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Easy granola bars of oats, pine nuts, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, coconut oil, honey and pomegranate molasses.

Granola bars : The Wimpy Vegetarian

I’ve been trying for awhile now to make granola bars, and these might be the easiest ones I’ve ever made. I don’t know about you, but I find that the biggest challenge in making granola bars is getting them to stick together without loading up on syrups or fats that act as the glue. I’ve been reading some disturbing articles lately on the effects of sugar, and am determined this year to cut waaaay back.

We’ve all read that sugar is increasingly pointed to as the major culprit behind the country’s exploding obesity rates in both children and adults, and surging rates of childhood diabetes. Some scientists go so far as to say that sugar has poisoned our food supply, and labels it an environmental toxin that’s altering our biology, compelling us to eat more and move less. Specifically, scientists have used imaging tests to show for the first time that fructose triggers brain changes that prevent signals being sent to the body letting us know that we’re full. Without that feedback loop, we overeat. More experiments are being run, but I can tell you from personal experience I can eat an extra-large Milky Way bar, and want a second one immediately almost more than I wanted the first one. Especially the dark chocolate kind. Only guilt halts my feeding frenzy.

So why don’t we just stop? It’s not like we haven’t known that sugar, or at least too much of it, is a bad thing. Turns out, it’s not that easy. (Duh…) Tests have proven now that sugar consumption is similar to nicotine or alcohol addiction; kicking the sugar habit is extremely difficult. So several months ago, I started to shift my sugars, hoping this would be a step in the right direction, and not just rearranging the chairs on the Titanic.

I substituted coconut palm sugar for brown sugar. Instead of white processed sugar, I shifted to agave. Then I read disturbing information on agave suggesting the labels should bear a skull and crossbones, and I moved to coconut nectar and honey. Truth is, it’s hard to know the right thing to be eating. It’s a moving target with new information emerging every week, and frankly I don’t really understand all the ins and outs of sucrose, glucose, and fructose, other than the fact that they’re naturally occurring in most fruits, vegetables and whole grains – all components of a reasonably well-balanced diet.

So over the next few months, I’m taking on a project to figure this out as best I, or any of us, can. Along the way, I’ll share recipes I develop to help me shift my eating while continuing the mostly vegetarian focus. For the month of January, I’m going to start with root vegetables since they naturally have glucose. And there are so many fresh root vegetables to choose from in the store right now, it feels like a good place to begin. That’s what’s ahead for this month, and I hope you’ll join me.

Granola whole : the Wimpy Vegetarian

Meanwhile, this granola features a healthy combination of oats, sunflower kernels, pumpkin seeds, and pine nuts. The fat part of the glue that holds them together is peanut butter and coconut oil. The syrup is a combination of honey and pomegranate molasses. And I threw in some chocolate chips because it just sounded like a good idea. Chocolate is not all bad, after all, particularly if the chocolate is at least 70% cocoa content.

A Few Cooking Notes:

The secret to them holding together well is to keep them individually wrapped in the refrigerator. At room temp they begin to crumble.

If you’re making them at higher altitudes, like 7000+ feet above sea level, you may need a little more glue to offset the dryness of the air.

I found that the best way to press them together before putting them into the refrigerator is to lay parchment paper on top of them, and press gently down with your hands.

 

Homemade Granola Bars

     by Susan Pridmore

     Makes 15 bars 2″ X 2″

       Prep Time: 15 minutes

       Cook Time: 10 minutes


Ingredients

  • 1 1/2
 cups rolled oats
  • 1 
cup roasted sunflower kernels
  • 1 cup pine nuts
  • 1 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 3 cups rice crispies
  • 1/2 
cup chocolate chips
  • 1 
cup dried apricots, sliced thinly
  • 1/2
 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup dried cherries
  • 3/4
 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2
 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup pomegranate molasses
  • 1 
teaspoon sea salt
  • 2 
teaspoons cinnamon

Instructions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Place the oats, sunflower kernels, pine nuts, and pumpkin seeds on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Remove and set aside.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Combine with the rice crispies, chocolate chips and dried fruit pieces. Toss together and place back on the baking sheet.

In a small pot, combine the peanut butter, coconut oil, honey and pomegranate molasses and melt together. Stir to completely mix. Don’t bring to a boil. Stir in the salt and cinnamon.

Pour over the dried mixture and toss together to thoroughly coat.

Place in the parchment lined baking dish. Place another sheet of parchment paper on top and press gently to press the granola pieces together without breaking up the rice crispies.

Place in the refrigerator overnight.

Cut into pieces and serve.

Wrap any uneaten pieces in plastic and keep in the refrigerator until ready for a healthy snack.

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This week’s Sunday Supper is all about trying something new, something that’s been on your bucket list but you have yet to tackle.  We have had so much fun with this and can’t wait to share these recipes with you!

Join us this Sunday at 7 pm Eastern Time on Twitter as we share our bucket list recipes during our #SundaySupper chat. 

This Week’s Sunday Supper Recipes:

Sunday Supper Specialty Breads:

Sunday Supper Main Dishes:

Sunday Supper Desserts and Snacks:

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter each Sunday. We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET and you do not want to miss out on the fun. Follow the#SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Don’t forget to also check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.


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69 Responses to “Granola Bars: #SundaySupper” Subscribe

  1. apuginthekitchen January 6, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    The bars look wonderful, it really is a challenge to get them to stick together without all that sugar. I share the same goal this year, cutting down (out??) processed sugars although I still plan on baking but hope to cut down dramatically. I have to go on a diet and part of my plan is to cut sugar out almost completely. I did it before and lost a ton of weight and felt so much better. I really look forward to your recipes and further research on this.
    apuginthekitchen recently posted..Lentil SoupMy Profile

  2. Shelby | Diabetic Foodie January 6, 2013 at 6:08 am #

    Sounds like we’re reading the same research. Like you, my husband and I tried switching from sugar to agave and then learned a lot of negative stuff about agave. It’s hard to eat “healthy” when the definition keeps changing!
    Shelby | Diabetic Foodie recently posted..Black-eyed Pea Corn Cakes with Spicy Sour CreamMy Profile

  3. Renee January 6, 2013 at 6:32 am #

    I eat a granola bar every afternoon for a snack. I’m so tired of the ones I get at the store (organic) and have been wanting to make them at home. Your recipe has all the fruits and flavors I want in a granola bar. Thanks for sharing it.
    Renee recently posted..Ropa Vieja for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  4. Susan January 6, 2013 at 6:51 am #

    Thanks for all the great granola bar tips! Mine always fall apart! I’ve been meaning to give them a try again. Homemade is definitely always better.
    Susan recently posted..Braided Challah #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 12, 2013 at 9:26 pm #

      I’ve found that it’s a work in progress figuring out the balance between the syrup and fat and getting them to hold together. I was trying to lower the amount of syrup and fat as much as possible. If you have any trouble with this recipe, just add more peanut butter or honey! Thanks for stopping by!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Skinny Potato and Fennel Gratin with Leek ConfitMy Profile

  5. lapadia January 6, 2013 at 6:57 am #

    Love your granola recipe and I share your thoughts re: sugar, the New Year is a great time to make changes. :) PS-did you get my message via F52? There isn’t a way to check what I sent from there, I’m hoping I didn’t leave you out.
    lapadia recently posted..WordPress.com: Our Labor of Love — 2012 in ReviewMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 12, 2013 at 9:28 pm #

      I’m really going to try to make this one change this year, Linda. I know I’m going to have some processed sugar, it’s not realistic (yet) to eliminate it, but if I can cut back by at least 50%, and switch away from processed to other sugars for a lot of the rest, I’ll have made some progress. And yes, I got your note. I totally understand, and we’ll just have to make sure we stay in touch through our blogs and food!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Skinny Potato and Fennel Gratin with Leek ConfitMy Profile

  6. Katie January 6, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    I’ve never tried making granola bars before, but yours look fantastic! I think I might have to give it a shot!

  7. Paula @ Vintage Kitchen January 6, 2013 at 9:04 am #

    I´ve been reading similar articles and it is an eye opener. One way to bind or clump granola is to add egg whites beaten until foamy. I make so much granole, beats me why I never made bars… this is a great recipe Susan!
    Paula @ Vintage Kitchen recently posted..Caramelized Monkey Bread #SundaySupperMy Profile

  8. Jen @JuanitasCocina January 6, 2013 at 9:06 am #

    Mmmmm, I adore homemade granola bars. Yours look lovely!
    Jen @JuanitasCocina recently posted..Divinity ~ Bucket List #SundaySupper!My Profile

  9. Nicole @ The Daily Dish January 6, 2013 at 9:09 am #

    Granola bars are on my bucket list too. I really need to do it – yours turned out just beautiful and would be a big hit around here. Great job!
    Nicole @ The Daily Dish recently posted..Homemade Bagels with Mimosa Cream Cheese Spread #SundaySupperMy Profile

  10. kelly @ kellybakes January 6, 2013 at 10:35 am #

    So glad you posted these! Every time I try to make granola bars, they fall apart, so I end up just eating them as plain old granola. I’m going to have to try your tip of individually wrapping and keeping in the fridge!
    kelly @ kellybakes recently posted..Donuts: redux for #SundaySupperMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 13, 2013 at 1:29 pm #

      That’s the problem I’ve had too. Next I’m going to try a baked version using egg whites as a binder as recommended by paula@thevintagekitchen. But now, even if it doesn’t work, I’ve got a go-to granola recipe anyway!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Skinny Potato and Fennel Gratin with Leek ConfitMy Profile

  11. sunithi January 6, 2013 at 11:20 am #

    Totally get how your’e feel. Have my reservations about agave too. I use stevia in my smoothies, shakes & teas but can’t cook with it. So I use raw honey, raw brown sugar and have been toying with the idea of using coconut sugar. So far what’e been said about it seems good. I love this recipe. Full of natural goodness and fruit. Been on my bucket list too. i may try these :) ! Love the addition of pomegranate molasses ! Looking forward to your recipes on your project !

  12. Choc Chip Uru January 6, 2013 at 11:30 am #

    Finally some healthy granola bars! These look and sound school perfect :)

    Happy New Year
    Choc Chip Uru
    Choc Chip Uru recently posted..Guest Post: Strawberry Lychee SorbetMy Profile

  13. Tara January 6, 2013 at 12:34 pm #

    I have just made homemade granola bars recently but I really like your recipe too, full of flavor!!

  14. Wendy Read January 6, 2013 at 2:25 pm #

    Your recipe looks really good Susan :) I would love to try your recipe, I, too, am looking to cut way down on my sugar intake this year and I love pomegranite molasses–I have some in my cabinet right now….Great photos too!
    Wendy Read recently posted..Guest Post for Cranberry & Tangerine Pecan Cinnamon Rolls featuring Tangerine Ginger Rum JamMy Profile

  15. Katy January 6, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    Finally, a recipe for granola bars that actually looks healthy and doesn’t involve masses of sugar! Thank you so much for sharing it!
    Katy recently posted..Gluten-Free Bread for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  16. Shannon @VillageGirlBlog January 6, 2013 at 3:06 pm #

    I have always wanted to try and make my own granola bars. I love this. Thank you for sharing.

  17. Mary @ Fit and Fed January 6, 2013 at 5:02 pm #

    I haven’t tackled granola bars yet, though I’d like to. You can read and read and still have questions about nutritional topics like sugar: as you say, fruits and vegetables can have a lot of sugar and yet we all know that they are part of a healthy diet. One thing that I wonder if these studies have adequately addressed is fiber: the sugar in a fruit that has lots of good natural fiber is absorbed much more slowly than, say, the sugar in a soda. That’s much easier on our system, and by the time we eat, say, an apple, there’s time for the signal that we are full to be transmitted and get us to stop eating. Not true, as you note, with the candy bar.

    I doubt that agave deserves the hatchet job it’s gotten on the internet lately and I continue to use organic agave from time to time, just as I also use honey, coconut palm sugar, and maple syrup. I sometimes use blended dates to sweeten food, too. I like your idea of using more root vegetables to get a sweet taste in something that for sure is nutritionally sound.
    Mary @ Fit and Fed recently posted..Date Sweetened No Oil No Sugar GranolaMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 13, 2013 at 1:42 pm #

      Hi Mary, I’ve been experimenting more with dates lately too. There are options out there, for sure. But they do take some experimenting with. You make an excellent point on the fiber, and the Glycemic index (GI) and Glycemic Load (GL) can shed light there. The GI compares carbs to each other based on how fast they’re broken down by our bodies. The faster the they get broken down, the higher the score, and the lower the fiber. GL weights the GI as an individual serving. Thanks so much for stopping by with your thoughtful comment!
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Skinny Potato and Fennel Gratin with Leek ConfitMy Profile

  18. Julia January 6, 2013 at 5:30 pm #

    I love the idea of making your own granola bars–I need to try this out. Beautiful pictures by the way

  19. Julia {The Roasted Root} January 6, 2013 at 6:04 pm #

    I absolutely adore granola and have never made homemade granola bars. Love the idea and will definitely try the recipe soon!
    Julia {The Roasted Root} recently posted..Homemade Lavender KombuchaMy Profile

  20. Stacy January 6, 2013 at 8:31 pm #

    There is so much information out there about what is healthy and what is not, which is good. The problem is that healthy seems to be a moving target! Your granola bars look beautiful and tasty!

  21. Cindys Recipes January 6, 2013 at 8:33 pm #

    Wow what a great combo of flavors, Susan!
    Cindys Recipes recently posted..Belgian Waffles for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  22. Megan - I Run For Wine January 7, 2013 at 10:17 am #

    Wow, I really really want to make this!
    Megan – I Run For Wine recently posted..HAPPY! runDisney and Cruise preppingMy Profile

  23. Sarah January 7, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    Love the touch of pomegranate! You’re so clever
    Sarah recently posted..Nut and Seed Nougat (#SundaySupper Bucket List!)My Profile

  24. Annie @ Naturally Sweet Recipes January 7, 2013 at 2:11 pm #

    I am new to your site but love what I’ve found so far! You have some great recipes. These bars look absolutely delicious. What are sunflower kernels? Sunflower seeds? Can they be found at any natural foods store? I’ve never baked with them before! Thanks for sharing and I hope to try out some of your recipes soon!

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 12, 2013 at 9:39 pm #

      Thanks so much Annie! Welcome to my site! I can find sunflower kernels in most of my stores in the snacks section, but you would definitely find them at any natural foods store. They are the kernel that’s inside the whole seed. But you’d definitely want someone else to do all the shelling :-)
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Skinny Potato and Fennel Gratin with Leek ConfitMy Profile

  25. Nancy @ gottagetbaked January 7, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

    Sigh…Susan, everything you wrote in this post I already know yet I still can’t shake my sugar addiction. Type II diabetes runs in my family and I’m always scared that I’m well on my way towards it. I crave sugar all the time, especially after meals, and I have no will power to stop myself from noshing on chocolate bars, donuts, cookies, etc. Even though I now bake most of the sweets I devour, it’s still way too much sugar to consume. I am definitely going to pay close attention to your blog in the next few months so that I can incorporate some of your healthy recipes into my diet, like this yummy granola bar recipe. Granola bars have been on my foodie bucket list for a long time so all these scary stats about sugar should kick my butt into making them instead of buying the processed crap!

  26. mjskit January 7, 2013 at 7:51 pm #

    Great granola bars! I love the use of the pomegranate molasses. So many different flavors!!!!
    mjskit recently posted..Stewed Cushaw and Yummy Deliciousness Cushaw Coffee CakeMy Profile

  27. Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom January 9, 2013 at 12:26 am #

    I love that you made granola bars!!! I have always wanted to try this. . I might have to give this a try now. . Love that they are so healthy!
    Alice @ Hip Foodie Mom recently posted..Julia Child’s Boeuf Bourguignon for #SundaySupperMy Profile

  28. Jennie January 9, 2013 at 7:09 am #

    These look and sound amazing. I can’t wait to hear about your sugar discovery.

  29. Lane @ Supper for a Steal January 9, 2013 at 12:57 pm #

    I have made homemade granola, but never homemade granola bars. I think I need to try this soon they are the perfect afternoon snack when I need some energy.
    Lane @ Supper for a Steal recently posted..Chipotle Chicken SlidersMy Profile

  30. Liz January 9, 2013 at 3:18 pm #

    I have never made granola bars, either! It’s time to change that! Yours look yummy!

  31. Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts January 9, 2013 at 6:23 pm #

    I love making my own granola bars – your look great!
    Erin @ Dinners, Dishes and Desserts recently posted..Artichoke DipMy Profile

  32. Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips January 10, 2013 at 6:03 pm #

    I agree, if you want moist but not super sugary and fatty granola bars, fridge storage is key. I bet the pomegrnate molasses adds a nice flavor, especially with the bit of chocolate.
    Brianne @ Cupcakes & Kale Chips recently posted..Creamy Cranberry Dijon Dipping SauceMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 27, 2013 at 10:22 am #

      You’re right! The pomegranate molasses makes the difference by adding a fruity sweet-tartness to the bars.

  33. Karen Hartzell (@InTheKitchenKP) January 13, 2013 at 10:51 am #

    I am def marking this for my husband. He loves granola bars and would love to try and make his own.
    Karen Hartzell (@InTheKitchenKP) recently posted..Budget Friendly Breakfast – Freezable Bacon, Egg, and Cheese Sandwiches #SundaySupperMy Profile

  34. Cass @foodmyfriend January 13, 2013 at 8:07 pm #

    These look like an amazing snack. I need something like this for when I finish up at the gym. I usually end up quite dizzy and need something to up my blood sugar levels. This would be quite similar to the protein balls they sell at the gym wouldn’t they? With the addition of protein powder maybe. Shelf life and best way to store?
    Cass @foodmyfriend recently posted..Meringue Nests with Lemon Butter and Rosewater and Pomegranate SyrupMy Profile

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 13, 2013 at 8:20 pm #

      Thanks Cass! I’m willing to bet the protein bars have protein powder in them, and likely more nut butter or whatever they’re using for the glue to hold them together. I’ve tried to go as low as possible with that and still have them hold together. That’s why I need the refrigerator which hardens them slightly. Otherwise, the bars will easily break apart into a granola snack without the handy bar shape. I’m working now on creating one that can be baked, using egg whites as the binder so I won’t need to keep them refrigerated. As for shelf life, since I’m keeping them in the fridge, it’s not really an issue. On the counter, I’m not too concerned about them going bad either since none of the ingredients have much risk associated with them.
      The Wimpy Vegetarian recently posted..Skinny Potato and Fennel Gratin with Leek ConfitMy Profile

  35. Sarah January 14, 2013 at 5:49 am #

    Home made granola bars are sooooo much better than any store bought. I always have an issue with my granola falling apart though. I’ll be trying your recipe!
    Sarah recently posted..Happy Birthday #SundaySupper Pork Ragu and mini mac and cheese cupsMy Profile

  36. Anjelica January 27, 2013 at 6:44 am #

    I love this! I´ve been trying to find a good recipe for a long time and this almost matches everything i would want :) However I am allergic to coconut so could i substitute that with some more peanut butter or something else? maybe just cut the coconut out all in all?

    • The Wimpy Vegetarian January 27, 2013 at 10:18 am #

      Thanks Anjelica! Just make up the difference with peanut butter, and you should be fine. Hope you enjoy them!

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