If you are looking for a recipe that is packed with flavor and texture for an easy breakfast on the go or afternoon snack, this is the oat bar recipe for you.
When I was in college, all I would eat for breakfast was breakfast bars. This was partly because I could always find them on sale, and it was also partly because I could never seem to get my butt out of bed.
I was a big procrastinator back then, and I would stay up until the wee hours of the morning attempting to power through all the homework I possibly could. Therefore, I would wake up with about 10 minutes to get ready and 10 minutes to rush across campus to get to class.
The grab-and-go kind of breakfast was the only one I could fit into my schedule.
Of course, there’s always a downside to buying these in the store, because half of the time they taste like… well, like cardboard. They are fine for getting the fiber and other healthy elements that you need in your diet, but eating these premade, packaged creations is not really the most pleasant experience. And many of them are packed with added sugar more like a candy bar than anything else.
This is why I started making my own at home, as soon as I moved out of the dorms and had a kitchen again.
Let me tell you, my whole life changed when I was on my own with my own kitchen… You have no idea how necessary it is until you live without one for a couple of years. It’s so unbelievably limiting!
Also a microwave is NOT the same thing as having a full kitchen. Just saying.
However, I digress… slightly…
This is one of the healthiest bar recipes I’ve made at home that doesn’t actually 1) taste like cardboard, 2) have processed sugar in it, and 3) take forever to make.
Let’s start with the flavor of these bars. They are full of peanut butter, bananas, blueberries, pecans, and hearty oats. This makes for a delightful texture, but they still stay nice and soft with just the right amount of chew.
I really love the addition of the dates because it brings just the right amount of sweetness to the party, and the dried blueberries give a little burst of fruitiness that pairs with the banana so well.
It’s lovely that the sweetness in these bars comes only from fruit, because there is no processed sugar in the ingredients. That way you can feel fantastic about what you’re eating for breakfast, or enjoy one of these as an afternoon snack to tide you over until dinner time rolls around.
Just remember to avoid dried fruit that’s processed with added sugar, and choose a natural peanut butter to make a batch that’s a healthy as it can be.
Finally, these bars come together in less than 30 minutes. You can simply whip them up on a Sunday and you’ll have bars for the whole family to eat all week long.
They are ideal for packing in lunchboxes, grabbing on your way out the door when you are late for work, or even for bringing to the office to share with your coworkers. I like to have a few in my backpack whenever we go camping, because they are perfect for shoveling into your mouth when you take a break to enjoy the view.Print
Gluten-Free Blueberry Pecan Oat Bars
- Total Time: 25 minutes
- Yield: 8 large bars 1x
Your whole family is going to go crazy for these gluten-free blueberry pecan oat bars. They are full of texture, chewy, and super tasty.
- 2/3 cup gluten-free old fashioned rolled oats
- 2/3 cup natural creamy peanut butter (or almond butter)
- 1/3 cup extra virgin coconut oil, melted
- 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
- 2 1/2 tablespoons ground flax seed
- 2/3 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 3 ripe bananas (the more brown spots the better)
- 1 1/2 cup packed pitted dates
- 1 1/2 cup dried blueberries
- 1/2 cup chopped pecans
- Preheat oven to 350˚F. Grease a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with butter or oil, or line it with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Place oats, peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla, ground flax, coconut flakes, cinnamon, baking powder, and bananas in the bowl of a food processor. Process until smooth, about 1 minute.
- Scrape down the sides. Add dates to the food processor and process again until smooth, about 1 more minute. Transfer mixture to a large bowl.
- Using a wooden spoon, gently stir in blueberries and pecans.
- Spread mixture into prepared pan using the wooden spoon to smooth the top. Bake for 15-20 minutes, or until top is firm to the touch.
- Place pan onto a wire rack and let cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars, remove from pan, and let cool completely on the wire rack.
- Store in an airtight container on the counter for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
- Prep Time: 5 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Category: Gluten-Free
- Method: Baking
- Cuisine: Baked Goods
Keywords: gluten-free, snack, breakfast, pecan, blueberry, oat, banana, date
Cooking By the Numbers…
Step 1 – Melt Coconut Oil, Chop Pecans, And Measure Remaining Ingredients
Add coconut oil to a small microwave-safe bowl. To melt it in the microwave, this took about 30 seconds for me on full power. You could also do this in a small saucepan over low heat on the stove.
Chop enough pecans until you have 1/2 cup total.
Measure out all of the remaining ingredients as they are listed on the ingredients list.
Preheat your oven to 350˚F. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with parchment paper, or grease it with butter. You could also use non-dairy margarine or cooking oil spray if you like.
Step 2 – Make Oat Mixture
Add the oats, peanut butter, coconut oil, vanilla, ground flax, coconut flakes, cinnamon, baking powder, and bananas to a food processor. Process for 1 minute, until smooth.
Scrape down the sides and add the pitted dates. Process again for 1 minute, until smooth. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.
Stir in the dried blueberries and chopped pecans with a wooden spoon.
Step 3 – Bake
Spread the mixture into the prepared pan, and smooth the top with the wooden spoon.
Bake for 15-20 minutes, until the top is firm to the touch.
Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Cut into bars and remove from the pan. If you want smaller squares rather than larger rectangular bars, go for it!
Let the bars cool completely on the wire rack.
These bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Make These Bars Your Own!
If you can’t find dried blueberries, or perhaps are not a fan of blueberries, you can certainly substitute your choice of dried fruit for the dried blueberries.
Other options for using in this recipe include dried cranberries, dried currants, or even raisins, golden or regular.
Need more ideas for homemade bars to tickle your taste buds in the morning? Check out these recipes:
- Vegan Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
- Gluten-Free Chewy & Fruity Breakfast Bars
- Blueberry Oatmeal Squares
- Homemade Fruit and Chocolate Granola Bars
- Healthy Fig Newtons (Vegan & Gluten Free)
- Whole Wheat Oat Bars with Chocolate Drizzle
- Chocolate Date and Nut
- Pumpkin Granola Bars
What type of dried fruit will you use in this recipe, and where will you enjoy it? Tell us in the comments below. Once you try the recipe, be sure to come back to rate it!
Photos by Meghan Yager, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details. Originally published on August 21, 2012. Last updated: July 3, 2022 at 16:47 pm. With additional writing and editing by Allison Sidhu.
Nutritional information derived from a database of known generic and branded foods and ingredients and was not compiled by a registered dietitian or submitted for lab testing. It should be viewed as an approximation.
About Meghan Yager
Meghan Yager is a food addict turned food and travel writer with a love for creating uncomplicated, gourmet recipes and devouring anything the world serves up. As the author of the food and travel blog Cake 'n Knife, Meghan focuses on unique foodie experiences from around the world to right at home in your own kitchen.