I’m a huge fan of good deals. When Whole Foods and Living Social launched a deal of $20 worth of food for just $10 a couple of weeks ago, I jumped at the chance. But when it came time to using it, I wasn’t sure what to buy. I wanted something special and then remembered how I’ve been struggling with snacking at work lately.
That’s when it hit me: mini granola bars!
Making these would be perfect for my weight loss maintenance. I wanted to make them full of protein but also sweet. When I get hungry in the mid-afternoon and need a little (healthy) pick-me-up, these babies are what I am going to turn to.
In my “Best Ever Granola Bars”: sunflower seeds ($0.61), hunza golden raisins ($0.98), dried tart cherries ($3.08), raw almonds ($4.07- I didn’t use all of them), goji berries ($1.08), pumpkin seeds ($1.05- I didn’t use all of them), gluten-free organic rolled oats ($1.46- I didn’t use all of them), sesame oil ($3.39) and vegan chocolate chips ($3.49). Total= $19.11, along with what I already had in my house (walnuts, agave nectar, cinnamon, brown sugar, vanilla extract, sea salt, chia seeds, flaxseed).
I cut them into 32 mini bars. Assuming that my extra ingredients added some money to my total, I still came out at less than $1 per snack bar. That’s cheap and delicious.
I started by putting all of my ingredients in a bowl, just piling them on top of each other.
Then I used a wooden spoon to mix it all.
After spreading the mixture onto my baking pan, I popped it into the oven.
Look how gorgeously toasted it came out! Good enough to eat, but first it must cool.
I have to admit: separating them wasn’t super easy. But it covered my fingers in chocolate/agave syrupy goodness and it was a joy to lick off.
Best Ever Gluten-Free Vegan Granola Bars
Prep: 30 minutes, Yield: 32 mini bars or 16 bars, Bake: 350 degrees F for 30 minutes
Inspired by the “Jump Start Granola” recipe from The Eat-Clean Diet Cookbook 2 and the Gluten-Free Granola Bars recipe from Gluten-Free Girl and the Chef, I made my own version of super-healthy granola bar minis. They’re a perfect protein-packed snack.
- 3 cups rolled oats, certified gluten-free
- 1 cup dried unsweetened tart cherries
- 1/2 cup golden hunza raisins
- 1/4 cup goji berries
- 1 cup almonds
- 1 cup walnuts
- 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
- 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup flaxseed
- 1 cup organic vegan semi-sweet chocolate
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 tsp sea salt
- 1 tbsp cinnamon
- 1 tbsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
- 2 cups organic agave nectar
1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well.
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and coat a pan with a little spray oil.
3. Spread your raw granola mixture into the pan and put in the oven.
4. Bake for 30 minutes, or until it looks lightly toasted.
5. Let cool for at least an hour (until fully chilled) and then cut into pieces.
That’s it! Wasn’t that simple? My only complaint is that they didn’t turn out quite as bar-like as I had hoped but they were simple and delicious anyway.
I’ve actually never made granola bars before. To be honest, I’ve never even made granola. It was always something that I bought. But granola bars aren’t cheap. With a regular bar costing $5 and my homemade versions being about $1.50 per bar (if you cut them large)– you know that’s a good deal.
Not to mention that making them myself means that I can portion them out a little better (into mini bars) as well as pack them full of extra protein and good-for-you seeds. Honestly, they were just like the healthiest little bits of heaven I’ve ever tasted. You can bet I’ll be making these again very soon.