Breakfast is a pretty big deal at my house. I wake up and immediately start thinking about the first thing I get to eat for the day (if it hasn't already been planned out at dinner the night before). In the mornings I can be found running out the door before the sun rises, so things like baked eggs, French toast, and pumpkin pancakes are impossible options. These bars, however, are a fantastic choice! Not only are they easy to throw together (no baking required!), they are full of flavor, fiber, and protein.
But one small note of caution: If you are indeed making these for someone who eats gluten-free, double check their oat sensitivity. Some gluten-free folks can have oats, as long as they are processed in a gluten-free facility (try Bob's Red Mill GF oats, for instance) — but others find that they really shouldn't eat oats at all. Just ask first.
I'm practically gushing over these bars. Actually, no, I take that back; I'm totally gushing over these things. And I'm wondering how on earth I didn't have something like this in my life sooner. These oat bars are the ideal afternoon snack.
Besides the ease and quickness of making them, the best thing about these bars is their versatility. It's so easy to make variations using your favorite ingredients and flavors. While the original recipe used dried blueberries, any type of dried fruit will work. (I used raisins.) Although, if you opt for something larger, like dried apricots, just be sure to dice them first. You can also swap the sunflower seed butter for your favorite type of nut butter.
These bars are soft, chewy, and a little bit crumbly. I did update the original recipe to use more sunflower seed butter, which helps them stay together better. Try putting the bars in the freezer for about 30 minutes so they can firm up before cutting.
- Kelli, August 2015
No-Bake Sunflower-Oat Bars
Makes one 8x8-inch pan
4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (gluten-free, if needed)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup raw sunflower seeds
1 cup banana chips or dried bananas, roughly chopped (see Recipe Note)
1/2 cup dried fruit (like raisins, blueberries, cherries, cranberries)
1 1/2 cups sunflower seed butter
1/2 cup agave nectar
Line an 8x8-inch pan with parchment paper.
Combine all dry ingredients in a bowl. Stir in sunflower seed butter and agave nectar until well combined. Press into the pan and refrigerate until firm. Cut into bars and enjoy. Store in fridge (or freezer for longer storage).
Finding banana chips: Look for banana chips in the bulk bin section of grocery stores, or along with the dried fruits. (I found the banana chips for this recipe at Trader Joe's.)
This recipe has been updated — first published January 2011.