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.
Oh. Em. GEE. This looks SO GOOD! Can’t wait to try it. Thank you so much, Angela!
That. jam. SO YUMMY!
Oh my this looks amazing. I would love to put fig jelly in the middle omg yum! This looks like the perfect treat to go with coffee on a Saturday afternoon! Thanks for sharing (recipe saved) ;)
For me, Saturday would work but Sunday……even better. Weekend delights. A jammy, crumbly healthy dessert breakfast in a bar form with a cup of (Decaf!!) coffee or tea. How pleasing is the thought. Comfort food with chia and raspberries. yay! Thanks for sharing.
Should make the hazelnut coffee with this shared a few weeks ago on this site!!!
I have a bunch of jam sitting in my fridge to be used, so this would be perfect!!
So rarely do I make something from a blog the minute that I see it, but this is one of those things! I’m off to pick up some raspberries and this is happening in my kitchen. Thanks for a low-sugar recipe!!
These look delicious! Can you suggest a substitute for the brown rice syrup (or inexpensive source)? It’s cost-prohibitive for me.
If honey is part of your diet, it’s a good substitute because of its similar binding properties. Any thick liquid sweeteners are great, like Molasses.
I used 1 Tablespoon of molasses and they turned out lovely :)
these look absolutely perfect, angela! i cannot wait to make these!
Wow just when I am visiting a friend recovering from a surgery! I don’t have brown rice syrup though, can I use agave nectar instead?
I made a chia raspberry jam some weeks ago and I can imagine how delicious your squares can be! This is really my kind of dessert ^_^
These look great! Thanks for sharing. :)
Yippee! Our Costco sells organic frozen raspberries. Just picked up a bag yesterday. This is definitely on the menu tonight. Thank you for giving us such yummy treats!
I have a jar of wild blueberry chia seed jam in my fridge as we speak. Might just have to try it out in this recipe! Looks great as usual.
Hi Angela! Can you use honey instead of brown rice syrup?
I think honey would be sticky enough, but I haven’t tried it out myself. Let us know if you do!
I was wondering the same! I have some really yummy local honey I’d love to try this with :) Do you think since its more dense and higher sugar content than maple syrup I should scale back the measure and add more other liquid?
I used unpasteurized unfiltered honey which is thicker than the liquid stuff and it was good! I don’t think I’d try it with the liquid honey though, it wouldn’t hold together as well
I made these with honey in place of brown rice syrup this past weekend and they were amazing! Rave reviews from everyone who tried them!
Could I omit the brown rice syrup or use something else? Also, can I use all oat flour and not use any almond flour?
Hi Nora, I’m not sure – I haven’t tested them any other way than as written. Let us know if you do any baking experiments!
Ok, thanks anyway!
I used 1 Tablespoon of molasses instead and they held together well
How could I make this nut free, so my daughter can bring it to school for a snack? It looks amazing, by the way! My husband bought me your cookbook as an anniversary present, and I use it almost everyday!!!
I would suggest checking out the original recipe – http://ohsheglows.com/2010/10/18/healthy-strawberry-oat-squares-with-homemade-jam/ it’s nut-free if you swap the 2T of almond milk for nut-free milk. However, if you need them gluten-free as well, it might be best to play with this recipe. I think you could probably swap the almond flour for additional oat flour, although I might not use a full cup – maybe start with a half cup and go from there. Let us know if you try anything out!
By the way, I meant to say thanks for the kind words about my cookbook! I’m so happy you are getting so much use out of it :)
Thanks for the link to the original recipe, because just as my raspberry chia jam (it smells delicious!) is cooling off, I realize that I don’t have any almond flour on hand, nor even any almonds to whizz in my Vitamix and make fresh almond flour. I’m going to make the oat base with freshly ground flax instead of chia to mix things up a bit, and add an extra flax ‘egg’ to the recipe since this version will be with Sucanat and not a sweet syrup. This is supposed to be for the whole family’s lunches next week but Angela I’m also having that sneaky pregnancy hunger, we will see! BTW I agree that your cookbook is great, I love it.
Oh yeah. Definitely making these. I’ve been meaning to make your raspberry chia jam anyway so this is just added incentive. ;-)
Yum, i will try it with peaches i think, what can i use instead of the brown rice syrup? Great for a kids snack after school.
I’m sure you can use honey or agave. Maple syrup might work, but I don’t think it’s quite as sticky so it won’t hold together as well
I used the brown rice syrup because it’s a great binder – they were already a bit delicate even made with the BRS so just be warned if you swap it out they might fall apart a bit. Either way, still delicious!
Yummy! I bet this would be great with almond extract (in the jam). It would be fun to make an apple or pear version for seasonal flair!
this sounds perfect with my coffeeee..and i have never tried making chia seed jam so its happening.
Wow! These look AMAZING! As soon as I saw the picture, I could almost smell this wonderful delight baking in my oven! This is going on my “ohsheglows must make before the year is over list”. As always you’re photography and food styling are flawless. I’m a huge fan of your blog and cookbook. You’re recipes have never let me down!
Thank you Rachel :) I’ve been in such a photography rut since the kitchen reno (everything is packed up in boxes), so hearing your words of encouragement is greatly appreciated!
ps- Love your “must make” list – haha.
how much chia do you think i should use in your delicous looking recipe
how much chia do you think i should use in your delicous looking recipe because it looks very yummy to try i’ve written down the ingredients and i’m waiting to try it out so i’ll get back to you with the results
i would like to know how much chia i should use the recipe because it looks very yummy to try i’ve written down the ingredients and i’m waiting to try it out so i’ll get back to you with the results
Any way of making these with out the added oil?
Ive used applesauce in place of oil before but I don’t know if it would work for this recipe since the coconut oil helps hold it together when it cools. Its a 1:1 substitution though if you try it.
Wowzas is right! I actually just posted a similar recipe (but with a fig filling) that uses just oat flour. I had to use a little more coconut oil and applesauce to keep them from drying out so I bet using almond flour works wonders. I’ll have to give that a try next time!
you can’t go wrong with fig bars! I’ll have to check out your recipe. :)
We are drowning in our own homegrown raspberries right now, and I wanted to try your chia jam recipe with them and make g-f bars for a party. I couldn’t really find any recipes online that sounded very good. Then you read my mind!! Thank you. I can’t wait to make them this week.
Great minds think alike! :) Hope you enjoy them.
I wish I could have one right this second! Stunning photos!
Wow this looks amazing. Everything I have made from your website/cookbook have been to so delicious. How do you make the cinnamon peach chia jam?
It’s basically the same recipe, although I swapped the raspberries for peeled frozen sliced peaches and added a bit of cinnamon to taste. I found I had to puree the mixture in the food processor to get it smooth (whereas the raspberries break down on their own). It’s definitely not as pretty as the vibrant raspberry or strawberry jam, but tasty nonetheless!
These look incredible! I love raspberries ;-) I need to try these right away! Yummm
I love jam and oat square recipes and what I love even more than this being gluten-free is that I have all the ingredients :)
I’m interested in what to substitute for brown rice syrup and almond flour as well. Any suggestions?
Maybe try honey or agave and more oat flour
Now I know what to do with the raspberry Chia seed jam I have frozen in the freezer that has been calling my name! These oat bars are perfect for this time of year! Can’t wait to try them :) Pinned!
Saw these on Instagram first thing this morning, and I immediately started making the jam. These were so easy to put together, yet torture to wait for them to cool. These are delicious! One bite of the jam, and one bite of the dough, and I knew something very special was going to take place in my oven. Thanks for yet another winner!
haha agree with you on torture waiting for them to cool! I had to keep myself occupied…
So glad you enjoyed the squares! Thanks for your feedback.
Yum! These look incredible, Angela!
We love your strawberry squares. These look amazing! I love raspberries. I’m not pregnant, but have found myself filling my freezer full of snacks like this- just since going back to work after the summer off. I like having healthy things on hand for those weeks that get really crazy.
Mmmm, tasty! I wonder what it would be like with an almond butter or cashew butter in place of the coconut oil, too, for a slightly different flavour… *dashes off to kitchen to experiment*
These look so so good! I can’t believe how easy the chia seed jam is to make. I was always a big fan of the nutri-grain bars, but gave them up recently because they really aren’t that great for you. These would make a great substitute. Can’t wait to try!
Ah! I’m completely in love with this recipe and can’t wait to try it. I’ve been looking for good recipes that incorporate both chia seeds and almond meal. Thanks!!!!
Oh my goodness, I can’t even describe how good this looks right now! I cannot wait to try this, it’s going to be my snack for at least the next two weeks :) Thanks for the recipe!
These look spectacular! Plus, it’s always great when something has a dual purpose as a healthy breakfast and a delicious dessert!
OMG looks soooo fantastic. That main picture makes me wanna lick my PC screen haha :D
Great idea!! I am going to try this with blackberries which are currently overflowing my garden.
I will also use honey (and 1/2 a pureed apple for constitency)- instead of other sweeteners.
For a raw version of the jam: blend fruits with chia seeds and sweetener and store in the fridge for an hour to set.
Oh wow – that looks sooo good! I’m thinking a plum version with the healthy plum compote I made. I’m inspired to add some cinnamon too after your peach-cinnamon suggestion. Yum! x
That looks amazing! I wonder if you could you apples instead of raspberries? I’m taking the kids apple picking next week and we’ll have more apples then we’ll know what to do with!
For sure! See this post for my apple chia seed jam recipe: http://ohsheglows.com/2013/09/05/sugar-free-apple-pie-chia-seed-jam-breakfast-parfait/
Perfect! I will definitely try that out. Thanks!
I can’t wait to make these!! My mom is coming to visit and it’s a perfect dessert to offer….plus test out for Thanksgiving week! Thanks again for another awesome recipe :)
These look amazing Ange! You were one of the first people to get me into making chia jam and now, I’d never go back to the conventional kind. I’ll be making these for sure!
These will be perfect for the last batch of rasberries my parents picked from their bushes! I’m visiting this weekend. Thanks!
wow – I was JUST looking in my freezer and I had a couple of the strawberry squares that I forgot were in there and need to be eaten up. I absolutely love them! I also was looking at my bag of raspberries which my family does not like in smoothies so I recently made a chia jam with them but it is almost gone – was thinking I need to make more to use up those raspberries. This is PERFECT! Thank you so much Angela! Another delicious treat to start the day thanks to you!
These look SO good. I’m happy you’re back in the kitchen!
I plan to go hiking on Halloween weekend, so this will be great! (I have food allergies and am veggie and gluten free, so it’ll be nic to have snax other than nuts or fruit to share.) re: pregnancy: You are now in great company! The Duchess of Cambridge is expecting! But I’ll bet she doesn’t have to deal with a broken stove – but you didn’t have to deal with the uber-severe morning sickness! So, in your own ways, you are amazing troupers – and inspirations to us all!
Oh my! Yesterday I made fig chia jam. And you made this! How fortuitous…
The taste of these is fantastic. I love the jam and plan on making some peach jam for toast. I made these squares and the oat mixture never got sticky… it was very dry. I probably should have added some more brown rice syrup? Not sure. Because the oat mixture was dry, the top “crumble” isn’t really a crumble, and I think there is too much crumble for jam. I’m still going to eat the entire pan because it tastes delicious, but will be making adjustments to the next batch. Om nom nom.