Serving Larchmont Village, Hancock Park, and the Greater Wilshire neighborhoods of Los Angeles since 2011.

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

These Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are just the thing if you’re looking for a fast and easy on-the-go meal or snack. They are also gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free, and peanut free. All photos from Deborah Brooks

We can thank NASA and the space program for creating meal replacement bars back in the 1960s. After all, there wasn’t a lot of room on board those rockets, so a nutrient- and calorie-dense bar that took up little space, was shelf stable, and required no food prep was tantamount to a successful mission. Still is.

Fast forward to our present day lifestyles and you’d think we were all about to board a Mission to Mars space shuttle, judging from the variety of meal replacement bars available to the average consumer today. Somewhere between 1960 and now food companies caught onto the marketability of compact, easy meals that can be eaten on the go and run with it. And our nutrition.

In my opinion, most of the bars are either glorified candy, cookies, or brownies…or over-processed low carb/mega protein planks with artificial flavor concoctions, all masquerading as meal replacements.

The truth is, if you’re going to replace a meal with a bar, it should be a nutrient dense one that’s as low processed as possible, containing whole foods. These Oatmeal Breakfast Bars are just the thing if you’re looking for a fast and easy on-the-go meal or snack. Breakfast, kids’s lunchbox, snack-time, pre-workout, post-workout, these bars fit the bill. Oh, and they’re delicious! Though – fair warning – they’re way less sweet than the typical store-bought bar, with only 2 T of maple syrup and a handful of tart dried cherries as a sweetener. For a sweeter bar, add another spoonful or two of maple syrup.

So, without a load of sugar and processed ingredients what do they contain? Plant-based proteins in the form of nuts and seeds, healthy carbs, healthy fats, lots of fiber and micronutrients. Everything a good meal should contain.

Please note that these bars are low-allergen as well. Gluten free, dairy free, soy free, egg free and peanut free. They do contain nuts. I used a fabulous mixed nut and seed butter, Nuttzo, that I found at Costco. For a nut-free version, replace the mixed nut butter with sunflower seed butter.

The sunflower, pumpkin seeds, and tart cherries are available at Trader Joe’s.

These bars are super easy to make, with no special equipment required. I do hope you’ll try them!

Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp (a pinch) salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or mashed banana)
2 T dark amber maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla paste or extract
1 flax egg (recipe follows)
1/4 cup Nuttzo nut butter or other nut butter
1 T virgin coconut oil, melted (or oil of choice)
1/4 cup roasted and unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
1 T toasted sesame seeds
Heaping 1/3 cup dried tart cherries snipped into pieces (or dried fruit of choice)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease (I used coconut oil) and line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper, with an overhang on two sides. Grease the parchment. Set aside.
In a small mixing bowl, stir together the oats, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, stir together the applesauce, maple syrup, vanilla, and flax egg until combined. Stir in the nut butter and melted coconut oil until well combined. Add in the oat mixture and combine well. Add in the seeds and cherries and incorporate throughout the mixture. Let sit 20 minutes for oats to absorb the moisture.

Transfer mixture to the baking pan and press evenly, making sure to fill in the corners.
Bake 20-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown and set. I give a wide time range as all ovens are calibrated differently. Let cool completely in the pan – at least an hour. Use the parchment paper overhang to lift the bars uncut out of the pan. Set on a cutting board and cut to size desired. I cut into 10 bars. Please note that these bars are a bit crumbly. I store in the fridge to firm up. They can be stored at room temperature or frozen as well.

Flax Egg
1 T ground flax seed meal
3 T water
Whisk together the flax meal and water. Let sit 10 minutes to thicken before using.


Ingredients for Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
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Deborah Brooks
Deborah Brooks
Deborah is currently a documentary film producer. She is also a former certified personal trainer and fitness nutrition coach. The shutdown of business due to Covid-19 and the implication of an animal wet market connection caused her to rethink her high animal protein food lifestyle. She has spent the last year exploring the world of plant based eating for her own health as well as the health of the planet and all of its sentient beings. Her recipes can be found on Instagram. She would love you to follow along on her journey.

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