Whether it’s a quick breakfast, part of a school lunch, an afternoon snack, or “emergency food” while we’re traveling, granola bars are one of our go-to options. However, the ones we like (i.e. the healthier ones that are also gluten-free) are a tad expensive. It seems a bit nutty (hahaha!) to pay almost $2 for a granola bar that gets snarfed down in less than 2 minutes!
My Simple Nutty Granola Bars are, I think, just as good as the ones we buy, if not better, AND they’re cheaper. Furthermore, as with any homemade recipe, I know every single thing going into these granola bars. And I know each of those ingredients are good! There is no looking at the ingredient list on the box and thinking, “Well, this is mostly okay,” or “I’m not sure what that is.” Heaven forbid I have to open up the my E Additives app to determine if an E ingredient is actually safe to eat! Ingredients shouldn’t be complicated!
That’s where these SIMPLE Nutty Granola Bars come in. No mysterious E ingredients!
I started this whole recipe idea as a no-bake granola bar. Use rolled oats straight from the bag, mix them with dates, chocolate chips and vanilla…how easy could it be?
However, it just wasn’t working for me. It was the wrong texture and the wrong flavor. Despite the recipe being easy, it was lacking in every other way. And I can’t put up a sub-par recipe just for the sake of it being easy. So I worked some more on it and finally found a recipe that yields the results I’m happy to share!
The key to making this recipe work is actually using granola…and what better granola to use than my Simple Nutty Granola recipe! Using rolled oats straight from the jar can work, but the texture won’t be right. It’s kind of like eating paper, if you can imagine that…sweet chewy paper. Meh. Furthermore, using raw rolled oats is more like muesli…so these would be muesli bars, and that’s not what I want.
By using granola, that means the oats are baked, so they’re more crisp. They also have a slight coating of maple syrup on them that helps seal them up and adds a nice flavor. Once you’ve got the granola, this actually is a “no-bake” granola bar because you don’t have to bake the bars to get them to stay together.
I often make the granola ahead of time, then make the granola bars a couple days letter. At that point, making the granola bars themselves comes together really quickly and easily! So whether you have my Simple Nutty Granola or another favorite granola on-hand, you are ready to go! Just take the granola, mix it with the dates, chocolate chips and vanilla and you’re done! If you don’t have any granola on-hand…no worries! I’ve included the instructions on how to make the granola right in this recipe!
Don’t these look awesome?? Okay, I have a thing about food photos…but seriously! Don’t they make you want to reach into the screen and grab one??
Besides including one in each of the boys’ lunches, I like having one for breakfast with an apple sometimes. And of course, they make a great snack for a quick boost of energy.
This recipe is so simple and so good. You’ll probably stop buying granola bars from the grocery store and you’ll also wonder why you never made your own sooner! So try making a pan of these granola bars and see how you like them! And of course, leave a comment below!
Simple Nutty Granola Bars
Simple Nutty Granola
- 1 1/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/4 cup cashews, chopped
- 1 tbs Extra light olive oil
- 1 tbs maple syrup
- 1 1/2 cups Simple Nutty Granola (if you already have a batch of this on-hand, great! If not, the recipe included here will make the exact amount you need for the bars)
- 1 cup soft dates packed firmly
- 2 tsp water
- 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 3 tbs chocolate chips
Simple Nutty Granola
Preheat oven 250 deg F (125 C).
Combine rolled oats, chopped cashews, oil and maple syrup and mix well. Place oats mixture in baking pan.
Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.
Using a food processor, add dates, water, and vanilla to bowl. Process until dates are a paste.
Combine dates, granola, and chocolate chips in medium bowl and mix well.
Transfer granola mixture to a parchment lined loaf pan and press down using the back of a spoon or spatula.
Refrigerate for an hour until firm.
Cut into bars and store in the fridge for a week.