One of the challenges of eating a plant-based diet is finding ways to make desserts with little or no oil and no refined sugar. But, the challenge is deeper than that because a truly nutritious treat is also about what is included. Ideally, ingredients that stand alone as nutritious and delicious.
I started with a recipe called Pumpkin Seed and Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Breakfast Bars by Dreena Burton and adapted the ingredients to come up with a recipe for Oat Bars that contain whole grain oats, whole grain oat flour, seeds, nuts, spices, date syrup, dark chocolate chips, and non-dairy milk. Basically, these bars are whole-grain and plant-based with no dairy, no oil, no refined sugar, and no eggs.
Oat Bars have a base of rolled oats and oat flour whose flavor is enhanced with what I call “the big 3” – pumpkin seeds, walnuts, and dark chocolate chips. The big 3 are simply three wholesome ingredients that are super tasty together. But, if you find raisins, walnuts, and sunflower seeds more to your liking, make a substitution.
To give these bars a tad of sweetness (these bars are not too sweet), date syrup (made with only one ingredient – organic dates) is used. Cinnamon, nutmeg and a touch of salt add just the right amount of spice. And, to bind it all together, unsweetened non-dairy milk is used (I use Milkadamia).
- 1-1/4 cups rolled oats (I use sprouted but regular rolled oats also work. Don’t use quick oats)
- 1-1/4 cups oat flour
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (I use red walnuts)
- 1/4 cup dark chocolate chips (I use Pascha 85% dark chocolate chips)
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup non-dairy milk (I use Milkadamia Unsweetened)
- 1/3 cup date syrup
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the oats, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-sized mixing bowl. Add the seeds, walnuts, and chocolate chips (reserving a few of each to decorate the top of the bars).
Blend the non-dairy milk and date syrup in a small bowl.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and blend. Transfer to an 8 x 8 inch square baking pan (I use silicone so sticking is not a problem. If using a metal or glass plan, line the bottom with parchment paper and spray the sides with non-stick spray) and pat the batter down with a spatula or back of a spoon. Use the few reserved pumpkin seeds, walnut pieces, and chocolate chips to decorate the top. Gently pat the seed, nut, and chips into the batter but still showing. Doing this makes the bars look as enticing as they taste.
Bake for 20 minutes.
Cut into squares (makes about 9 bars).