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Baked Oatmeal Bars (Vegan, Gluten-Free)

These baked oatmeal bars, which are made without eggs, dairy or refined sugars, are like a mix between a bowl of oatmeal, a muffin and a banana oatcake. They’re portable, golden on the outside, soft in the center and irresistibly sweet. You can eat them on their own, or you can serve them in a bowl with milk and a drizzle of maple syrup or honey. The bars are a great make-ahead breakfast, as you can bake them on the weekend then eat them all week long (or even freeze them!). Chopped nuts would be a delicious addition.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time45 mins
Course: Breakfast
Cuisine: American
Keyword: baked oatmeal bars, oatmeal bars recipe, vegan baked oatmeal bars
Servings: 9 bars

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons virgin coconut oil, plus more for pan
  • 3 cups (270g / 9.5oz) old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 3 tablespoons (28g / 1oz) chia seeds
  • 3 tablespoons (23g / 0.8oz) ground flax seeds (flaxseed meal)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon cardamom
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons kosher salt* (see notes)
  • 2 medium ripe bananas, peeled
  • ¼ cup (85g / 3oz) maple syrup
  • 1-1 ¼ cups fresh or frozen wild blueberries and/or raspberries

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425˚F. Grease an 8x8-inch baking dish generously with coconut oil.
  • Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.
  • In a heatproof bowl combine the oats, chia seeds, ground flax seeds, cinnamon, cardamom and salt. Stir to combine. Plop in 2 tablespoons of coconut oil. Pour the boiling water over the mixture and stir well. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 5-10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, mash the bananas using a fork until mostly smooth. Stir in the maple syrup.
  • Pour the banana mixture over the oats (which will be quite clumpy at this point) and stir well to combine. Fold in the berries.
  • Transfer the mixture to the greased baking dish and bake 30 minutes, or until golden on top and around the edges. Let cool 5-10 minutes (the longer it cools, the easier it will be to cut). Cut into bars and serve warm or at room temperature.

Notes

Do Ahead: The cooled bars can be covered and refrigerated for up to 5 days, or they can be individually wrapped in wax paper or plastic wrap and frozen in a ziptop bag or airtight container for up to 2 months. Reheat the bars in a toaster oven or microwave.
Tips:
  • Be sure to use gluten-free rolled oats like these if you can't eat gluten.
  • I cook with Diamond Crystal kosher salt, which is less salty than Morton's (due to its shape). If you use Morton's kosher salt, cut the quantity back to 1 tsp.
  • Instead of using eggs, these bars are bound with chia seeds and ground flax seeds (which are also a great source of fiber and protein!). If you have the space, store your seeds in the refrigerator or freezer to extend their shelf life.
  • I use virgin coconut oil in these bars, which provides a lovely flavor and healthy fats. However, you could use ghee or butter instead.
  • It's important to cover the oat mixture and let it sit for 5-10 minutes after adding the boiling water. This will activate the thickening power of the oats and seeds.
  • Feel free to swap in honey in place of the maple syrup.
  • I usually use frozen wild blueberries and raspberries in these bars, since I always have them on hand, but you could use fresh berries instead!
  • A few readers have baked the oatmeal bars in greased muffin tins with success!! Check them early, as they will cook faster.