There are fancy squares and then there are not-so-fancy squares.
These are the not-so-fancy squares. In fact, they are downright boring, but the beauty is you can dress them up anyway you like. Just like a basic bowl of oatmeal, these squares can be changed up on a whim.
My goal was to make a basic everyday oatmeal square for on-the-go breakfasts or snack attacks. They aren’t super sweet or bursting with chocolate and fancy mix-ins, although, you could make them that way if you wanted too! Filled with flax, chia, and whole grains, it’s functional food at its finest. The nutritional stats are also impressive packing in 7 grams of fibre and 6 grams of protein per large square.
Despite eating half the batch, I actually made these for Eric (remember that guy who loathes oatmeal?). He’s been insanely busy with his new role at work and now spends the better part of his days trapped in meetings without any healthy food on hand.
His options in meetings are usually the following: 1) cookies the size of his face, 2) pizza, or 3) a muffin the size of his butt (which is cute and perfectly rounded).
While it’s true that he loathes traditional oatmeal, if I bake it up in a square he’s all over it. And by all over it, I mean he needed to slather Earth Balance all over the square before deeming it perfect. Like I said, these can be dressed up any way you want…
On The Glow Basic Oatmeal Squares
9 large squares
Think of this oatmeal square as basic baked oatmeal that can be dressed up any way you like. Each large square contains a tablespoon of flax and a teaspoon of chia seeds as well as 7 grams of fibre and 6 grams of protein. Feel free to add in nuts, dried fruit, chocolate, and other mix-ins as you desire. Just be careful about frozen fruit. When I made a trial with frozen blueberries they became quite soggy. Use fresh blueberries and you should be fine.
- 2.5 cups regular rolled oats (not instant oats), divided
- 3 tbsp chia seed
- 1/2 cup + 1 tbsp ground flax
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 1.5 cups almond milk (or other milk)
- 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (or other liquid sweetener)
- 2 tbsp nut or seed butter
- 1 banana, chopped small
- 1 tbsp pure vanilla extract
- Dry sweetener, to taste if you want them a bit sweeter
- Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8 inch square pan with two pieces of parchment paper.
- In a blender or food processor, blend/process 1 cup of the oats until a flour forms. Or you can just use 1 cup of oat flour.
- In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients: oat flour, 1.5 cups rolled oats, chia, flax, baking powder, salt, cinnamon. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients: milk, syrup, nut/seed butter, banana, vanilla until no clumps remain. Add wet to dry and stir until combined. Add dry sweetener to taste if desired. Fold in any nuts or dried fruit that you desire.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan and smooth out. Bake for 35-40 minutes until lightly golden along edge and it springs back slowly when touched. I baked them for 40 minutes, but baking time may vary. Place pan on cooling rack for 10 minutes, carefully remove, and cool on rack before slicing.
Nutrition Information(click to expand)
The first trial I made was with frozen blueberries (above). Unfortunately they made the bars quite soggy (although tasty). Fresh blueberries would probably be a better option, so I will try that in the summer when they are in season. Sadly, that is a long time away…as I sit here watching a snow storm outside my window!
For the second batch, I left out the blueberries to see if I could get the consistency a bit better.
[Notice my hand writing is getting a bit neater? Ok not really, but I’m happy to say I now keep all my recipe trials in one notebook. No more scattered pages all over the house!]
Anywho, mix the dry ingredients together: ground flax, cinnamon, oats + oat flour (I ground up 1 cup of oats), chia seed, baking powder, and a touch of salt.
Then the wet ingredients: pure maple syrup, almond milk, vanilla, nut/seed butter, and a chopped banana. Feel free to use another milk, nut/seed butter, and liquid sweetener if desired.
Whisk together in another bowl, making sure to break up the nut/seed butter.
Add the wet to dry and mix well.
I planned on adding chocolate, but discovered that I was all out. How does that even happen?
Pour into an 8 inch square pan lined with two pieces of parchment paper.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, cool, and enjoy! I baked them for 40, but I have a feeling that baking time will vary depending on the brand of oats used. I’ve found that some rolled oats absorb more liquid than others. Just watch it closely after 35 minutes. When it slowly springs back up when you press it, it should be good to go.
These are very soft and fluffy with tiny bites of banana throughout. We found that they are a bit plain on their own, but I still managed to eat 3 in a row just to be sure. I like to slice the square in half and make a jam & sunflower seed butter sandwich.
Note to self: restock chocolate chip supply stat.
Have a wonderful Friday!
Just wondering about these yummy looking snacks. Can you make a substitution for Banana? Say like flax meal and water or apple sauce? My daughter is not so sold on bananas.
That nut butter and jam sandwich looks so yummy! Would these squares freeze well?
I love these. After my first batch I double the recipe, cut them in squares and freeze half.
I just made these. I shaved a little off one edge and it was wonderful!!! I added a little lemon zest and unsweetened coconut flakes. I also went light on the maple and heavy on the banana for a little less added sugar. I am really looking forward to having one of these for breakfast tomorrow. If its as fabulous in its entirety as that little nibble was I imagine I’ll be making a double batch shortly.
What can I use instead of parchment paper? Would tin foil work okay? What if I don’t use anything, are they super sticky on the pan? I have glass baking dishes. These look delish by the way!
These were terrible, I would never make them again!
Angela, I have been binge-cooking from your web site the last three days, and oh my goddess, you are awesome!!! I’ve had a total revelation about chia – never thought I’d have any use for it (and that says a lot for a very healthy-eater such as myself…)
I made these oatmeal squares today and made a few substitutions – I try to avoid all (or most) sweeteners, as I have been off all types of sugar for 7 years and my palate has really changed. I do use dates and date syrup. So for this recipe I used 1/2c homemade applesauce (for sweetness and liquid) in place of the 1/2c maple syrup, and added about 1 Tb date syrup. I added 1/2 finely chopped prunes and a small handful dried cherries. The baking directions were perfect. These squares are moist, deliciously chewy – just what I have been searching the web for since I went gluten-, dairy-, and egg-free. I’ve been hankering for a good muffin-like breakfast/snack/treat and coming up short. Thanks so much!
These look great and mouthwatering! what dried fruit or type or nut would you suggest to put in these?
OMGosh – YUM!! I had to improvise based on what I had (added unsweetened coconut and omitted the flax and upped the chia) – WOW. I couldn’t wait and cut into them still a touch warm and ohmydelicious! Thank you!
Anyway to use steel cut oats? Like if I cooked or soaked them first?
Hello! I’m nut-free. Is there any substitute for the nut butter or can I just omit it?? Thanks!
This is so good, I tried the chocolate chips in it and I loved it! Thanks
Yes! This is exactly what I was looking for! I’m going on a trip and wanted to pack some high-fibre oatmeal to stay regular ;) Love all your recipes!
I baked these today but they didn’t work out very well. They were very heavy and really wet and gummy in the middle. I cooked them for 50 minutes and still taste raw. Help!
I’m not the author and this is months later, but it sounds like your oats were too heavy and didn’t cook. Did you use oat flour? I used to also get gummy oats when cooking oatmeal too quickly w/almond milk.
We found that they are a bit plain on their own, but I still managed to eat 3 in a row just to be sure.
See that’s why I love this site! Girl after my own heart. :)
Going to make some of these and the pumpkin oatmeal ones for breakfasts on the train.
Great recipe! Thank you! I am always in the go with school and work and never have time for breakfast this is perfect! I was wondering should I refrigerate them to keep them fresher longer, or should I just leave them in an air tight container on the counter. Don’t want them to become hard or go bad. Help! Thanks again for sharing:)
I am an idiot and purred the liquid ingredients. I was also low on baking powder but also only had filmjolk to use as liquid. I let my “batter” sit, and we shall see how it results.
Thank you so much for this recipe! I love the combo of ingredients! I try to follow a low-fodmap / IBS friendly diet and your recipes are sometimes just the trick, especially for my sweet tooth!
Questions: Can these be frozen once cooked and reheated? How long do they keep? Should they be refrigerated after prepared?
I made these with 1 small pkg fresh blueberries and they are delish! I think the blueberries add a lot of flavour and some extra sweetness (and fibre too!) Good for on the go!
Love this recipe, especially as an easy breakfast/snack for my toddler. I’ve made these twice now and noticed that they get kind of gummy/sticky after a few days in a tupperware. How do you recommend storing them? I’ll probably try to freeze them too.
I loved this recipe, used different nut butters and dried fruits, DELICIOUS. My question is can I freeze them?
I couldn’t wait for these to cool before trying them. I slathered mine in peanut butter. Reminded me of a whole wheat English muffin with a hint of banana, only way healthier. These will be a go to breakfast for me.
You will find healthy odds that your fat might raise if you retain consuming crap and processed food items.
Hi! I just made these. Wondering if I should keep them in the fridge or on the counter. Do I wrap them?? Please help. They’re really good but I don’t want them to dry out or go bad
If I baked in muffin tins, how would it affect the cook time?
Love these! I halved the amount of maple syrup, and added 1/4 cup of apple sauce and they turned out perfect. Ate one warm out of the oven with some PB2 – it was perfection.
Can I substitute banana for pumpkin purée
I’m not sure! I think it would take some testing. If you experiment, please let us know how it goes!
These are a weekly staple in my house. I add extra cinnamon and nut butter. I make them as bars and muffins and I never get sick of them. Thank you for this amazing recipe!
Oh, I’m so happy to hear this recipe has become a fave, Elizabeth! :)
These are great. The batter tasted sweet so I thought they would be a lot sweeter than they are but dressed up with jam they are awesome. What is the best way to store these? Fridge?Would it be weird to freeze them?
Hi Giselle, I’m glad to hear you like the squares! To store, you can keep them in either the fridge or freezer; it’s not weird to freeze them at all :)
I just made these. I made one tray just as the recipe suggests and to the other I added chopped dates, pumpkin seeds and chopped cashews. It is going fast!
Hey Debbie, I’m so glad it’s a hit! I love the mix-ins you used. I haven’t made these squares in a while, but I think I’ll have to this week now! I think my kids will love them.
These have become a staple in my house! Love them!
I’m so happy to hear that Kim! Thank you :)
Angela, I’m not even vegan and I use your recipes all of the time. These oatmeal bars have quickly become a favorite for my 3yo and I. I add some chocolate chips and shredded coconut (I also add raisins to hers) and we go to town. I’ve even started making them in double batches. I stick most of them in the freezer and on the mornings that we want them (which lately has been almost every day) I stick them in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. By the time the oven preheats they are perfectly warm and delicious. Thank you so much for sharing with us!
Hey Kayla, Aww thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so glad that you enjoy these squares so much. I had actually forgotten about them (gasp!! lol), but I’m putting them on my must-make list for this week. :) It’s been too long! Thanks for sharing how you make them.
I just made a batch of these bars and had forgotten how wonderful they are. I used to make them all the time and would always have a stash in the freezer. Somehow, they fell out of my rotation.
The recipe is very forgiving, I’ve tried oodles of different add-ins but always skip the banana. They turn out just fine without it. I realized I was out of flax seed mid-recipe, so I just did about 1/3 cup of chia seeds and let the batter sit for a bit before baking. Turned out perfectly. My favorite way to eat these is toasted with sunflower seed butter and strawberry-chia jam. So good. Thank you for this healthy, versatile recipe!
I found this recipe several years ago and literally make these weekly. My family and I love these so much and share the recipe often. Long overdue comment but thank you so much for this recipe as it is our go-to breakfast!
Hi, I only have quick oats. Would those not work? I have spelt and almond flour and regular all-purpose – do you think some kind of combo with quick oats might turn out ok? I really want to make these; they look amazing! Thank you!
I’ve been making these for about 2 years. Can’t remember how I found the recipe. I love these and they are so healthy. I add diced California apricots, dried blueberries, dried tart cherries and chopped pecans. Because I am not vegan, i use regular milk sometimes which ups the protein. Or I use oak milk. The first time I made them, they seemed a little gooey, so I added more oak flour and upped the baking time to 55 minutes. I cut them in half like i’m making a sandwich and take one half and toast it in the toaster oven. I then spread some almond butter on it and add slices of banana. It’s so good that I look forward to it every morning.