220g) rolled oats in your blender or food processor and blend or pulse them.
In a large bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients. Your oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Stir for a few seconds with a spoon. In a different bowl, mash or chop your ripe banana and mix in the soy milk and maple syrup with a fork, mixing thoroughly.
Now, pour the wet ingredients on top of the dry ones and combine well. You can add any nuts, seeds, or dried fruit here if you like.
Put your mixture on to the parchment or baking dish, spreading it evenly. The bars should be 1-1.5 inches (3-4 cm) high. Finally, sprinkle the toppings of your choice on the oat mixture and bake for around 18-20 mins, until firm and lightly golden. The baking time depends on how thinly you spread your batter and how soft or crunchy you want them to be.
Place dish on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then slice into bars. You can store them in an airtight container for a couple days, or wrap them individually into parchment paper and freeze them in a container for up to 3 months.
How do you like your oat bars? Any favorite store-bought brands you can recommend? What are your go-to quick plant-based snacks? Let us know in the comments below.
About the Author
Alena has been eating a plant-based diet for 6 years and is passionate about sharing her learnings in the fields of nutrition, wellbeing, and vegan ethics. She is the co-creator of nutriciously and loves music, reading, nature, traveling, yoga & good food. Alena received training in the fields of nutrition, music therapy, and social work.