Vegan Healthy Oat Breakfast Bars

Healthy Oat Breakfast Bars are perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast, a between meal snack, or a pre or post workout energy boost.  Enjoy them with your favorite hot beverage and/or fresh fruit.

I made my Healthy Oat Breakfast Bars using this Quaker Breakfast Bar recipe as a base, found on the Quaker Oats website.  I read the reviews, and made modifications to suit my personal preferences.  

Baked Oat & Dried Fruit Breakfast Bars

Modifications to the original Quaker Oat Breakfast Bar Recipe

Several reviewers of the Quaker Oats Breakfast Bars recipe mentioned making adjustments to the original recipe to compensate for the bars being a bit crumbly.  I made adjustments to my Healthy Oat Breakfast Bars by adding a flax egg, and a little flour.  I also omitted the granulated sugar.

Originally, I made these with honey + Black strap molasses.  I stopped baking with honey prior to going vegan, after which I also stopped purchasing raw local honey as well.  I now use brown rice syrup, maple syrup, or barley malt, and/or black strap molasses in lieu of the honey, depending upon what I have on hand. 

You can also try using either brown sugar, or any other alternative sweetener, such as Xyla, maple sugar, Truvia, monk fruit, or others, as per your preferences, just be sure to make adjustments so the ingredients and final texture work for your preferences.  

For brown sugar, I really like Wholesome Organic Fair Trade Dark Brown Sugar.

This recipe is pretty forgiving,; you can pretty much experiment with your own combinations, and create your own version of a healthy oat breakfast bar!

A couple side notes about my Healthy Oat Breakfast Bar Recipe steps

Baked Oat and Dried Fruit Breakfast Bars

For starters, in my original recipe  which I posted on a blog I have since deleted, I had a little nut butter issue, which you can kind of see in the picture.

I intended to add 1/4 cup of  Manna Organics Dark Choco Roasted Pecan nut butter ~ which I happened to have on hand ~  but forgot until the last minute.   I mean, come on, who wouldn't love a little dark chocolate pecan butter in their breakfast bar?  Especially the Manna Organics.  (And no, I'm not an affiliate, just a long-time fan of their sprouted breads which I used to be able to purchase at natural foods stores.)

Being a novice baker, I was crazy enough to spread a little of it on one half ~ after pressing the batter into the baking dish ~ just out of curiosity.  I figured I'd see if I like it better with the nut butter, and if just smearing it on top prior to baking it would actually work.  (I know, any serious bakers out there are now laughing at me!)  Actually, it tasted just fine!

In the end, these Healthy Oat & Dried Fruit Breakfast Bars were quite tasty, with or without that last minute smear of nut butter, which, by the way, did not make it into the final recipe.  Just thought I'd mention it in case you were wondering why these otherwise Healthy Oat Breakfast Bars looked a bit dark, or burnt in the  lower right corner of the above photo!

Secondly, I left the batter out overnight before baking.  Dry rolled oats (and dried fruit for that matter) that are insufficiently rehydrated can pull moisture from the intestines, possibly causing intestinal gas for some more sensitive types.  Having a predominant Vata constitutional type, I definitely digest whole cooked grains better, although I still enjoy making healthier bars to have for between meal snacks.  To compensate, I either partially grind some of the oats, or try to moisten them a bit with hot water or other liquid, prior to adding to a recipe.  I did not include this step in the recipe.

Quick oats are more broken down than regular rolled outs.  Since I don't tend to stock quick oats, I break the oats down a bit by pulsing a few times in a food processor.  This also helps with making them a tad easier to digest.

If you want to skip that step, just use quick oats.

Dried Fruit from Trader Joes
Baked Healthy Oat and Dried Fruit Breakfast Bars

Ingredients for Healthy Oat Breakfast Bars

  • 1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds and 2 Tbsp. water
  • 2/3-3/4 cup chopped dried fruit ~ I used a mix of mostly (darker colored) sulfite-free Turkish apricots with a few (brighter orange) regular apricots, raisins, and a few dried cranberries; for added sweetness, add 3-4 dates*** (Trader Joe's is a good source for dried fruit without anything added)
  • 1 cup rolled oats, pulsed a couple times in a food processor to break the oats down a bit
  • 1/2 cup flour: sprouted wheat, whole wheat, white whole wheat, or other flour of choice**
  • 1/4-1/2 cup shredded coconut, optional
  • 2 Tbsp. raw (or toasted) wheat germ, optional (great source of Vitamin E)
  • 1&1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
  • 1/4 cup peanut or other nut or seed butter, or 2 Tbsp. light baking oil, such as high oleic sunflower oil 
  • 1/4 brown rice syrup, or real maple syrup (or sub brown sugar, or sweetener of choice)
  • 2 tsp. vanilla extract*****
  • 3 Tbsp. nondairy milk, possibly more if using a granulated sweetener

Steps for making Healthy Oat Breakfast Bars

Preheat oven to 350ยบ and line an 8 x 8 baking pan with parchment paper so it comes up the sides, or lightly oil.

  • Make your flax egg:  combine flax seeds & water in a small bowl, and set aside
  • Prep your dried fruit:  chop any larger fruit, like apricots and dates
  • Combine oats, flour, the chopped dried fruit, cinnamon, wheat germ & shredded coconut, if using, and nuts.  If using brown sugar or other granulated sugar, add to the oats. Stir to combine.
  • In a separate bowl, combine nut or seed butter, brown rice or maple syrup, vanilla, and nondairy milk, and stir until combined.
  • Add to oat mixture, and stir just enough until all the oats are well moistened.  Add more milk ~ one tablespoon at a time ~ as needed if batter is too dry.
  • Scoop batter into the prepared baking pan, and press down using the back of a spoon or rubber spatula.  Work through the batter to evenly spread it throughout the baking pan.
  • Bake 20 minutes, and check for doneness.  It will start to turn brown, but should be firm but with a little spring when pressed.  Let bake longer if needed, otherwise remove from the oven but let it sit in the baking dish for at least 10-15 minutes before cutting.
  • Cut into 12 rectangular squares

More recipe notes

To keep these Healthy Oat Breakfast Bars lower in fat: omit the extra added nuts, and/or coconut.

The nut butter helps with binding the Oat Bars, along with the added flour and flax egg.  Be sure to let them cool in the pan for at least 15 minutes before cutting.  (You may want to gently heat the nut butter with the sweeteners first to soften.)

Healthy Baked Oat and Dried Fruit Breakfast Bars

For higher protein bars: sub 1/4 cup of the flour for a plant-based protein powder.

To keep them gluten-free: purchase gluten-free oats, and grind 1/2 cup into flour to use in lieu of wheat or spelt flour.  Or use any gluten-free flour blend.

Feel free to experiment to get the recipe dialed in for your needs.  Let me know what you create!

You may also like these...

Vegan Whole Grain Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips

You may also like these Vegan Whole Grain Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips.  

Share with family and friends, including those who are not vegan, as a healthier version of the typically higher fat and sugar Oatmeal Cookies.

More naturally sweet treats...