Healthy Tropical Oat Bars {Vegan, GF Option}

Healthy Tropical Oat Bars {Vegan, GF}Today I bring you Healthy Tropical Oat Bars because I’ve gotten a little out of control with the desserts! A quick scroll down the homepage will show you that I have been on a non-stop sugar high for over a month! Time to rein it in, Lindsey. Rein it in.

But I can promise you that, while I have cut the added sugar down to a measly 2 tablespoons of honey in these vegan bars, you won’t even notice that they are healthy. You will be too excited about the burst of tropical flavors on your tongue to give a second thought to the fact that they are only 175 calories each!

Healthy Tropical Oat Bars {Vegan, GF}

Homemade oat bars have been on my list for over a year now, but I’ve resisted because each and every one I have seen calls for dates as the base. I loathe dates. I used to pick them out of the muesli cereal my mom bought growing up. Dedicated date hater right here.

But several weeks ago late at night, which is when these experiments usually happen, I decided to forgo the hated dates altogether and use dried apricots as the base.

Best. Decision. EVER!

Healthy Tropical Oat Bars {Vegan, GF}

First you soften the apricots in simmering water to partially rehydrate them, then you puree them into a beautiful, thick paste that will act as the main adhesive for the bars, lastly you mix everything together and bake it. How easy was that?

The mild apricot flavor fades into the background and you are left with all the tropical flavors you love! Pineapple, coconut, and macadamia nuts! They’ll take you right back to that last beach vaca!

“If you like piña coladas…”

Now that song is stuck in your head too. #sorryimnotsorry

Healthy Tropical Oat Bars {Vegan, GF}

 

The oats and wheat bran make each bar is as filling as it is tasty! I’ve been eating these for breakfast, for a pre-workout snack, for a post-workout snack, to tide me over ‘til dinner; I stuffed some in my husband’s carryon before he left last week…you get the idea. They’re awesome! You’ll love them! Even if you’re a date-lover.

To make these happy snacks Gluten Free, simply substitute the wheat bran with oat bran and make sure that your oat bran and oatmeal are certified gluten free. Oh happy day!

Healthy Tropical Oat Bars {Vegan, GF}

Note: Each bar pictured is slightly smaller than an actual serving in this recipe because some edges had to be sacrificed in the name of beautifully enticing photography.

Don’t forget to enter the Giveaway to win a KitchenAid Stand Mixer!!!

Healthy Tropical Oat Bars {Vegan, GF Option}

Prep Time: 40 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Yield: 16 square bars

Calories per serving: 175

Healthy Tropical Oat Bars {Vegan, GF Option}

These vegan Healthy Tropical Oat Bars are filling, packed with tropical flavors and are naturally sweet! Perfect for breakfast, lunch boxes or a snack on the go!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 2 ½ cups dried oats, ground in a food processor
  • 3 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • ¼ cup wheat germ
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ cup toasted pecans, chopped
  • ¾ cup toasted pecans, ground in the food processor
  • ¼ cup macadamia nuts, finely chopped
  • ¾ cup dried, unsweetened coconut
  • 1 cup dried pineapple (no added sugar if you can find it), chopped
  • ½ cup dried yellow raisins, chopped
  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
  • 2 tablespoon local honey (I use wildflower)
  • ~ ¼ cup reserved apricot cooking liquid

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.
  2. Place dried apricots in a small saucepan and cover with water until the water is approximately ½ inch above the fruit. Place over medium-high heat just until it comes to a low boil, turn down the heat to a low-simmer and simmer until plump. I let mine simmer for at least 30 minutes, but 20 will be okay. Because of the long simmer time, I set the apricots on before I begin measuring or chopping any other ingredient.
  3. Place all other ingredients through raisins in a large mixing bowl.
  4. Place plump apricots in the bowl of a food processor, reserving the cooking liquid. Process the apricots until completely smooth, adding some reserved cooking liquid if necessary. The liquid will help them puree.
  5. Add the puree, coconut oil and honey to the large bowl and mix with a large wooden spoon. If needed add some of the reserved cooking liquid. In the 3 test batches I made, I needed about ¼ cup additional liquid. You want the “batter” to be cohesive but not extremely sticky or wet.
  6. Press into the prepared pan with the back of a wooden spoon. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the edges begin to brown.
  7. Let cool and then cut into bars.

Notes:

Store at room temperature for up to a week or in the freezer for several months. Wrap in wax paper and then place in a freezer bag prior to freezing. Take them out individual to thaw at room temperature!

I measured all ingredients before they were processed or chopped! My dried pineapple was in large chunks when I measured it. I did not pack any ingredients into the measuring cup.

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Comments

  1. says

    Oh wow, these look great! I too get tired of finding so many recipes that call for dates – brilliant idea to try apricots instead! Apricot flavor is so much better, in my opinion. :) I love the tropical flavors you’ve used! Pinned!
    Kristine @ Kristine’s Kitchen recently posted…Peach GaletteMy Profile

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Soooo much better! If for no other reason than it doesn’t overpower every other flavor you put in the bar! Thanks for the pin!!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Haha! Thanks, David! I couldn’t have everyone thinking I lived on cupcakes and ice cream alone! Dates are strange…what is *up* with the constancy?

  2. says

    I have had to cut back on my sugar consumption and I feel your pain. I would love to try these for breakfast. I don’t really like traditional breakfast food and can never find anything satisfying in the mornings. This sounds good and healthy at the same time. Do the oats need to be ground even if you buy the ones in the can that are already very small pieces? In other words, do they need to be ground to a powder-like consistency?
    Phillip recently posted…Blueberry Surprise CakeMy Profile

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      These are delicious for breakfast! Ideally the oats should be ground into a powder-like consistency. It’s ok if there are some larger pieces but if the oats aren’t ground they might not stay together in a cohesive bar. The oat powder absorbs moisture faster and easier. I wouldn’t want you to pull them out of the oven and be eating raw oats in bar form! Yuck!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Thanks for the pin, Marcie! I’ve never been able to get on board the fig-train. I want to like them because they pair so nicely with all sorts of foods I love!

    • AmericanCooking22 says

      Thanks, Kelly! And thanks for the pin! They are delicious as well as healthy, which makes them a nice break from all the ice cream I’ve been eating!

  3. says

    OMG! These do seem incredible healthy but also super delicious! I’m so excited to try making them! They’ll be perfect once school starts again :)

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