Allow me to introduce you to our new favorite healthy breakfast (and snack)! These Strawberry-Banana Oat Bars are vegan, oil-free, wholesomely simple, and gluten-free with the use of GF certified oats. All you need are 7 ingredients, about 5 to 10 minutes of prep, and 30 minutes of bake time for these irresistible, naturally-sweetened bars.
I've been all about strawberries lately, and thankfully, they're still in season. Last week I made a decadent strawberry layer cake for a friend's baby shower. Ever since, strawberries are all I can think about! Obviously, strawberries are delicious raw, but cooking them brings out the loveliest flavors and makes them so tender.
My plan this week was to re-test the strawberry cake recipe and share it here soon. Then, things got sort of busy, and my cake baking plans were put on hold. Realizing I needed to find a quick way to use up the fresh strawberries I had in the fridge, my mind immediately went to muffins. You know I love a good muffin. But after some thought, I realized I should probably add some type of breakfast bar to the blog. After all, there are at least five muffin recipes here but no bars.
So I began with my favorite healthy, oat-based, oil-free muffin base, which includes bananas, oats, oat flour, and maple syrup.
I switched up the ratio of oats to oat flour and omitted the milk to make them more dense and less muffin-like. Next came almond extract, fresh strawberries and sliced almonds.
The result is a light-yet-sweet, irresistible baked treat you can feel good about eating any time of day. Each bar has just 145 calories and 3 grams of fat (even with the coconut butter drizzle on top). The oat batter is free from added fats thanks to the wonders of bananas, which provide moisture, binding AND sweetness!
How to Make Vegan Strawberry-Banana Bars
Nothing about this recipe is fussy. I love an occasional baking project as much as the next cook, but we can ALL appreciate a recipe that's so simple, so dependable, we return to it again and again. The process for these Strawberry Breakfast Bars looks like this:
- Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl. Add the other wet ingredients and stir.
- Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and stir again.
- Layer about ⅔ of the batter in the bottom of an 8x8 parchment-lined baking pan.
- Sprinkle with sliced, chopped, or quartered strawberries (depending on the size of the berries; quartered worked well for me), and then dollop on the remaining batter. Lightly press it down with the back of a spoon.
- Sprinkle with almonds and bake for about 30 minutes.
There's also the optional coconut butter glaze if you're into making things pretty, which I definitely am (especially when it takes all of about one minute to execute).
- Warm 1 tablespoon of coconut butter in the microwave.
- Stir in a drizzle of maple syrup, a splash of milk for thinning, and a touch of almond extract. Stir until smooth, and drizzle onto the cooled bars.
Gorgeous! Now, you're ready to enjoy your low-fat, high-fiber, whole-food, plant-based, super pretty Strawberry, Banana and Almond Bars with your morning coffee or afternoon tea.
Options for these Healthy Vegan Bars
I have no doubt you could successfully sub other fresh fruits in these bars. That's the great thing about no-fuss recipes.... they're always so versatile! Depending on the fruit(s) you choose, you could add dry spices to complement the flavors (like cinnamon, ginger or cardamom), and switch up the extracts (try vanilla, lemon, coconut or orange).
Try chopped walnuts or pecans instead of the almonds.
I plan to make a peach version of these bars this weekend and will definitely update the post to let you know how they turn out. Blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, and cherries would ALL be perfect in this recipe! And if you're feeling tropical, how about diced mango and coconut flakes?
If all you have on hand is frozen fruit, that will work, too. Just thaw it first and drain away any excess liquid. Then proceed with the recipe as written.
I told you this would be easy! 😀
Oh, strawberries. You're just so gorgeous, and no other fruit is quite like you!
I hope you love these Strawberry, Banana and Almond Oat Bars as much as I do! They're soft yet chewy, fruity, healthy, and too easy. In fact, this would be a great recipe to make with your kids or grandkids. They'll love mashing the bananas with their hands, stirring the ingredients, and admiring the bright red strawberries. Enjoy!
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Oil-Free Strawberry Banana Breakfast Bars
- 2 large very ripe bananas
- 3 Tbsp maple syrup
- ½ tsp almond extract, optional; or sub vanilla
- ¼ tsp fine sea salt
- 1 ½ cups rolled oats
- ½ cup oat flour or sub whole-wheat, spelt, or gluten-free blend
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 cups quartered strawberries (about 8 ounces); if using frozen strawberries, thaw and drain first
- 2 Tbsp raw sliced almonds or chopped nut of choice
Coconut butter glaze, optional:
- 1 Tbsp raw coconut butter
- 1 to 2 Tbsp non-dairy milk
- 1 tsp maple syrup
- ¼ tsp almond extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F, and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment.
- Place the bananas in a mixing bowl and mash/squish them using your hands or a fork. Add the maple syrup, almond extract, and salt to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Add the oats, oat flour, and baking powder to the bowl and stir to combine.
- Spoon about ⅔ of the batter into the prepared pan, enough to fully cover the bottom. Distribute the strawberries around the pan, and dollop the remaining batter evenly around the pan on top of the strawberries. Many of the strawberries should stil be visible. Lightly press the batter down to flatten.
- Sprinkle with sliced almonds, and bake for 27 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool 10 to 15 minutes. Use the parchment to remove from the pan and slice into 9 bars.
For the optional glaze:
- Melt 1 tablespoon coconut butter in a mug. Add the milk, maple syrup, and extract and stir until smooth. Drizzle onto cooled bars.