If you’re looking for a healthy and delicious way to start the day, consider a breakfast bar. Breakfast bars are easy to make at home using simple recipes, and unlike purchasing pre-made bars from a store, you can customize homemade breakfast bar recipes with no extra sugar, butter, or oil. Whether you have dietary restrictions or need to follow a certain diet as prescribed by a doctor, one popular option is a breakfast bar recipe – no oil or sugar added.
When it comes to easy recipes for granola bars with no oil or sugar added, there are many to choose from. This recipe uses five ingredients. It is a healthy, minimalist recipe that’s free of additives and unnecessary ingredients. Like other simple recipes, this recipe doesn’t require much preparation time. Using just one bowl for all the ingredients in the recipe, you can make these healthy sweet and savory breakfast bars in no time at all.
This simple ingredient list is all you need for this recipe:
- 1 C. pitted dates
- ¼ C. natural sweetener (honey, maple syrup, or agave nectar) or sugar-free substitute
- ¼ C. creamy peanut butter or almond butter
- 1 C. roasted unsalted almonds
- 1 ½ C. rolled oats or gluten-free oats
Optional additions (chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts, etc.)
For the first ingredient in the recipe, you can use dates of any kind. Some recipes recommend Medjool dates. They are the most commonly used in many breakfast bar recipes. Recipes say they are large, soft, and can be easily cut into small pieces to make tasty breakfast bars. No matter which type of dates you use for your recipes, be sure that they are pitted before adding them to the breakfast bar mix.
Healthy recipes replace sugar with other ingredients. In some recipes, a natural sweetener such as maple syrup, agave, or honey gives the breakfast bars a naturally sweet taste without requiring excess sugar. Recipes recommend these liquids for holding the other ingredients together, which gives the bars their classic shape as they bake. Ultimately, the decision is yours as to which sweetener to use in many recipes. Each has a slightly different flavor. This recipe also recommends maple syrup and agave for a vegan recipe. Sugar free alternatives can be used, too.
The unsalted almonds can be used raw or roasted before adding to the breakfast bars recipe. The oats can also be roasted for this breakfast bar recipe. To roast the almonds and oats, preheat the oven to 350°F. Cook both in the same pan for about 10-15, or until they turn brown. Be careful not to let them burn! Shaking the pan every few minutes will help toast the nuts and oats evenly in this granola bars recipe. Alternatively, you can brown them by giving them a quick sautee – just be mindful of how much fat you are using to do so.
Rolled oats are another staple ingredient for your breakfast bars with many recipes. For a gluten allergy or sensitivity, recipes recommend substituting gluten-free oats.
Once you’ve compiled all the essential ingredients for the recipe, you have options to add in several more items for custom granola bars. To make slightly richer bars (that can double as “dessert bars”) without using excess butter, add in some chocolate chips to the original recipe. To cut back on added sugar even more in your bars, the recipe recommends dark chocolate chips, which generally have a lower sugar content than milk chocolate chips found in other recipes.
Dried fruit adds nutrition and flavor to your breakfast bars in this recipe. Figs, cranberries, raisins, or dates to give the breakfast bars a denser texture. Tropical fruits like dried pineapple, mango, or papaya give the bars a fruity flavor. Many recipes for nut butter granola bars say banana chips create crunchier breakfast bars, while other recipes recommend vanilla for flavor and a sweeter taste without the extra sugar. Coconut flakes make a nice topping in this granola bar recipe. Coconut also provides healthy fat for your peanut butter granola bars recipe, and goes great with a warm cup of your favorite tea.
These breakfast granola bars are nutrient-filled and pack plenty of protein, especially with the peanut butter (or almond butter). Even though the recipe calls them “breakfast” bars, you can have these breakfast granola bars on hand throughout the day.
- First, the granola bar recipe says to process the dates in a food processor until just small pieces remain. This should only take about a minute. The granola bar recipe advises processing the dates to form a dough-like ball at the end.
- If you do not have toasted almonds and oats to start with for your granola bar recipe, you have the option of toasting them in a pan in this recipe by putting them in the oven for 10-15 minutes. You can make bars without toasting the nuts and oats, too. As with many recipes, it comes down to your personal preference.
- The recipe then calls for combining the processed dates, oats, and almonds in a large mixing bowl.
- Following the breakfast bar recipe, next heat the peanut butter (or almond butter) in a pan along with your choice of sweetener or sugar-free sweetener over low heat for this recipe. If you’re worried about burning it, you can always warm it gently on a hot plate. Break up the dates if they are still in large chunks. Processing the dates in most recipes gives the bars a smoother texture.
- Once the dates, peanut butter, and sweetener or sugar-free alternative are evenly processed, pour the mixture over the oats, nuts, and dates in the mixing bowl. Pour the mixture slowly and combine all ingredients evenly as you go along. Make sure the ingredients are thoroughly mixed, according to the recipe.
- Transfer the mixed ingredients to an 8×8 inch baking pan or another similarly-sized pan. For thicker and chewier bars, add the mixture to a bread loaf pan. You’ll need a larger pan for more bars and a smaller pan if you reduce the recipe.
- After adding the mixture to the pan, spread it evenly across the bottom. Then, use another object to press the bars down, such as a drinking glass or a cup. Packing the bars into the bottom of the pan helps the ingredients stick together.
- Cover the mixture with plastic wrap or parchment paper. Stick the pan in the fridge or freezer and let the bars sit for about 15-20 minutes so the ingredients have time to harden into bars, according to the recipe.
- The next step in the recipe is to take the pan out of the fridge or freezer when it is sufficiently cooled. As with other recipes for breakfast bars, you’ll want to gently pull the mixture out of the pan and place it on a surface suitable for cutting.
- Carefully cut the nut butter bars into even portions. You can cut them into nine even squares or cut them into longer traditional breakfast bar shapes. This recipe yields ten breakfast bars.
After cutting the bars, the recipe yields instant breakfast bars or snack item! I love mine in the morning alongside a fresh cup of cold brew. The recipe makes ten standard bars. The bars will stay fresh for about 3-4 days in the fridge or on the counter. The recipe advises covering the bars, either way, to retain freshness and prevent excess moisture from escaping. The bars can also be stored in the freezer for up to a month, according to the recipe, if you’re not planning to eat them right away.