Soft & Chewy Baked Granola Bars

193 comments

sugarfreegranolabar 4621   Soft & Chewy Baked Granola Bars

The alternate title for these bars was: ultra dense, doughy, chewy, soft, seedy, hearty, protein-and-fibre-packed granola bars, sweetened naturally with dates!

I can be a bit wordy at times. Anyway, these are not your average granola bars! Bursting with chia, sunflower, and pepita seeds, they pack a hefty amount of protein, fibre, and omega fatty acids and are naturally sweetened with date paste (a simple blend of water and pitted dates) instead of sugar. I like to think of these as an “adult” granola bar or a muesli breakfast bar of sorts, although I could also see my hockey-loving nephews enjoying these as fuel for the game. For those with nut allergies, you’ll be happy to know these are totally nut-free, just like my Super Power Chia Bread which this recipe is adapted from. If you’ve enjoyed the Super Power Chia Bread, the texture of these granola bars is the same – very soft and like an ultra dense, doughy bread.

I didn’t feel like calling them “chia bread” though due to the sweetness; granola bars just seemed to make more sense in my brain. I also debated calling these “energy bars” because they are packed with so many good-for-you ingredients and I’ve been enjoying them after exercise for a little pick me up. As you can see, deciding on a title is not my strong point! Whatever you call them, I hope you enjoy them as much as we do.

granolabar   Soft & Chewy Baked Granola Bars

Soft + Chewy Baked Granola Bars

Vegan, gluten-free, nut-free, oil-free, refined sugar-free, soy-free

By

print icon   Soft & Chewy Baked Granola Bars

Dense, chewy, soft, doughy, seedy, hearty, protein-and-fibre-packed granola bars, sweetened naturally with dates! Try them spread with nut or seed butter for a fun treat or just enjoy them plain. Adapted from my Super Power Chia Bread.

Yield
10-12 bars
Prep Time
Cook time
Total Time

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup gluten-free rolled oats, ground into a flour
  • 1 cup water
  • 3/4 cup packed pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/2 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1/4 cup dried cranberries, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 325F and line a 9-inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper, one going each way.
  2. Add rolled oats into a high-speed blender. Blend on highest speed until a fine flour forms. Add oat flour into a large bowl.
  3. Add water and pitted dates into blender. Allow the dates to soak for 30 minutes if they are a bit firm or your blender has a hard time blending dates smooth. Once they are soft, blend the dates and water until super smooth.
  4. Add all of the ingredients into the bowl with the oat flour and stir well until combined.
  5. Scoop the mixture into the pan and spread it out with a spatula as evenly as possible. You can use lightly wet hands to smooth it down if necessary.
  6. Bake at 325F for about 23-25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes and then lift it out and transfer it to a cooling rack for another 5-10 minutes. Slice and enjoy!
  7. I suggest freezing leftovers to preserve freshness.

sugarfreegranolabar 4591   Soft & Chewy Baked Granola Bars

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{ 193 comments… read them below or add one }

Marie January 8, 2014

Hi Angela! Do you think I could subsitute almonds or walnuts for the sunflower and pepita seeds? I don’t like those very much. But I love almonds :)
I think it’s my first time commenting but I’m a long-time reader.
Take care!

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2014

Hey Marie,
Yes, I totally think you can change up the seeds and nuts as you see fit! Almonds and walnuts sound great to me. Thanks for reading.

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Abby @ The Frosted Vegan January 8, 2014

All that goodness in one bar,yesss ma’am!!

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Keri @ WithlovefromColorado January 8, 2014

Can’t wait to make these–today! And stock pile them before this baby is born (any day) so I have a healthy snack to reach for when I won’t have time to cook. You are always an inspiration :)

Just curious, I always see that you use gluten free oats, ground into flour. I desperately want a vitamix, but don’t have one yet! Is there a reason why you grind your own oats into flour instead of buying gluten-free oat flour (which is what I’ve been doing)??

I’m wondering if maybe in the processing something happens that I don’t know about. Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2014

Hi Keri, You can use either store-bought oat flour or grind you own – I just grind my own because it’s so easy in the Vitamix and I can’t be bothered to store both rolled oats and oat flour. ;) Generally, 1 cup rolled oats makes about 1 cup oat flour so you can swap 1:1.
Congrats on your baby-to-be! So excited for you.

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Keri January 8, 2014

Thanks-both for the congrats & oat flour wisdom :)

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Nicole January 9, 2014

Do you use the dry blade container or the stock container?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2014

I use a dry container now that I have one, but I used the wet container for years before that. To be honest I find the wet container seems to work better for grinding flour. Maybe it’s just me though!

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Nicole March 11, 2014

That’s great to hear! I was considering purchasing the dry blade container but I was hesitant because of price and thinking I would not get much use of it. Now I know for sure I won’t have much use for it. Thanks!

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Lindy January 8, 2014

You don’t need a vitamix to grind oats into flour. I use my kitchen aid food processor and it works just fine!!

Though, I too, want a vitamix someday!! :)

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Keri January 8, 2014

Hmmm…will have to see if our trusty, albeit OLD cuisinart can handle it!

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Missy Homemaker January 12, 2014

I’ve used my coffee grinder to make oat flour and it worked great :)

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alice talbot January 11, 2014

You can always use a coffee grinder! it works just as well in my opinion :) -congrats!

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Caitlin January 8, 2014

these look amazing, angela! i love all of the super healthy ingredients and that they don’t even have maple or brown rice syrup to hold them together! grown-up granola bars for sure ;)

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Erica { EricaDHouse.com } January 8, 2014

These look scrumptious! I’ve come up with a few of my own sugar free granola/protein bar recipes, but they definitely taste unsweetened. I don’t use a lot of dates in my cooking, but I think that’s the missing ‘oomph.’ Can’t wait to try these!

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Marina @ Lazy for Diet January 8, 2014

It looks super appetizingly. And it is dangerous to me because I won’t be able precisely to stop on one bar ;)

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Fräulein K. January 8, 2014

Thanks for the great recipe.
Did you think i cound subsitute the oats with some 100% gluten free flour maybe rice flour? Because somethimes the oats are not “clean” and gluten free -.-
thanks Fräulein K.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 8, 2014

I think a variety of flours would work – if you check the comments in the original chia bread recipe some people suggested some that worked. good luck!

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connie January 8, 2014

You might try almond flour instead, if you eat nuts.

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Erena DiGonis January 8, 2014

Just looking at the picture makes me hungry! They look so chewy and delicious – can’t wait to try it – Thanks!

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Liz @ Tip Top Shape January 8, 2014

These look so hearty and healthy! Definitely better than regular ol’ Quaker granola bars!

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh January 8, 2014

You call ‘em what you want, girlie. I’ll likely call them delicious! Anything with dates and I’m in!

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Margaret January 8, 2014

These look wonderful! Dates are the perfect sweetener. Would it work to substitute whole wheat flour instead of oat? I’m assuming wheat is denser so I wasn’t sure…

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Alexina January 8, 2014

Do you have the nutritional stats on these?

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Shundara@SavyNaturalista January 8, 2014

I love how the date paste is pouring into the bowl, and since I am laying off the sugar these are perfect.

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Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat January 8, 2014

Oh looooooordy these sound amazing! I’m a huge sucker for anything that contains the pumkpkin seed and cranberry combo, and I’m pretty sure that given the chance, I could demolish an entire batch! :) Great recipe, and gorgeous photos as always!

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Carry January 8, 2014

I’m going to give these a try. I have made several bars in the past with date paste and they never seem to firm up enough. They are always really crumbly. I have high hopes for these. If you have any tips that helped you get a bar that doesn’t fall apart, I’d definitely appreciate them!

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The Vegan Cookie Fairy January 8, 2014

Goodness me, these look good! And certainly much healthier than most energy bars out there…

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anne January 8, 2014

They look delicious, although they aren’t sugar-free. There’s sugar in added fruit and even, in oats (different kind of sugar, though). They are ‘no added sugar’ or perhaps ‘sucrose-free’. Sorry, don’t mean to be food label nitpicker :)

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Patricia January 8, 2014

I completely agree! And if they’re Craisins there’s a ridiculous amount of added sugar in there.

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Elle June 3, 2014

Yea, I was going to say the same thing. There’s tons of sugar in these! You would need to say so to a diabetic, if they didn’t see the ingredients list. It could really hurt somebody if they were sugar-sensitive. It’s just “no added sugar.” For future recipes (I’m directing this at the author of the original post, not the above comment), I would look up the wiki for sugar (I don’t mean that condescendingly, but kindly) just so you understand what kind of sugars there are, what they’re in, etc. It’s very important.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 3, 2014

Thanks for your feedback ladies! Perhaps sweetened naturally would have been a better choice of words. What I was referring to was no added sugars like granulated sugar or liquids. Either way, I’ve removed sugar-free from the title to avoid confusion. Hope this helps!

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Elle June 3, 2014

Totally gotcha. Thank you for taking it into account. Just to add positivity to the criticism: this looks amazing, I can’t wait to try it; thanks for the recipe.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) June 3, 2014

No prob :) Let me know how it goes if you try them out.

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Alice in Quebequie January 8, 2014

Hello Angela,
I discovered your blog recently and I LOVE it, even if I am not a strict vegetarian/vegan. I even translated one of your recipe for my french reader (the peanut-Thai burger -AMAZING-) and I pre-ordered your book, and can’t wait to read it!
Thank you so much for sharing all your hard work with us :)
That being said, I wanted to know if you think we could substitute dates with sun-dried bananas (rehydrated). I always have the impulse to do it in the recipes involving puréed dates but I never had the nerves to try it. What do you think?
Thank you. xxx

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2014

Hey Alice, Thanks for your kind words. I’m so happy you are enjoying the blog and thank you for pre-ordering the book! A banana version of this certainly sounds intriguing! Would you be subbing 3/4 cup rehydrated banana and blending it with the water? If so that should work, although it wouldn’t be as sweet. let me know how it goes if you try it!

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Alice in Quebequie January 9, 2014

Hi Angela, thank you for answering.
I tried it this morning (I couldn’t wait) and I put 1 sliced dried banana and completed the 3/4 cup with dates (about 5). I also used infused ginger tea instead of plain water. It turned out good, sweet enough with a slight banana-ginger taste :) I might try with 2 bananas next time.
I also did with what I had in my pantry, almond instead of sunflower seeds and brown rice flour instead of oats, and the texture turned out perfect :)
Thank you for this wonderful recipe :)

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Shel@PeachyPalate January 8, 2014

You are a genius!! That is all!

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Kate January 8, 2014

Hi Angela!! Huge fan of your food. Wondering if you can replace the oats with coconut flour? Thanks for your input & thoughts!!!

Great work, keep at it, you’re doing a great job :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2014

I haven’t tried any other flours yet, but I imagine a wide variety would work. I would worry that using all coconut flour would be too drying though (it’s so dense and sucks up a ton of moisture). Maybe a combo of that and something else like rice or almond flour? Let me know what you try out!

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Becky@TheSavedRunner January 8, 2014

These look delicious! I just recently found your blog and I love it! I am trying to have more of a plant based diet.

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Katrina @ WVS January 8, 2014

Homemade granola bars are the best! These sound soooo scrumptious!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks January 8, 2014

I love love love how dense, soft, and extra chewy these look! I love the title you originally came up with :) They look absolutely perfect. Many baked bars get really dry or cakey or crumbly – not these!! pinned

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Laura January 8, 2014

Your creativity never ceases to amaze me! And now I’m hungry…

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Amanda @ Once Upon a Recipe January 8, 2014

Oh yum. These bars look wonderfully dense. I actually kind of started salivating when you used the term “doughy”. Can’t wait to try these!

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Cindy January 8, 2014

Hi Angela,
I subscribed to your newsletter a couple months ago but haven’t rec’d any emails to confirm or anything. I tried entering again to make sure & it said email address already used. So I’m subscribed but haven’t rec’d anything………Please advise – thanks!!
Cindy

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Ashley | Spoonful of Flavor January 8, 2014

A heaping of nut butter spread over the top of these bars sounds perfect! Can’t wait to try them!

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Sarah Kate January 8, 2014

Wow, these look delicious and so healthy. I often resort to an apple and nut butter for every snack so this looks like a tasty idea for some change! Easy to pack to work, as well. Thanks for the recipe, Angela!

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Karen January 8, 2014

These look absolutely fabulous and right up my alley for an energy/protein bar, Angela! I am sure I am in the minority here, but I’ve been disappointed that your latest round of giveaways is only open to social media subscribers. How about an option for those very few of us who don’t belong to facebook, etc.? An email option would be much appreciated — I’d appreciate the opportunity to participate as well (though I am a subscriber to your cookbook related newsletter, but haven’t received any communications from you at any time.)

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dishing up the dirt January 8, 2014

These are my kind of granola bar. Thanks for sharing!

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Vegan Grammie Annie January 8, 2014

Hey Angela,

A very healthy and tasty looking recipe. I agree, dates are a great whole food sweetener. This morning I made a brown rice breakfast pudding that was sweetened with dates and raisins. It was quite delicious.

May all beings be happy and free
Anne (vegangrammieannie.blogspot.ca)

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Tami@nutmegnotebook January 8, 2014

These looks amazing! I love home made treats that are healthy.

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Jenny B January 8, 2014

Thanks for sharing these granola bars! I’m always looking for a delicious substitute for the over processed grocery store version. I’ve made some before but never with dates – can’t wait to try your recipe!

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The Wooden Spoon January 9, 2014

Ah! I love the other title! I’m the same way with words. This looks great for a hike (as soon as it warms up, that is…) Thanks!

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Chris January 9, 2014

These look great. Is there an alternative to the date paste? Maybe pumpkin. I cannot have the high agar in the dates. Thanks!

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SharonT January 9, 2014

Thank you sooooo much Angela! Finding a healthy museli bar I can bake has been a top priority for me this week. I’ve recently changed my family over to gluten – free eating. Here in Australia the school year is about to start so I have been determined to find a museli bar recipe for my hungry 3 boys that’s healthy and nut-free as our schools here have banned nuts (most of the schools anyway). I’m very interested to see how it works out cost wise too. Thank you so much for making this busy mum’s life easier! Not just this week either). I discovered I was gluten intolerant back in August/September. Your blog brought me out of my time of grief and despair over never being able to eat “yummy” food again. How wrong I was! Thank you for inspiration and for showing us how exciting “real” and healthy food can actually be.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2014

Thanks for your kind words Sharon! I appreciate it. Let me know how it goes!

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Sophie January 9, 2014

These look great, have saved the recipe :)

Sophie
what-sophie-said.blogspot.co.uk/
xxx

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Sarah January 9, 2014

I eat homemade granola bars almost everyday, seriously. I am always switching them up with the help of your recipes and others. Thank you for another version! :)

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Julia January 9, 2014

Yum and thanks! We have been going sugar free with the exception of whole foods like fruit, so dates have been our go-to. Such a great loophole!! I agree with the one craisin/cranberry comment-they are loaded with sugar, so I’m going to try them with raisins instead. Looking forward to it!

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Gina Bessa January 9, 2014

Hi there!! LOVE your recipes!! I might have missed it, but what’s the breakdown of calories, protein, fiber etc..??

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Angela (Oh She Glows) January 9, 2014

as a rough estimate the bars are around 3 g protein, 3.5 g fibre, and 115 calories if making 12 bars. Hope this helps!

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