Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on May 20, 2014


I’m already starting to think about how I will fuel myself (quickly) after the little bambino arrives this fall. I’m not one who functions well with long periods between meals, so planning in advance is going to be my best ally. The healthier and more balanced, the better I‘m sure I’ll feel. Bring on the healthy, hippie foods, I say! In addition to freezer friendly meals – like veggie burgers and balls, chili, soup, falafel, enchiladas, pasta + pesto sauces, burritos, etc. – I hope to prepare snacks in advance that I can individually wrap and store in the freezer. Things that I can toss into my purse or quickly unwrap when I need a boost will be so handy. Amidst uncertainty, it always feels good to have a back up plan (even if my reality will be take out food more than not).

These lightly-sweet granola bars are a great option because they are only sweetened with bananas and sweetened dried fruit. No sugar crashes here! You could even remove the dried fruit if you really wanted to, but I love how the dried cherries provide a pop of sweetness throughout. But it’s not what the bars don’t have – it’s what they do have. How about hemp seeds, sunflower seeds, walnuts, rolled oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, banana, and more. These wholesome bars are crunchy, hearty, and chewy in the best way possible. And super filling thanks to the balance of protein, fibre, carbs, and healthy fats. One bar clocks in at 6.6 grams of protein and almost 5 grams of fibre (you can see the complete nutritional info in the recipe below). If you wanted to boost the protein even more, you can increase the hemp seeds (and maybe reduce the sunflower seeds a bit).

For even more staying power, try spreading on some nut or seed butter (with chia seed jam to make it a party!) or even a bit of coconut oil. That’s never a bad idea. Is it snack time yet?


4.9 from 58 reviews

Feel Good Hearty Granola Bars

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


Hearty, soft-baked, and chewy, these no-sugar-added granola bars will fill up the tank and keep your energy stable. Feel free to play around with the mix-ins, as the recipe is quite adaptable. Also, if you’re feeding a nut-free crowd, you can easily swap out the walnuts and almonds for more seeds (or chocolate chips, if you’re feeling wild!). This recipe is adapted from Anjali's Oat Snack Bars recipe, which was originally adapted from Faith's 4-Ingredient Banana Oat Bars.

14-16 large bars
Prep time
Cook time


  • 1 1/2 cups (360 g) mashed ripe banana (about 3 large)
  • 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (200 g) gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2–3/4 cup (60–90 g) dried cherries, cranberries, or blueberries, to taste*
  • 1/2 cup (50 g) walnuts, chopped
  • 1/2 cup (75 g) sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup (80 g) pepita seeds
  • 1/2 cup (60 g) sliced almonds
  • 1/4 cup (35 g) hemp hearts
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a large rectangular baking dish (approximately 9" x 13") and line with a piece of parchment paper (with overhang) so the bars are easier to remove.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the banana until smooth. Make sure you have 1 1/2 cups (if you have extra mashed banana, you can freeze it for a smoothie).
  3. Stir in the vanilla.
  4. Place the oats into a food processor (or blender set on the lowest speed) and pulse until the oats are coarsely chopped (but still have lots of texture). Stir the chopped oats into the banana mixture until fully incorporated.
  5. Stir the dried fruit, walnuts, sunflower and pepita seeds, almonds, hemp hearts, cinnamon, and salt into the banana-oat mixture until thoroughly combined. The dough will be very heavy and a bit wet.
  6. Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish. With lightly wet hands, smooth out until even and uniform. Press down on the dough until compacted.
  7. Bake for 22 to 26 minutes, until firm and lightly golden along the edges.
  8. Place the dish on a cooling rack for 10 minutes, then carefully slide a knife to loosen the ends and gently lift out. Place the slab on a cooling rack until completely cool.
  9. Once cool, slice into bars. I like to use a pizza slicer as it easily cuts through the dried fruit and nuts. Leftovers can be wrapped up and stored in the fridge for a week, or stored in the freezer for 4 to 6 weeks.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size 1 of 16 bars | Calories 200 calories | Total Fat 11 grams
Saturated Fat 1.5 grams | Sodium 35 milligrams | Total Carbohydrates 20 grams
Fiber 4 grams | Sugar 6 grams | Protein 6 grams

Nutrition info is based on 16 bars.
* Nutrition data is approximate and is for informational purposes only.


* You can omit the dried fruit and sub in chocolate chips (or add a mix of both).

These bars aren't super sweet, so if you prefer something sweeter you may want to add a touch of sweetener.

To store these in the freezer, wrap the bars individually in parchment paper using 6-inch by 12-inch pieces of parchment, then tie with string or tape to secure. Finally, place all of the bars into a freezer-safe zip bag, press out all the air, and seal it shut. Or, you can simply wrap each bar with plastic wrap or tinfoil.


Approximate nutritional info: (per bar, based on 14 large bars using 1/2 cup dried sweetened cherries): 186 calories, 8.7 grams fat, 22 grams carbs, 4.7 grams fibre, 6 grams sugar, 6.6 grams protein. Without dried cherries, bars have approx. 3.6 grams of sugar and 166 calories.


PS- The winner of the Vitamix contest has been announced at the bottom of this post! A big thank you to everyone who took part in the #osgcookbook Vitamix giveaway and to Vitamix for donating the machine. I had a blast seeing all your pictures come in over the past 2 weeks. 

Let's get social! Follow Angela on Instagram @ohsheglows, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Google+

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{ 42 comments… read them below or add one }

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Tina December 3, 2016 at 2:09 pm
Recipe Rating:

These are fantastic. They are excellent, quick and nutritious breakfast, and such a fun recipe to make with the kids. One of our favorites! Thanks for posting, we really love them.


Angela Liddon December 5, 2016 at 3:50 pm

Thank YOU for the sweet comment, Tina! I’m so happy they’re a hit with the fam, and that you’re all having fun making them together. :)


Brigitte December 5, 2016 at 8:31 pm

These are delicious…I love that there is no sweetener added, the bananas are sweet enough and they’re just perfect. I used dried cranberries because I didn’t have cherries and mmmm…! Quick question, how long do these last on the counter? can I just put them in a cookie jar, or how would you suggest I store them? Fridge? Thanks!


Angela Liddon December 16, 2016 at 2:42 pm

Hi Brigitte, I typically store them in the fridge or freezer, but they stay fine at room temp for at least a few days. They hold together surprisingly well; some bits might fall off but they don’t “crumble” like some do.


Taste Freak December 13, 2016 at 5:07 pm
Recipe Rating:

Great they look delicious, would love to add some cacao powder in it for better


Naomi Bitton January 9, 2017 at 12:12 pm

OOO I hate super sweet bars, so I’ll definitely be giving these a try! Can’t wait to make these tonight!!


Angela Liddon January 9, 2017 at 1:19 pm

I hope you enjoy them, Naomi!


Laura Conant January 28, 2017 at 7:57 pm

I’ve made these twice now and my family loves them. I needed 4 bananas both times, used all seeds (the second time included flax) because of nut allergies, and used raisins because I had them on hand. Looking forward to trying them with cherries. Oh, and I did put a small amount of chocolate chips (vegan) in, as well. Really good. My son wants these now instead of store bought. Thank you!!!


Angela Liddon January 30, 2017 at 11:50 am

Thanks for sharing, Laura! It sounds like these are really a winner!!


Iona February 27, 2017 at 11:45 pm
Recipe Rating:

I’m a bar-happy gal, so I’ve tried making a ton of different bars. This recipe has become my go-to. I have made these at least 6 times, probably more. I really appreciate that there is no sugar added to these (although I do add chocolate chips), which is why it has persisted as my staple. I am imprecise about the exact amount of each ingredient that I add, but I make sure that my total number of cups of nuts/seeds/fruits stays the same as called for in the recipe. I also use half oat flour/half rolled oats instead of blending my oats, because I am lazy. And I use pumpkin pie spice instead of cinnamon. I make a double batch at one time, because I am all about power cooking and freezing, so it takes me a whole bunch of bananas (about 8). I like to use a blend of chia seeds, sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, coconut shreds, raisins, cranberries, walnuts, almonds and chocolate chips to make a bar that packs a huge power punch! I freeze my bars individually in ziploc bags and take one out every day for my lunch. They freeze great, and are defrosted by the time it’s time to eat. The one thing I have noticed is that the bars tend to turn out a bit dry. I may experiment with adding some coconut oil to my next batch!

Thanks so much for this great recipe! I never write comments, but I just love this one so much. =)


Angela Liddon March 3, 2017 at 12:46 pm

Hey Iona, Thank you so much for taking the time to leave such a helpful comment! I love your ideas. I had forgotten about this recipe, but I think I’m going to have to make a batch this weekend (or even today!). Enjoy


Tammy Gough March 12, 2017 at 4:48 pm
Recipe Rating:

I used chia seeds and flax seeds to increase the binding of this granola bar. Excellent flavour, sweetness and crunch factor. Thank you! My new favourite granola bar recipe!


Angela Liddon March 13, 2017 at 8:39 am

Thanks for sharing that idea, Tammy! So happy to hear you loved the recipe.


Alona March 18, 2017 at 11:14 pm
Recipe Rating:

I really love granola bar. And it really looks so amazing and delicious. I cannot wait to try this one at home. Great Job.


Sherylee March 25, 2017 at 4:10 am
Recipe Rating:

They came out gorgeous, thank you so much for sharing the recipe. I was looking all over stores/websites for the perfect snack to bring along on hikes and this is it for me. Was skeptical at first with using just banana as a binder. But these bars hold up very well, cuts easily, and is very substantial and tasty!


Rebecca Brideau-Mullett April 9, 2017 at 2:02 pm

hi Angela,

I was wondering if You have nutritional information for these granola bars? I am trying to find a home made granola bar my mom( who is diabetic) could mak together. 5 g of sugar or less per bar would be ideal😊


Angela Liddon April 10, 2017 at 10:32 am

Hi Rebecca, You can find the approximate nutritional info just below the recipe directions. :) Hope that helps!


Rebecca Kasper May 9, 2017 at 10:32 am

Hi! i am not a fan of bananas at all, do you think a nut butter would be a good sub? thanks!!


Angela Liddon May 16, 2017 at 8:45 am

Hey Rebecca, This is a tricky sub for sure as the bananas lend sweetness and also binding properties. My guess is you’d have to experiment with a combo of nut butter and a sweetener (maybe maple syrup or brown rice syrup) until you found something that worked. Happy baking!


Aly May 31, 2017 at 5:56 pm
Recipe Rating:

Thank you for the recipe. I made this for my boyfriend since he tends to skip breakfast and I wanted to make him something that’s on the go. This is perfect in all ways–ease to make, nutrition, and package! I added about 2 tablespoons of honey to add a little sweetness and I’m not a fan of hemp seeds to I substituted the 1/4 cup with 1/8 flax seeds and 1/8 uncooked quinoa. Certainly delicious and I will make this in the future.


Angela Liddon June 1, 2017 at 8:10 am

Hey Aly, I’m so happy to hear the recipe was a hit! And thanks for sharing those swaps with us :)


Anne June 15, 2017 at 7:01 pm
Recipe Rating:

I love these and have made them many times! I make a seed only version so that I can send them with my son to school. I use whatever I have around (pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, coconut flakes or shreds, sesame seeds, chia seeds) in varying quantities as long as they add up to 2 cups. I also use a combination of dates or raisins and chocolate chips. My husband takes a big bag to work and leaves them in the freezer for snacks. So easy and delicious and these have completely replaced store-bought bars for us. Thanks for the recipe!


Karla July 2, 2017 at 4:08 pm

What could i sub for sunflower seeds


Angela Liddon July 17, 2017 at 11:41 am

Hi Karla, I think the easiest option would be to simply sub in more chopped walnuts, pepita seeds, or sliced almonds for the sunflower seeds (or a combination!). I hope that helps; If you try anything, please let us know how it goes!


Jade August 5, 2017 at 10:28 pm
Recipe Rating:

I love these granola bars! They are just what I needed: tasty, substantial, and not too sweet. I will be making these again :)


Angela Liddon August 8, 2017 at 10:00 am

Happy to hear they hit the spot :)


JK September 16, 2017 at 4:28 pm

Wow. All the comments are people saying these look good. Any useful commentary on what they taste like???


Alicia November 9, 2017 at 11:43 am

Hello Angela!

Do you have any substitute for bananas?



Angela (Oh She Glows) November 10, 2017 at 7:08 am

Hey Alicia, I haven’t tried this yet, but you may be able to try a combo of applesauce and almond butter instead of the banana. I suggest the almond butter for a bit of binding. I would maybe try something like 1 1/4 cups applesauce and 1/4 cup almond butter. It won’t be as sweet as the banana version so you may want to add a bit of coconut sugar or something to taste. Hope this helps and please let me know if you try anything out!


Glory January 13, 2018 at 11:36 pm
Recipe Rating:

Just made these tonight. Oh my holy heck! Love them. Thank you so much.


Angela (Oh She Glows) January 15, 2018 at 10:16 am

Hey Glory, Thanks for trying out the bars! Glad they were a hit :)


John February 14, 2018 at 12:59 pm

Last to the party here!

How long do you think a batch would stay good for if stored at room temp? Do you think it would be better to stored in the fridge?

Thanks! I look forward to giving them a trying and checking out your other recipes:/


Angela (Oh She Glows) February 14, 2018 at 1:33 pm

Hey John, I think storing them in the fridge is always a good bet. They should last in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 5 days, or you can try freezing them too.


John February 14, 2018 at 1:47 pm


Thanks for the reply:/


Dorothy March 5, 2018 at 3:56 pm

could I dehydrate this recipe?


Angela (Oh She Glows) March 6, 2018 at 9:10 am

Hey Dorothy, I haven’t tried it myself, but I can’t see why it wouldn’t work. If you try anything I’d love to hear how it goes. :)


Laurie May 3, 2018 at 10:26 pm
Recipe Rating:

made these bars this week, and I have to say, they’re pretty satisfying. I made mine with dried golden berries instead of dried cranberries, and the flavor was perfect. Really needs the dried fruit for flavor. I also tried to make chocolate ones, using cacao nibs and some unsweetened cocoa powder (and no fruit). The results were not nearly as tasty. Any thoughts on how to make these with a chocolate flavor without adding sugar?
Also, I couldn’t get tape to stick on parchment paper. Ended up using plastic wrap.
How long do you think the bars will stay good once you take it out of the freezer? I’d like to take these on work trips so that I don’t buy sugary power bars in the airport.


Angela (Oh She Glows) May 4, 2018 at 6:40 am

Hey Laurie, Thanks so much for sharing your trials. :) They should keep in the fridge for several days after removing from the freezer. Thanks for your feedback :)


Heather Macpherson September 7, 2018 at 7:11 pm

I made these yesterday. I subbed extra hemp and sliced almonds for pepitas, which I dislike, I used dried cherries and threw in about 1/8 cup dark chocolate chips.
From a person who doesn’t really enjoy granola and who is terrible at eating breakfast… I LOVE THIS RECIPE. Not only are the bars delicious, but a 1/16 bar is a good size, is delightful with coffee, and really does fill you up for a couple hours. My new go-to for sure, and one I can feel good about. Thank you!


Angela (Oh She Glows) September 8, 2018 at 6:06 am

Hi Heather, I’m so glad they were a hit! Thanks for sharing your recipe tweaks.


Arien November 17, 2018 at 10:52 pm

Hi there I was just wondering how long these would last outside of the fridge/freezer? My brother and I are going on a 4 day tramp and want to make our own bars rather than buy them and these sound delicious! If we kept them in an airtight container for the 4 days would they be okay?

thank you (ps I may have posted the same comment twice by mistake I just wasn’t sure if the first one actually submitted)


Angela (Oh She Glows) November 18, 2018 at 10:09 am

Hey Arien, Yes they should be okay for 4 days, as long as they aren’t in heat. Have a great trip!


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