Granola Bars: #SundaySupper

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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


  • 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


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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  1. says

    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. says

    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

  3. says

    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 !

  4. says

    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

    • says

      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

  5. says

    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!

  6. says

    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!

  7. says

    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!

    • says

      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

  8. says

    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?

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