Nut & Seed Banana Oat Snack Bars

Nut & Seed Banana Oat Snack Bars - Eat Your Greens

A year ago I was starting grad school and it felt like I was 18 and a freshman again, wandering around campus and wondering if I’d ever make any friends. The second year of anything is always different — I’m more confident, but also less excited. I’m quick to identify the things I will come to hate before the end of the semester. I know whom I hope to see in my classes and whom I never want to work with on a group project. (There are a lot of group projects.)

I feel good about the year ahead, though. For one thing, I am done with organic chemistry forever. (THANK YOU, JEEBUS.) And it finally feels like all the science I’ve been stuffing in my brain for the last three years is coming together into something that makes sense, something that is related to nutrition. It’s pretty exhilarating.

Being in the second year also means it’s easier to figure out what I’m going to eat all day; I have my school food routine set. A snack in the morning, a lunch with lots of veggies and a piece of fruit, a baggie of trail mix and another piece of fruit on the drive home, and lots of water throughout the day. Rinse. Repeat.

Nut & Seed Banana Oat Snack Bars - Eat Your Greens

Last year I experimented with making weird homemade snack bars that more often than not were filling, but kind of gross. You know those recipes? The ones that aren’t bad enough to throw away, but that you’d only feed to someone else with plenty of excuses and caveats.

A couple days before school started, I rediscovered Faith’s recipe for 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars on The Kitchn and realized they could be the base for my dream granola bar — chewy, a little crisp at the edges and not very sweet.

A couple batches later and I am hooked. My version substitutes sunflower seeds and pepitas for half of the oats and also includes some chopped walnuts. They are filling but not dense like a sad hippie cookie. They are chewy with crisp edges. They are not too sweet. I’ve been making them and freezing them individually wrapped, so I just grab one in the morning and tuck it into my lunch bag. It’s thawed enough to eat just before my morning class and filling enough to see me through until lunch several hours later.

Let’s hope my second year in school turns out as well as my second go at homemade snack bars.

Nut & Seed Banana Oat Snack Bars - Eat Your Greens

Nut & Seed Banana Oat Snack Bars

Yield: 6 large bars

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

{ Ingredients }

1 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/2 cup pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup walnuts, roughly chopped
1/4 cup dried cherries or pitted dates, chopped
3 small ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
Butter or other oil, for greasing pan

{ Directions }

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-by-9-inch square pan.

In a large bowl, combine the oats, seeds, nuts and dried fruit. Place the bananas, vanilla, salt and cinnamon in the bowl of a small food processor or blender and process until smooth. (You will have about 1 1/4 cup of puree.) Pour the banana puree over the oat mixture and stir until all the dry ingredients are evenly moist. Press mixture evenly into the bottom of the pan.

Bake for 30 minutes, until firm and lightly browned on the edges. Let cool completely and cut into 6 bars. You can store them in an airtight container for a couple days, but I recommend wrapping them individually and freezing them in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months.

• You can substitute other seeds or nuts of your choice.

• These are not terribly sweet. If you like a sweeter granola bar, add maple syrup or brown sugar to taste.

• Use gluten-free oats to make these bars gluten-free.

Adapted from Faith Durand's 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars at The Kitchn

   

{ 20 Comments }

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    1
    Melissa // The Fauxmartha — September 9, 2013 at 7:41 am

    I’ve made so many sub-par granola bars too. Gonna have to make these! I’m working on granola bar recipe right now. It’s close but I can’t figure out how to perfect it. Maybe yours will inspire me.

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    melissa @ my whole food life — September 10, 2013 at 4:56 am

    Yum! I am always looking for new snack bars. These look great!

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    Sadie — September 14, 2013 at 3:06 am

    Ugh, I feel your pain. I have made PLENTY of sub-par power bars recently. They always seem to either taste great but fall apart or taste kinda weird but hold together. I can’t wait to try these bars and hopefully turn my luck around!

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    betsy — September 16, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    could these be made without bananas? i realize they provide moisture and bind it all together, but i do not like bananas.

    • Anjali — September 17th, 2013 at 11:38 am

      I’ve made similar bars with dried fruit, chia seeds and/or soaked flax seeds as binders, but those were the previously-mentioned kind of weird bars. So experiment without bananas at your own risk!

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    Orla — September 19, 2013 at 7:02 am

    Hi!! I just made these, had to comment. These are absolutely delicious, and so easy to make. They will make an excellent alternative to store bought oat bars which are loaded with sugar. I used an electric mixer instead of a blender as mine is on the fritz, worked perfectly.Thank you so much for the recipe :)

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    Orla — September 19, 2013 at 7:04 am

    Forgot to mention that I have been ransacking the net looking for a really healthy homemade bar that doesn’t use a lot of butter or sugar. This was by far the best, thanks again.

    • Anjali — September 19th, 2013 at 5:08 pm

      Thanks so much, Orla! I’m always happy to hear when someone likes a recipe as much as I do.

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    Madhavi — January 8, 2014 at 3:49 pm

    This looks yummy! Do you have the nutritional/calorie values per serving? Thanks much!

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    Julie — February 27, 2014 at 6:25 pm

    Hi Anjali, I came across your blog whilst looking for healthy snack bar recipes. I really enjoyed this recipe – I loved the warmth and sweetness from the bananas and the fact that it is so healthy! Like you, I am studying to be a dietitian after starting off in a completely different field, and it was very encouraging to read about your story and your experiences. Good luck for your studies and best wishes for your pregnancy!

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    Rachel — March 1, 2014 at 12:13 pm

    Love the banana oat bar. It’s a genius idea to purée the banana so you don’t need honey or oil to bind it together. Have already put some wrapped individually in the freezer or they would all be eaten tonight. Thank you!

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    Rachel — March 1, 2014 at 12:16 pm

    Did a rough calorie count and came up with 170 kcals per bar and a cost of about 25pence,. You can’t get anything as nice as this in our shops but the nearest with lots of added sugar would be over £1. Will keep making it now!

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    kritter — March 4, 2014 at 3:02 pm

    What kind and size of pan did you use? I’m excited to try these.

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    Beth — March 23, 2014 at 5:54 pm

    I had some very very brown bananas that needed using, and I found this recipe so I was pumped to try it.

    In my first batch, I made a few substitutions based on what I had and what I forgot to purchase at the store (I used all walnuts instead of a mix, and flaked unsweet coconut in place of pepitas). I followed recommendations and cut my bars once they cooled, wrapped them in foil, froze them. They were SO good!

    I was a little intimidated by the large list of different ingredients because I don’t keep most of them on hand, but the bulk bins at my Whole Foods made it really easy to make these on the super cheap.

    I’m so addicted I just had to make more. This time I got creative and used trail mix and extra fruit. They’re baking in the oven now and I can’t wait. These are so versatile I can see making them all the time :) Thanks for an awesome recipe!

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    13
    Michele — May 10, 2014 at 5:22 am

    Hi Anjali – the bars look really great! I am definitely going to make them. For the bananas, since size differs, what measurement cup-wise would 3 small be? Thanks! Michele

    • Anjali — May 10th, 2014 at 7:52 am

      The bananas make about 1 1/4 cups after pureeing. Hope you like them!

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    Yoshe — May 13, 2014 at 5:48 pm

    Hi Anjali, I was looking for a healthy, low sugar oat bar recipe and it looks like I found one. I tried to bake this yesterday but somehow it didn’t come out right. Looking at your picture, yours seemed firm and crisp enough. Mine wasn’t as crispy and easily fell apart – though it tasted good! Any idea what might have caused this?

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    Cuong — June 17, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    Mmmmm…… I just made these and I have to say, they taste a lot like banana nut bread. Really good and great recipe! Plus they are soooo healthy for you! Where did you get the idea of using just banana puree?

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    Laura — July 24, 2014 at 6:06 am

    thanks so much for this recipe, I can’t wait to make your banana-oat-nuts and seed bars!! I came upon your website while looking for a lentil salad recipe and I’m so glad I did!!

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    Sammy — October 15, 2014 at 2:57 am

    I made these the other day and they are awesome!! Substituted some nuts for dessicated coconut and they are perfect. Never buying ready made’s again. Thankyou for your receipe <3

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