These healthy granola bars with peanut butter are tasty and fulfilling, made with wholesome ingredients, and without refined sugars.
You can make them in just over half an hour, without cooking or baking, and have them ready for a quick on-the-go breakfast, or as a healthy snack.
What to expect
I always loved the convenience of breakfast bars, at least until the day I realized that despite being advertised as healthy, they are in most cases packed with refined sugar, glucose, fructose, and corn syrups, and other flavorings to make them craveable (aka addictive).
So, these healthy granola bars are basically breakfast bars that are made with wholesome, unrefined, plant-based ingredients.
They are sweet, but not too much. Fulfilling, but not excessively. Packed with whole grains, protein, healthy fats, and healthy sugars to give you slow, long-lasting energy throughout the morning.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Dates: any variety of dates is ok here. We use them because they are sweet, healthy and sticky and help keep the bar together. We turned the dates into a paste, so if you have already made date paste at home that works too.
- Nut butter: you can use peanut butter, almond butter, or a mix bettween the two.
- Rolled oats: sometimes known as old fashioned oats. They add chewiness, fiber, and good carbs.
- Puffed rice: I like to add a puffed cereal to this recipe as it makes it lighter and more fun to eat. You can use puffed rice or puffed spelt, barley, or whatever puffed cereal you can find in your grocery store, ideally though without addedd sugars.
- Dark chocolate: either dark chocolate chips, or a dark chocolate bar chopped into small pieces. I usually go for 70% and up.
- Seeds: to add some healthy fats. I like to use a mix between pumpkin, chia, flax, and sunflower seeds. You can pick and mix.
- Aromas: I like to add the grated zest of an orange to add some freshness. Also orange goes very well with chocolate. If you don’t fancy the orange flavour you can go for cinnamon, vanilla, ginger, etc.
- Salt: to tie all the flavours togehter.
First off, blend the pitted dates till you have a smooth date paste.
If your dates are dry, soak them in hot, almost boiling water, for 10 minutes, then blend them with 1 to 2 tablespoons of the soaking water.
If you have date paste at hand, then you can skip this step and use date paste instead.
Tip: I like to prepare a jar of date paste in advance and keep it handy. It stores for 3 months in the refrigerator.
Then to a bowl, add 1/2 cup (150 grams) of the date paste, and 1 cup (150 grams) of peanut butter (or any other nut butter). I actually use my homemade nut butter that is 50% peanuts and 50% almonds.
Add your chosen aroma, I use the grated zest of an orange and half a teaspoon of salt. Mix with a spatula until the ingredients are well incorporated.
Now add 1 cup (110 grams) of rolled oats, 1 cup (35 grams) of puffed rice, 1/4 cup (45 grams) of dark chocolate chopped into pieces, and 2 tablespoons of seeds of your choice, such as pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, chia seeds or flax seeds.
Mix the ingredients with the same spatula until you have a homogeneous mixture.
Now transfer it to a baking sheet lined with baking paper. Here we use a square baking pan that is 8 x 8 inches (20 x 20 centimeters).
Push down the dough with the spatula until it is distributed throughout the pan, then put another piece of baking paper on top, and continue to flatten it with your hands, making a lot of pressure, and compacting it very well.
Once it’s nice and flattened in the baking pan put it to rest in the refrigerator for an hour, or in the freezer for half an hour.
Then remove it from the baking sheet, put it on a cutting board, and cut it into bars, or even into squares. I usually cut 10 bars.
Since these healthy granola bars don’t contain any added sugars or refined fats they are great for a healthy breakfast or snack, full of fiber, healthy fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates that release energy slowly.
Store the healthy granola bars in the refrigerator in an airtight container for weeks, or in the freezer for up to 2 -3 months.
You can eat the bars almost frozen. Just let them thaw for a few minutes, then they are ready to go. I honestly love them as cold as possible, almost straight out of the freezer.
More nuts? Sure, just add 1/2 cup of chopped toasted almonds into the mix.
Sweeter? Got you! You can easily add a couple of tablespoons of maple syrup or agave syrup to the mix to add a touch of sweetness to the bars.
More fruit? Yes, add some dried and chopped apples or bananas, in small pieces though, or the bars won’t stick together. You can also add raisins or chopped cranberries.
Don’t like dates? Then you could try dried prunes instead. They have delicious ones in California that you can use just like dates, that is, blend them and use them as a sticky sugar replacement.
More Breakfast Recipes
- Easy oat cookies with raisins
- Muffins with oat flour
- Birchermüesli aka overnight oats with apple and almonds
- Granola recipe
- Tofu scramble: an excellent savory breakfast idea
- Vegan breakfast burrito: a wonderful breakfast meal
Healthy Granola Bars
- Baking pan 8 x 8 inches
- ½ cup dates pitted
- 1 cup peanut butter or almond butter, or 50% peanut and 50% almond butter
- 1 orange the grated zest
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup puffed rice
- ¼ cup dark chocolate drops
- 2 tablespoon seeds of your choice (pumpkin, sunflower, chia, flax or a mix)
- Line a 8×8 inch baking pan with baking paper.
- First, blend the pitted dates until you have a smooth date paste. If your dates are dry, soak them in hot, almost boiling water for 10 minutes, then blend them with 1 or 2 tablespoons of the soaking water.Tip: I like to make a jar of date paste ahead of time and keep it on hand. It will keep for up to 3 months in the refrigerator.
- In a large bowl, add the date paste, nut butter, grated orange zest and salt.Mix with a spatula until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Add the rolled oats, puffed rice, chocolate chips and mixed seeds.Mix with a spatula, gently, rubbing the dry ingredients into the nut butter paste. Do this until the ingredients come together.
- Transfer the mixture to the baking sheet and press firmly with a spatula. Place a second sheet of parchment paper on top of the dough and press down firmly with your hands. The dough should be pressed firmly into the baking dish.
- Cool for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator or at least 30 minutes in the freezer. Then take out, cut into bars and store in the freezer or refrigerator.
If you liked this recipe you might also like: