If you are looking for a bar recipe that uses fresh fruit and can pass as dessert, a snack, or breakfast, this is your recipe.
These healthy bars are both vegan and gluten-free if you use certified gluten-free oats. The best part is that they are a snap to whip up. Easy, healthy recipes that make everyone in my family happy are my favorite kind.
The ingredients are simple and let the blueberries shine. These bars are lightly sweet, but definitely not the kind of sweet that leaves you feeling icky afterwards. Does anyone else feel that way after eating something too sweet?
I use agave nectar as a sweetener here. I like it because it has a more neutral flavor than some other liquid sweeteners like maple syrup or honey. You can use either of those here, but the flavor profile will change slightly.
There’s a lot of controversy about whether agave nectar is a healthy sweetener. I’ve done my research and feel that, like other sweeteners, it’s acceptable in moderation. I don’t think any sweetener is good for you, especially if you use too much. I do think there is a lot of misinformation out there about agave nectar; you really have to be a scrupulous, discerning reader before you come to your own conclusion about this sweetener. You can’t believe every sensationalized article you come across before verifying the details.
Sorry about that little tangent, but I know at least one person will question my use of agave nectar, so I figured I’d answer the questions before they come in. Enough of that, though, how about we get to the recipe?!
Vegan Blueberry Oat Bars
These healthy blueberry oat bars are vegan and gluten-free and perfect for breakfast, snack, or dessert! They are lightly sweet, bursting with blueberry flavor, and super easy to prepare. They taste like heaven when eaten warm, straight out of the oven. When enjoyed immediately, they are best eaten with a fork. The next day, they are firm like a bar and can be eaten with your hands.
Makes 9-12 bars
for the filling
1 pint blueberries
1/4 cup agave nectar
1/8 cup lemon juice
1/8 cup water
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons arrowroot plus 2 tablespoons cold water (corn starch may be substituted)
for the crust/topping
3 cups rolled oats (not instant), divided
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/3 cup agave nectar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 tablespoons coconut oil
Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Oil a 8×8 inch baking dish and set aside.
In a small sauce pan, bring the blueberries, agave nectar, lemon juice, and water to a boil over medium high heat. When it boils, stir in the vanilla and arrowroot mixture. Remove from heat and allow to cool. The mixture will thicken as it cools. If you are using corn starch instead of arrowroot, you will need to stir the mixture a little longer as it cooks and thickens before you remove it from the heat.
Process 1 1/2 cup of the oats in your blender or food processor until they are a fine powder. Combine the processed oats, the remaining 1 1/2 cups of rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt in a bowl and mix well.
Add the applesauce, agave nectar, and vanilla and mix until everything is well combined. Add the coconut oil and use your hands to incorporate it into the mixture evenly. The oats mixture will be thick and resemble cookie dough.
Press about half of the mixture into the bottom of your baking dish. Press it down firmly so that it reaches the edges of the pan and forms an even bottom crust. Pour the blueberry mixture on top of the crust layer. Finally, sprinkle the rest of the oat mixture on top of the blueberry mixture in crumbles. Bake for 30 minutes in the preheated oven. Allow to cool before cutting into squares. Store in the refrigerator. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from here.
Have a great week, friends!