These vegan granola bars are soft, fudgy, chewy, and easy to make! They require 9 simple ingredients that magically blend together to create an explosion of flavor. And you can enjoy them without even turning the oven on. Filled with protein, fiber and free from refined sugar, they are the perfect everyday snack or breakfast on the go.
When you start eating more whole foods, it can be hard to replace sweet snacks and breakfast cereals with something that tastes just as good but it’s made only with nutritious ingredients, especially when you are in a hurry.
But I have the perfect solution for you: these vegan granola bars are exactly what you are looking for!
They are soft, fudgy, and chewy. Perfect for when you are craving something sweet and filling at the same time. They are rich in nutrients, protein, healthy fats, and vitamins.
And they are easy to meal prep in advance and are ready to eat at any time of the day: a protein-packed breakfast on the go, a great snack, or a sweet after-dinner treat!
Why you should make your own granola bars
Have you ever tried to read the ingredients in store-bought granola bars?
Sure, most look healthy enough, BUT they are often filled with hidden added sugar (fructose, rice syrup, glucose) and saturated fats (canola oil, sunflower oil, coconut oil, and palm oil, to name a few).
If you decide to make your own vegan granola bars, you’ll be able to know exactly what’s in them and customize the ingredients to your own liking, plus you’ll be able to save money.
Ingredients you’ll need
Granola bars are straightforward to make and highly customizable, depending on what you have at home. I used 9 simple ingredients, but feel free to omit/adapt/swap for similar ingredients (check out the add-ins section for more ideas).
- Old-fashioned rolled oats: Oats are filling, rich in fiber and protein, and they help keep you fuller for longer. Make sure to use gluten-free oats if needed.
- Almond butter: Full of protein and healthy fats, it’s a great oil substitute, and it helps to give an extra depth of flavor to these chewy granola bars.
- Dates: Dates give these bars a natural sweetness. Rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber, they complement the oats to create a caramel-like flavor.
- Pure maple syrup: For an extra touch of sweetness, but totally optional.
- Dried fruits: I used a mix of Goji berries and cranberries for their high level of antioxidants, vitamins, and nutrients. But you can opt for anything you have at home (sultanas, apricots, etc.)
- Almonds: Sweet and full of healthy fats, fiber, and magnesium, they give our granola bars a delicious extra crunch.
- Sunflower seeds: For an extra dose of zinc and selenium.
- Chia seeds: Rich in omega 3s and fiber.
- Vanilla: Vanilla helps to bring all the flavors together. I usually use a vanilla powder like this one for its more robust flavor, but any vanilla extract will work.
How to make vegan granola bars
- Prep the pan: Lightly oil an 8-inch square pan and cover the bottom and the sides with parchment paper. Make sure to leave a bit of excess paper on the sides to make it easier to remove the bars from the pan.
- Process the dates: Add the pitted dates and 2 tablespoons of water to a food processor and blend until the dates become like a dough-consistency paste. I always use Medjool dates in my recipes, as they are much softer and taste so good. But if you can only find regular dates, make sure to soften them in warm water for a few minutes before processing.
- Prepare the granola mixture: Place the oats, nuts, dry fruits, seeds, vanilla, almond butter, and date paste in a large bowl and mix everything well.
- Press into the pan: Transfer the mixture into the pan, and press it firmly using your hands or something flat like the bottom of a measuring cup or a spatula. If the mixture is a bit too sticky, you can use another square of parchment paper to cover it before pressing.
- Rest: Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or put in the freezer for 30 minutes until set.
- Slice: Remove from the pan using the extra parchment paper hanging from the sides, and slice into granola bars with a sharp knife into ten pieces.
How to store
These vegan granola bars are perfect for making ahead as they store incredibly well. You can keep the granola bars at room temperature for 3 days or in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
If you want to keep them for longer, place them in an airtight container, divide them with parchment paper (to make sure they don’t stick together), and freeze them for up to 3 months. You can then remove them individually and let them thaw at room temperature before enjoying them!
Tips for making the best vegan granola bars
Adjust consistency: There are many variables in this recipe. Dates, for example, can be dry or very soft. If your mix seems too dry, add 1-2 tablespoons of water at a time to help bind everything together. Or, if your mixture is too soft, add a bit more oats, chia seeds, or some flaxseeds to help to harden it enough to press it into shape.
Press well: Pressing the bars into the pan is one of the most important steps to obtain the perfect granola bars. Use all your strength to press the mixture as tight as possible. You can use your hands, a spatula, or a small tray. Anything flat!
Prefer crunchy granola bars? If you prefer your granola bars to be slightly more crunchy, you can bake them in the oven instead of letting them chill in the fridge or freezer. Preheat the oven to 350F (180C) and bake the bars in a baking pan for 20-30 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Let them cool down completely before cutting them.
Almond butter: You can use any nut butter you like or substitute it with seed butter if you are allergic to nuts. Tip: if your nut butter is a bit too hard, you can place it in the microwave for 10-20 seconds to soften it before adding it to the mix.
Maple syrup: Maple syrup is optional, but it adds a bit of extra sweetness. You can substitute it for date syrup, agave nectar, or honey (if you are not vegan).
There are so many things you can add to these homemade granola bars! Just make sure to roughly keep the same quantities as this recipe to avoid granola bars that are too crumbly and won’t stick together.
- Chocolate chips or chocolate chunks: make sure to pick high-quality dark chocolate or vegan chocolate chips.
- Any dried fruits: apricots, figs, plums, sultanas, banana chips, coconut flakes, shredded coconut, mango.
- Any seeds: pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, flaxseeds, hemp seeds.
Why I love these vegan granola bars
- Soft, fudgy, and chewy
- Healthy and filling
- Made with wholesome ingredients
- The perfect snack or healthy breakfast
- Easy to customize
- Vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free
- Incredibly delicious bars!
More breakfast and snack ideas you should try
- Oil-Free Granola
- No-Bake Peanut Butter Balls
- Granola Balls
- The best breakfast cookies
- 6 Healthy Overnight Oats
- Strawberry Overnight Oats
If you try this vegan granola bars recipe, please leave a comment and a rating and let me know how much you liked it!
Vegan Granola Bars (Chewy + Healthy)
- Lightly oil an 8-inch square pan and cover the bottom and the sides with parchment paper. Make sure to leave a bit of excess paper to make it easier to remove the bars from the pan.
- Add the pitted dates and 2 tablespoons of water to a food processor and blend until the dates become like a dough-consistency paste (see note 1).
- Place the oats, nuts, dry fruits, seeds, vanilla, almond butter, and date paste in a large mixing bowl and mix well.
- Transfer the mixture into the pan, and press it firmly using your hands or something flat like a measuring cup or a spatula.
- Refrigerate for 1-2 hours or put in the freezer for 30 minutes until set.
- Remove from the pan using the extra parchment paper hanging from the sides, and slice into granola bars with a sharp knife into 10 pieces.
Did you make this recipe? Tag @gatheringdreams on Instagram. I want to see it!