5-Ingredient breakfast granola bars [Vegan, Gluten-free]

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Nothing like grabbing a yummy granola bar for a breakfast on the go! This one has just five healthy ingredients, so you know you’re getting only what you need and none of the extra additives store-bought granola bars hide. This recipe is filled with protein, slow-burning carbs, and healthy fats to keep you full for hours — plus a bit of sweetness!

Of course, the five ingredients are just the basics for a simple healthy breakfast — we have ideas for what to add to make some extra delicious bars that are good for breakfast, snacks or even dessert!

This recipe is adapted from How Sweet Eats. It makes 16-18 granola bars.

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© Jaymi Heimbuch

Ingredients:
3 cups rolled oats
2 tablespoons chia seeds
1/2 cup of your favorite nut (almonds, cashews or peanuts are all great options), chopped
3/4 cup natural peanut butter
1/2 cup brown rice syrup or agave (honey works too, if you’re okay with a non-vegan option!)

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease a 9×13 baking pan.

2. In a small sauce pan over low heat, mix together the peanut butter and agave (or rice syrup, or honey…) until creamy and slightly runny.

3. In a large bowl, mix together the oats, chia seeds and the chopped nuts. Pour the peanut butter mixture over and stir together. Using your fingers is the easiest way to make sure everything gets combined. Your dough should be fairly sticky, so if it is too crumbly, add more peanut butter a little at a time until everything is moistened.

4. Press the dough into the greased pan. Press *hard* to make sure the dough is firmly stuck together. Bake on the center rack for 25 minutes or until just golden brown.

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© Jaymi Heimbuch

5. Cool the pan on a wire rack for about 10 minutes. Place a second wire rack over the pan and flip it upside down. Tap the bottom of the pan a couple times to release the granola “cake” and remove the pan. Allow it to cool completely on the wire rack.

6. Place your granola “cake” on a cutting board and slice into squares. Makes about 16-18 squares depending on how large you want them. Enjoy!

3 Tricks to Getting These Right:
There are three must-follow tricks to making sure you create granola bars and not simply crumbly granola. Of course, even crumbly, this recipe is a delicious snack, but if you want it to come in a bar form, then follow these tips:

1. Sticky dough — make sure your dough is sticky enough and not too crumbly. If you’re getting oats, nuts and seeds falling out of the mix and into the bottom of the bowl as you stir, then you need more peanut butter or syrup. Everything should still stick together fairly well in moist, crumbly chunks in the bowl.

2. Pack the granola into the pan hard. You need to really press the dough down into the pan. I actually put a layer of parchment paper over the granola, then placed a book over the parchment paper and stood on the book, moving it and stepping on it until everything was pressed down as firmly as it was going to go.

3. Cut only after the granola “cake” has cooled completely. If you try to slice it into bars when it is still warm, it will crumble into large pieces. So be patient and wait until it is room temperature before cutting it into squares.

Also, though I haven’t tried this, you can do a no-bake version of these bars. Simply follow the recipe but instead of placing the baking pan in the oven, put it in the refrigerator for at least 60 minutes to harden.

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© Jaymi Heimbuch

This is just the simple 5-ingredient version but there are at least two other versions that I can vouch are deeeelicious too! All they require is tossing in a couple more ingredients as you mix your dough together.

Chocolate Coconut:
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips and 1/3 cup shredded coconut

Chocolate Coffee Kick:
1/2 cup dark chocolate chip and 1 tablespoon freshly ground coffee

Also try:
Dried fruit such as cranberries, raisins, blueberries or bananas
Flaxseed
Sunflower seeds
Pepitas
Mixed nuts (unsalted)

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© Jaymi Heimbuch

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