Loaded Granola Bars Recipe
This simple granola bar recipe is the ultimate protein-packed snack! Each bite is loaded with wholesome ingredients like nuts, seeds, and oats that will fill you up and keep you going all day long. These delicious plant-based granola bars are gluten-free and free of refined sugar.
Servings 20 bars
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the old fashioned oats, coconut oil, and sea salt. Mix it well, so each oat is lightly coated in oil. Lay the oats on a parchment-lined baking tray and bake it for 18-20 minutes or until the oats are lightly golden and toasted. Stir halfway through.
While the oats are toasting, mix the maple syrup and coconut sugar in a small pan over medium heat until the sugar has dissolved (about 5 minutes). Once the sugar has dissolved, add the cinnamon and vanilla extract. Stir it well.
Remove the tray of oats from the oven and carefully pour them back into your mixing bowl. I’ve found that the easiest way to do this is to carefully pick up the top and bottom right corners of the pachment paper with your right hand and pick up the top and bottom left corners with your left hand. Then create a funnel to pour the oats back into the bowl. Also, reduce the heat to 300 degrees.
Add all of the nuts and seeds to the bowl with the oats. Pour the syrup mixture you just made over the oats and stir to combine everything. Use a large spoon to scoop the oat mixture out of the bowl and back onto the parchment-lined tray. Spread the oats out evenly, and use a piece of parchment paper to lay on top of the oats and press down firmly with your palm. Pressing down will help the oats stick together better and form a solid bar.
Bake the granola bars for 28-30 minutes (watch it carefully!) or until the granola is golden brown. If you see any darker spots beginning to form, rotate the tray or remove it from the oven so it doesn’t burn.
When the granola bars are done baking, remove the tray from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes. Use a pastry cutter or thin spatula to slice the granola into 4 x 5 rows to make 20 bars. If you don’t slice the granola bars now, you won’t be able to later because they will be too hard.If you miss the window to easily slice the bars (been there, done that!), don’t panic! You can still use your hands to break it up into chunks and I promise, it will taste just as good.
Let the granola bars finish cooling completely and then store them in an airtight container for up to one week.
- Use raw unsalted nuts and seeds so you can control how much sodium is in the granola bars + you'll be roasting the nuts anyways while the bars bake.
- If you have a newer oven (mine is old) or you know that it runs hot, make sure to check on the granola every few minutes to make sure it's not getting too dark. My mom loves this granola bars recipe and makes it often but she has a new oven and she reported back that it didn't take as long to bake her granola bars as my oven takes.
- When you pour the oat/nut mixture back onto the tray, try to press the edges in towards the center so they are pretty solid and even lines. You want one big solid rectangle. If the edges look loose on the tray then they might break off of the bars when you cut them.
- Don't skip the step to place a piece of parchment on top of the bars and press down. This step is very important to help the bars meld together and form hearty, solid bars. If you don't have parchment paper you could also use foil, wax paper, the bottom of a cup, or even just your hand. The barrier is just to keep your hands from getting sticky.
- Once the granola bars come out of the oven, let them cool for about 5 minutes (so you can safely touch them without burning yourself). Then you must use a thin sturdy spatula or a pastry cutter to cut the granola into 12 bars. The bars firm up quickly as they cool and if you wait too long to cut them then it's next to impossible to cut them into traditional bar shapes. If you forget about cutting them and they've completely cooled by the time you remember then your best bet is to just break the granola up into random shapes. It will still taste great, promise!
- While you're cutting the bars, if you have any loose edges that break off you can put the loose pieces in a separate container to use for cereal with plant milk.
- Make sure that you store the leftover granola bars in an airtight container on the counter (not in the fridge) so they will stay crunchy for the max amount of time.
Calories: 183kcal | Carbohydrates: 20g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 65mg | Potassium: 144mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 0.1mg | Calcium: 41mg | Iron: 1.6mg