These delicious and nutritious granola bars are something that can be realistically tackled at home. Making you and your family a wholesome, filling snack for whatever adventures the day may bring. I love this recipe because you have creative license to add or subtract whatever ingredients suit your mood : )
- 1.5 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 medium/large bananas)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 2 cups rolled oats (use certified gluten-free if necessary)
- 1/2-3/4 cup dried cherries, chopped (I used 3/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pepita seeds (shelled pumpkin seeds)
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon pink Himalayan salt or fine grain sea salt, or to taste
- Preheat the oven to 350F. Lightly grease a large rectangular baking dish (approx. 8.5" x 12.5") and line with a piece of parchment paper so the bars are easier to lift out.
- In a large bowl, mash the banana until smooth. Stir in the vanilla.
- Place the rolled oats into a food processor (or blender on the lowest speed) and pulse until the oats are coarsely chopped (but still with lots of texture). Stir oats into the banana mixture.
- Chop the walnuts and cherries and stir these and the rest of the ingredients into the banana-oat mixture until thoroughly combined.
- Spoon mixture into prepared dish. Press down until compacted and smooth out with hands until even. Use a pastry roller to smooth out if desired.
- Bake for 23-27 minutes (I baked for 25 mins.) until firm and lightly golden along the edge. Place dish on a cooling rack for 10 minutes then carefully slide a knife to loosen the ends and lift out. Place granola slab on a cooling rack for 10 minutes and then into the freezer for another 10 mins. (if you are impatient like me).
- Slice into bars once they are cool.
Approximate nutritional info: (per bar, based on 14 large bars using 1/2 cup dried sweetened cherries): 186 calories, 8.7 grams fat, 22 grams carbs, 4.7 grams fibre, 6 grams sugar, 6.6 grams protein. Without dried cherries, bars have approx. 3.6 grams of sugar and 166 calories.
Tips: To wrap these up for freezing, I wrapped the bars individually in parchment paper using 6-inch by 12-inch pieces of parchment. After wrapping up a bar, tie it with string or tape it to secure. Finally, place all of the bars into a freezer-safe zip lock bag, press out all the air, and then seal it shut. I will update this note when I know how long the bars last for, but I expect they will keep for over 1 month in the freezer. 2) These bars aren't super sweet, so if you prefer something sweeter you can always add a touch of sweetener. 3) I also expect these would be great with chopped dark chocolate added in!