A blog reader recently emailed me hoping to see a gluten-free version of an oldie but goodie blog recipe – the popular Healthy Strawberry Oat Bars from way back in 2010. There’s something about this time of the year that makes me crave jam-filled oat crumble squares (or really, any kind of baked good, who am I fooling!), so she didn’t need to twist my arm. Not only is this version gluten-free, but it uses coconut oil instead of vegan butter (reduced by about half!), and showcases a new and improved crispy topping. The topping gets crunchy and golden, almost like a granola. Wowzers. My Raspberry Chia Seed Jam recipe was used for a reduced sugar option, but you can use any store-bought or homemade jam you see fit. The beauty of the oat square is that you can change up the flavour significantly just by swapping out different flavours of jam. I think a peach version would be nice too. I made a cinnamon peach chia seed jam a few weeks ago and it was delicious!
Joanna, this one is for you, and anyone who appreciates a classic jam + oat combo! These are healthy enough to start your day with, and delicious enough for an end of the night treat.
Raspberry Oat Crumble Squares
Reminiscent of a Nutri-Grain bar, these squares are vegan, gluten-free, and filled with a delectable raspberry chia seed jam. They require a good period of cooling before they are ready to be sliced—otherwise they may crumble a bit, as they’re very delicate while warm. Feel free to use 1 cup of your favourite store-bought jam in place of the chia seed jam if you are tight on time; this recipe comes together so fast if using store-bought jam (or previously made and cooled chia seed jam)! Oat squares adapted from my Healthy Strawberry Oat Bars.
Raspberry Chia Seed Jam (or 1 cup store-bought jam):
- 3 cups (350 g) frozen or fresh raspberries
- 3 tablespoons (45 mL) pure maple syrup, or to taste
- 2 tablespoons (20 g) chia seeds
- 1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) pure vanilla extract
For the squares:
- 1 tablespoon (10 g) chia seeds
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) water
- 1/3 cup (80 mL) coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup (60 mL) pure maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) brown rice syrup
- 1 teaspoon (5 mL) pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 cups (250 g) gluten-free rolled oats
- 1/2 cup (68 g) gluten-free oat flour
- 1 cup (100 g) almond flour (not almond meal)
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
- Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C) and line an 8-inch square pan with parchment paper (with overhang so it’s easy to lift the slab out later).
- For the jam: In a medium pot, stir together the raspberries, maple syrup, and chia seeds until combined. Bring to a low boil and reduce heat to medium-low. Simmer, uncovered, for about 10 to 15 minutes, stirring frequently, until the raspberries break down and the mixture thickens slightly. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and into the freezer for about 20 to 30 minutes, to hasten the cooling process.
- For the oat squares: In a small mug, mix together the chia seeds and water to make a chia egg. Set aside for a few minutes until thickened.
- In a large bowl, stir together the melted oil, maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and vanilla. When the chia egg has thickened, stir that in, too.
- One by one, stir in the rolled oats, oat flour, almond flour, baking soda, and salt until the there are no dry patches left. The dough will seem too dry at first, but if you keep mixing, it’ll eventually come together!
- Set aside 1 packed cup of dough for the crumble topping.
- Spoon the remaining dough into the prepared pan. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the dough and press down to spread the dough out evenly, until it covers the entire base. Or, in lieu of parchment paper, simply use lightly wet hands to press the dough down.
- When the chia jam has thickened and cooled, pour all of it (about 1 cup) on top of the oat mixture and spread it out evenly. If using store-bought jam instead, spread on 1 cup.
- Crumble the remaining cup of dough over the jam layer.
- Bake uncovered for 25 to 30 minutes, until the topping is semi-firm to the touch.
- Place the pan directly on a cooling rack for 20 to 30 minutes, and then place it in the fridge until completely cool (about 30 more minutes). Slide a knife around the edges. Carefully lift out the slab and slice into squares.
- Store any leftover squares in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 1 week, or in the freezer for up to 6 weeks.
These bars look so, so good! I love raspberries and am always looking for a way to eat more chia seeds. As soon as berries are in season where I live I will try this recipe! I’m looking forward to it.
Made this recipe last week for a friend’s birthday and wow, these are so unbelievably delicious! Any ideas for keeping the top crunchy after the first day? I stored them in the fridge and they turned soft overnight (although still tasted yummy). I will definitely be making these again.
Just made this tonight! It was DELICIOUS! Perfect amount of sweetness. I am also enjoying your amazing cookbook! Keep up the great work and I look forward to your next book :-)
Angela, in your comments you mentioned cinnamon peach chia seed jam. I have a bunch of fresh peaches from the farm. Could you post that or let me know how to modify the raspberry jam one so I can make it this weekend? Sounds amazing! Thank you!!
These were incredible! Thanks so much for a delicious breakfast treat!
These look fantastic. Was wondering what you would recommend as a replacement for the almond flour. I’m allergic and hoping to find something you think would work best.
I just finished making these. They do not look like your picture. I thought there was way more crumb mixture to go in an 8″square pan but I did it anyway. Also my mixture was not very sticky. I am sure I measured correctly. Taste good but not holding together.
Any reason they can’t be stored at room temperature after they are baked?
Hi Sarah, I recommend storing these squares in the fridge because they tend to get a bit soft and crumbly at room temperature (and they also keep longer in the fridge). But if you’d like to serve them at room temperature, you should absolutely feel free! They might break apart a bit, but will still taste delish. :)
I do almost all of the cooking for my family and love this website for food ideas. These bars are now a household staple for us. I like to add some nut butter to the oats, which makes this even more decadent. Thanks for all of the tips. I like to give your cookbook as a gift to friends who are switching to a healthier diet. Always a hit. Bill
Thanks so much for spreading the love! :) I’m so glad you’ve been enjoying my blog, and that this recipe is a hit! The addition of nut butter sounds like a great twist.
These are super easy to make and so darn yummy!
I’m so glad to hear you like the recipe, Kerri!
Your recipes are really amazing! At your blog, there are recipes for every taste. Your Raspberry Chia Seed Jam Oat Crumble Squares are perfect for Thanksgiving. Thank you for inspiring us.
I want to make some homemade nutrigrain bar/cereal bar style treats for my 1 year old so we have an easy snack or grab n go breakfast. I try to limit his sugar, so do you think if I reduced the sugar a bit and increased the amount of the oat crumble, it may work to create a jam “filled” bar? Thanks!
Can the bars be frozen? Thank you
Hi Stephanie, Yes—leftover bars can be stored in either the freezer or the fridge. :)
I made 4 jars of the jam already and LOVE them! Question, could I can the jam? Do you think it would work out well?
I’ve made these 4 times now and they’re always a smash! Added choc chips this time :D thanks for sharing, peace
What can you use in place of the brown rice syrup? Or can it just be omitted?
Hey Chelsea, the brown rice syrup acts as a binding agent in this recipe, so I wouldn’t recommend swapping it out unless you are okay with some potentially crumbly squares. You could try substituting it with honey, but the bars may be a bit on the crumbly side as honey isn’t quite as sticky as brown rice syrup. If you decide to experiment, please let us know how it goes! :)
I’m just wondering if it’s possible to “can” the raspberry chia seed jam?
Hi Taryn, I haven’t tried canning this myself, so I’m not sure. But, as another option, I do know the chia seed jam will keep in an airtight container in the freezer for 1 to 2 months. Hope that helps a little!
These turned out nicely. My husband likes that they’re not too sweet. Thanks for the recipe!We had a bumper crop of backyard raspberries this year!
I made a peach version of these bars. I substituted the brown rice syrup with molasses and the oil for about a table spoon of mashed banana. I sprinkled monk fruit and cinnamon on top to finish. As others mentioned, these bars were not too sweet and very satisfying.
Thanks for sharing, Nicole! A peach version of these sounds amazing!! :)
I would like to use all purpose flour instead of almond and oat flour and just wanted to know if anyone is familiar with the ratio. Is it simply 1:1?
Hey Andy, I would suggest adding the all-purpose flour a bit at a time to make sure that you don’t add too much and dry out the dough. Since this recipe has almond flour in it it’s a bit harder to tweak since it’s a high fat flour and can behave a bit differently than “normal” flours. Please let me know if you try anything out!
Ok, thanks :)
They look sound amazing. Macros worked out on these??
Hey Kimberly, I’m sorry I don’t have the nutritional info for these. I hope you enjoy them if you try them out!
Hi Angela. I love the cookbook! I think I may have to buy the newer one too. I’d like to try the recipe for Raspberry Oat Crumble Squares but am wondering if there is any substitution for the brown rice syrup. Just looking to cut down on the number of jars of stuff in my very small cupboard!
Hey Maggie, Thank you! :) I haven’t tried these with another sweetener, but I used BRS because it is a great binder. If you swapped it with maple syrup, let’s say, the bars would likely fall apart a lot more (but would still be tasty no doubt!)
This was perfect, thank you for the great recipe. I didn’t want to go shopping, so I substituted the rice syrup with date syrup I had just bought earlier this week. It’s going to a potluck tomorrow.
Looks like this post is a couple of years ago. Well I made these bars last night and man were they AMAZING! I used peach, raspberry and blueberry from the farmers market for the jam. For the bars I substituted 1 cup WW flour and 1/2 c course corn meal (cuz that’s what I had). I also wanted a gingerbread flavor so added spices and substituted molasses for the rice syrup. Yummm!!!
Hey Lisa, oh I LOVE your swaps! Especially the molasses…yum. So glad you enjoyed the squares!
Just when I thought your chia seed jam was amazing by itself, you stepped it up with these! yummm!
Hah this is definitely my fave way to have chia jam!!
These are so good!!! I made them with blueberries instead of raspberries only because it’s what I had in the freezer. It was amazing! Thank you!
Easy to make and very tasty! Thank you so much for the recipe!
I didn’t have Chia seeds so I substituted flax, and I had both raspberries and blueberries so I made my filling from both fruits, some lemon juice and peel and agar agar to soak up the extra liquid. I also wanted less sweet crust so instead of maple syrup I used homemade date paste.
So good and Much healthier than traditional crumble bars! Thanks again!
These are absolutely delicious. The homemade raspberry jam is the best! I definitely recommend just cooking and serving with no fridge time. I made these the first time and put them in the fridge but they lost all their crunchy topping and were mushy and cold so still yummy but…. The second time I baked and served and they were perfect! no falling apart and the topping stayed crunchy and utterly delicious! YUM!!!!
Can I add some protein powder to make these more of a protein bar? Would I need to change anything else to accommodate the added dry ingredient?
On a side note, I’ve made these before and they are absolutely delicious!