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Granola Bars (Grain Free, Paleo, Gluten Free, Gaps)

by Deliciously Organic on February 15, 2012

These are my favorite granola bars of all time! Nuts and seeds folded into a sticky mixture of coconut oil, honey and vanilla. Simple and sweet. Nothing complicated.

These bars can be adapted with dozens of different ingredients. Substitute your favorite dried fruits for the seeds, add a little flax (I suggest this only for the dehydrated method so the flaxseed oil doesn’t oxidize), or spread the mixture out on a larger sheet and make a sticky-sweet granola to use as a cereal in the morning.

Granola Bars (Grain Free, Paleo, Gluten Free, Gaps)

Serving Size: Makes 12-16 bars

Granola Bars (Grain Free, Paleo, Gluten Free, Gaps)

Just like most foods described as “sticky and sweet,” remember to eat these in moderation. I used this method for soaking and dehydrating my nuts and seeds. My friend Molly also wrote a post about the benefits of soaking and dehydrating nuts and seeds.

Ingredients

    For the bars:

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped almonds (dehydrated or toasted)

  • 1 1/2 cups chopped cashews (dehydrated or toasted)

  • 1 cup shredded unsweetened coconut

  • 1 1/2 cups seeds (I used dehydrated pumpkin and sunflower seeds)

  • 3 tablespoons coconut oil (or unsalted butter), melted

  • 2/3 cup light honey

  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon Celtic sea salt

Instructions

Preheat oven to 300ºF and adjust rack to middle position. Line an 11 x 7-inch baking pan with parchment paper so the sides of paper overhang.

Place the almonds, cashews, coconut and seeds in a large mixing bowl. Heat oil, honey and salt in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a simmer. Stir in the vanilla and pour mixture over nut mixture. Fold until incorporated. Pour mixture into the baking dish and press into the bottom of the pan. Bake for 30 minutes. Cool completely before cutting (this step is very important. If you cut while they are warm, they will fall apart). Holding onto the parchment, gently lift the bars out of the pan and place on a cutting board. Using a large knife, cut granola into bars. Keep in an airtight container for 10 days.

Dehydration Method (If you took the time to soak and dehydrate your nuts and seeds then you might want to use this option to bake the bars):
Follow instructions above and dehydrate at 170ºF (or as low as your oven will go) for about 7-8 hours, until the outer edges are just slightly golden brown. Cool completely before cutting.

A few tips:

To ensure the granola cuts into clean uniform bars, I usually start in the middle and cut with a large chefs knife. You can also put the granola bars in the refrigerator after baking for 30 minutes to ensure the honey (the glue that binds the bars together) hardens to make cutting easier (this step can be helpful if you live in a humid climate).

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{ 68 comments… read them below or add one }

Amanda February 15, 2012 at 8:34 am

These look fabulous Carrie! Love the homemade wrappers, so cute! :)

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Animom February 15, 2012 at 8:59 am

These look delicious! Question though: what is “light” honey?

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Deliciously Organic February 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm

A light colored honey, such as clover.

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Georgia @ The Comfort of Cooking February 15, 2012 at 10:17 am

Animom – I think she means “light colored” honey, as opposed to dark. Is that right?

Carrie – What a lovely grain-free granola bar. I never knew you could make them this way, but I’ve got to try them for myself. Thanks for sharing your inspiring recipe!

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Melissam February 15, 2012 at 10:28 am

What would happen if the seeds and nuts were kept raw? Or if the seeds were ground instead of left whole? Is there a reason they need to be dehydrated? Thanks!

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Deliciously Organic February 15, 2012 at 12:57 pm

If you keep the seeds and nuts raw then they won’t be as crispy in the bars. I haven’t tried grinding them up so I don’t know how the end product would turn out. The benefits of soaking and dehydrating can be found in the last paragraph of this post: http://deliciouslyorganic.net/sweet-crispy-pecans-and-a-giveaway-from-mighty-nest/

My friend Molly also wrote a post about soaking and dehydrating nuts and seeds: http://www.organicspark.com/portfolio/technique-dehydrated-nuts/

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HeatherChristo February 15, 2012 at 11:40 am

I love granola Bars! and grain free! amazing!

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Shereen February 15, 2012 at 12:10 pm

Is there a benefit to dehydrating vs. baking? Do they turn out differently?

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Deliciously Organic February 15, 2012 at 12:54 pm

They won’t turn out differently. I soak my seeds and nuts to release the phytic acid (gives me tummy problems) and then I dehydrate to get them crispy without oxidizing the good oils. It’s just personal preference.

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Kate @Type1Momma February 15, 2012 at 12:55 pm

woo hoo! been waiting for this one, thanks so much! going to try these in the next couple of days. They sound delicious. Thanks for providing such great recipes.

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Katherine February 15, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Yay. I think I am going to skip the coconut though. Maybe replace with some sesame seeds? And I think I want to toss in some blueberries. Yummy. Thanks.

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Allison [Girl's Guide to Social Media] February 15, 2012 at 6:47 pm

These look so tasty! If I wanted to add dark chocolate chunks or chips, where in the process would I do that?

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Deliciously Organic February 16, 2012 at 6:32 am

You can replace a cup of seeds or nuts for chocolate chips if you’d like. Just add them in with the rest of the dry mixture.

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Sally February 15, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Thanks! So excited about this recipe. This is one of those items in my pantry that my kids love. I am always wishing I could make some they’d love as much homemade. No luck yet. Maybe these will do the trick. Silly question, are these more crunchy or chewy? Will either suggested cooking method give me the crunch? Thanks so much for all your efforts. I also can tell a huge difference with soaking nuts.

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Deliciously Organic February 16, 2012 at 6:30 am

They are more on the chewy side. Because of the ingredients, both methods will lend a “chewier” granola bar.

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Brooke @ Food Woolf February 15, 2012 at 7:33 pm

wow. What a great idea!

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marla {family fresh cooking} February 16, 2012 at 5:57 am

Loving up these granola bars Carrie!

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Sarah February 16, 2012 at 6:47 am

Any suggestion for a substitution for the nuts ( we have a nut allergy here ).
Oatmeal maybe? Pretzel pieces?

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Deliciously Organic February 16, 2012 at 7:58 am

You can substitute with whatever ingredients you like.

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DavetteB February 16, 2012 at 2:31 pm

You could add more varieties of seeds – chia, hemp, sesame, and more coconut. You might want to add a small amount of no-sugar-added dried fruit, such as pineapple chunks.

If you use another grain, like oats or cracked wheat, be sure to soak it as well (oats are really high in phytates).

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Alex@Spoonful of Sugar Free February 16, 2012 at 7:52 am

wow, these look amazing! Love the simplicity and the ability to customize.

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Kristina Vanni February 16, 2012 at 1:15 pm

I love a good granola bar! Soaking the nuts and seeds is always a great option. Such a simple and classic recipe to keep and customize for years to come!

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Cookin' Cowgirl February 16, 2012 at 1:33 pm

So awesome!! I bet these are a huge hit! I love the photos too! Mmmmm

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aida mollenkamp February 17, 2012 at 11:53 am

These sound like granola bars I’d actually love to eat! Thanks for sharing, Carrie!

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Patty February 17, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Wow – these sound terrific…but…is there any way that stevia could be substituted for the honey to get rid of the sugar aspect? Usually when I try subbing stevia it is either bitter or the consistency is not good. Any suggestions here?

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Deliciously Organic February 18, 2012 at 7:14 am

Unfortunetly, the honey can’t be replaced because it’s what holds the bars together. If you want to make granola, then you can use stevia.

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Sylvie @ Gourmande in the Kitchen February 18, 2012 at 3:26 am

I have to try this! I rely on granola bars when I’m out or traveling and it would be nice to have a homemade version.

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Diane February 18, 2012 at 9:14 am

I clicked on you’re site looking for a flavored coffee creamer recipe and found that. Later today I wanted a granola bar recipe and once again I found that on your site. It sounds yummy and I will be making it. I make as much food as possile from scratch. I am sick and tired of all the chemicals in foods and sooooo many prepare mixes. No wonder people/kids are soooo sick! I’m 59, work in an elementary school and have seen an increase of kids with cancer/ADD/ADHD, etc. over the years. I personally think the culprit is food.

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Tracie November 28, 2014 at 8:14 am

Diane,

I found this site from searching for the same thing as you! Now I LOVE making my own flavored creamer and I can’t believe I went so many years ingesting so many chemicals for the sake of flavor in my coffee. I totally agree with you on the causes for all the health issues. I am trying to turn around our eating, and I am slowly replacing the ingredients in my pantry. Thanks to this site, I just made 2 side dishes for Thanksgiving yesterday that were a huge hit. I can’t wait to make the pumpkin cheesecake for Christmas too!

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Julie February 19, 2012 at 11:39 am

These are absolutely delicious! Thanks for the recipe. I try to go lower carb, so was a bit nervous about the honey content, until I realized there’s just under a tablespoon of honey per bar, if you cut it into 16…with all that protein it’s not that big a problem. :)

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kate February 21, 2012 at 7:03 am

I made these this weekend with a few variations and YUM. I made mine really thin (35 bars per batch) and they are totally satiating and satisfying. Here’s my take on the recipe: http://type1momma.com/grain-free-homemade-energy-bars/

I am so inspired to get rid of all the processed food in our house and start making my own! Thanks for being such a wonderful resource.

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Doreen February 21, 2012 at 2:38 pm

If though I waited until they were cool, I couldn’t get them to cut into bars. It ended up becoming granola that I could toss into oatmeal or yogurt. Still delicious! I’m just wondering what went wrong.

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Deliciously Organic February 21, 2012 at 4:28 pm

Hmm…I’m not sure what happened. Did you make any ingredient substitutions or alterations? Maybe you baked them a bit too long?

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Nancy February 23, 2012 at 5:55 pm

I made these this weekend, and mine too fell apart. But gosh were they good!! I let them cool all the way but they just didn’t hold together. But honestly, I don’t see how heated honey & butter would hold anything together! Could you add an egg or would that just ruin it? The flavor is awesome as it but I want to be able to cut them into bars, Any suggestions?

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Deliciously Organic February 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm

Did you by any chance make any substitutions? Did you bake or dehydrate? I made these again this weekend to take to a friend and didn’t have any issues with crumbling. You can always add a bit more honey for extra stickiness. Also, when you fold the ingredients, make sure everything is coated with the honey/oil mixture (maybe all of your ingredients didn’t get coated?). When you put them in the pan, press the mixture into the pan. When I cut them, I use a large chefs knife and usually start cutting in the middle. For some reason, starting in the middle makes it easier. Let me know if that helps!

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Nancy February 27, 2012 at 6:42 pm

I made these again this weekend and they still fell apart! And I really pressed them into the pan, using my palm. I’m thinking maybe my oven’s not getting hot enough….I think I will buy a thermometer….

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Deliciously Organic February 28, 2012 at 11:07 am

Is the mixture wet and falling apart, or dry and falling apart? If wet, then it needs to be baked longer. If dry, then it needs to be baked less. Checking the oven temp is a good idea too! I read that if you are having trouble with the granola bars coming apart when cutting, then put them in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to fully set the honey (the honey is the “glue” that holds them together). If it’s humid where you are, this could play a part in your granola not binding. I live in the desert. Lots of dry air here, so my bars bind easily. :)

Here are some other granola recipes that use honey and butter/oil as a binder. Maybe the tips on these can help: http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/granola-bars-recipe/index.html, http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/ina-garten/homemade-granola-bars-recipe/index.html

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Cookin' Canuck February 24, 2012 at 12:58 pm

These sound fantastic, Carrie! We like to have granola bars on hand to grab as a pre- or post-workout snack.

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Jaime {sophistimom} February 25, 2012 at 11:56 am

Mmm, those look perfect, Carrie.

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Karin March 5, 2012 at 6:45 pm

Carrie…these turned out delicious!! We can’t do cashews b/c of Kyle’s allergy but we substituted pecans! They worked perfectly and I let them cool, then stuck them in the refrigerator for about 5 minutes “just in case”….they held together well and I’m just having to limit them so that we can have them around for snacks this week, otherwise they’d be all gone! Thanks for a great snack idea for our GAPS family!

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Justine March 12, 2012 at 1:33 pm

I’ve made these twice and both times, they didn’t stick together very well. The first time, I thought it was because I chopped the cashews and almonds too fine. The second time I made sure they were bigger chunks and it still didn’t keep together. I let them sit for awhile, were completely cool but when I cut them, they just crumbled. Any suggestions? They taste yummy but were messy.

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Deliciously Organic March 13, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Sorry to hear about that! I’ve had many write in and say they were perfect and others say they fell apart. I tested them again, and had a friend that lives in a humid area test them (since I live in the desert) and we both had good results. So, I called the test kitchen “the cooks that tested all of the recipes for my cookbook” and they said the reason granola bars will fall apart is if the mixture isn’t stirred enough. Everything needs to be wet from the butter/honey/vanilla mixture. If some pieces don’t get wet, then they won’t stick together. So, stirring until all of the mixture is wet should do the trick. Does that help?

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Justine March 15, 2012 at 6:05 pm

I’ll give them a better stir next time around. I felt like everything was wet, but who knows?! It could also have been the pan I used…it was one of those flexible, disposable pans. I used that because it was more of the size you had said to use. Will try to fix both of those next time and hopefully get better results! :) Thanks so much.

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Deliciously Organic March 16, 2012 at 8:53 am

Justine – I think the pan might have been the culprit. I bet it was too thin and caused the granola to dry out too much. I always find it so interesting that even the smallest things can change a recipe! :)

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Simply Complex March 21, 2012 at 8:12 pm

I just bought some nuts in bulk from Azure…
Since I don’t want them to go rancid, and I typically soak and dehydrate, I was wondering in what order do I do that if I want to store them in the freezer so that they keep longer. Do I take all of the nuts and soak/dehydrate, then freeze until use? OR, do I have to freeze them, then thaw/soak/dehydrate when I am ready to eat? I don’t want to ruin the integrity of the oils and such and am not sure how to go about this.

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Deliciously Organic March 23, 2012 at 1:01 pm

From my understanding it’s the heat that destroys the oils, not the cold. You can freeze them raw until you are ready to soak and dehydrate. After you dehydrate them, they last a couple months at room temperature.

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Michelle April 7, 2012 at 8:00 am

These turned out perfect! I decreased the honey to 1/2 cup and dehydrated them at 155 F in greased silicone pans. It took awhile in the dehydrator (maybe 8+ hrs?), but once they were done, they cut perfectly, and store really well in the freezer. I gave them to friends and they couldn’t believe how good they tasted…without oats! So I think you may have a few more blog followers after my week of hosting and plugging your recipes :)

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Deliciously Organic April 7, 2012 at 11:51 am

I’m so glad you all enjoyed them! I haven’t stored them in the freezer. Great idea!

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Meredith August 21, 2012 at 9:40 am

I tried these and I waited 1 hour before cutting and they still fell apart. I put them in the fridge and they still crumbled. It is the next day and they are still a sticky mess. Any ideas of what I did wrong?

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Meredith August 21, 2012 at 9:42 am

I read some of the comments above. Maybe they needed to cook longer?

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Anna April 16, 2013 at 6:18 pm

These were SO SO SO good!!! I made a half recipe last night and a day later they are already all gone.

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sue May 27, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Is it possible to substitute flax seed oil for the honey?
Do you think this would hold them together if they were refrigerated?
If yes, how much flax seed oil would you suggest for this recipe?
Thanks…. ~’.’~

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Deliciously Organic May 28, 2013 at 6:03 am

Hi Sue – Flaxseed oil won’t work for this recipe. The honey is needed to hold the bars together.

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sue May 28, 2013 at 7:30 am

Thanks for your reply. I cannot eat most forms of sugar other than what naturally occurs in food. I am searching for a way to make healthy granola bars and need an alternative “glue” to hold them together! Do you think brown rice syrup might work with this recipe? If so…. how much would you suggest I use? Thanks again ~’.’~

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Deliciously Organic May 28, 2013 at 9:06 am

Brown rice syrup should work (1:1 substitution) but I would keep in mind that brown rice syrup can contain high amounts of arsenic. A raw, unfiltered honey has a low glycemic index and might be a better option. If you try it with the brown rice syrup, let me know how it goes! :)

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sue May 28, 2013 at 5:36 pm

I bought a reputable brand of the BRS that is organic and non gmo… but…. I have hesitated to use it because of my concerns about the arsenic issue. I have a great local source for raw, unfiltered honey too… but I have delayed allergic reactions to honey. So I have to find a suitable substitute. I guess I could make the recipe with the BRS and let my husband eat them ~;> I’ll let you know how he likes them! Thanks again :)

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Deliciously Organic May 29, 2013 at 5:26 am

I’m sorry to hear about your allergies. I understand first hand how those can be quite frustrating. Do you have the same reactions to maple syrup? I’m trying to think of another alternative that would work so you could eat these! :)

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sue May 29, 2013 at 5:51 am

Thanks for your understanding and your help.
I cannot have maple syrup either :/
The only “sweetener” that I am not reactive to is stevia and I can tolerate that
in small amounts. What about coconut oil or butter or something coconut??

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Deliciously Organic May 31, 2013 at 5:26 am

Sadly, I don’t think those would be sticky enough. If rice syrup works for you, then I’d use that since it should be sticky enough. Let me know how it goes! :)

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Ornella March 11, 2014 at 9:56 am
Evan May 29, 2013 at 11:58 pm

Are there ANY nuts that you can soak/sprout etc to remove ALL the phytic acid?

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Deliciously Organic May 30, 2013 at 10:03 am

I’m not sure. You might want to check the Weston Price website.

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amy September 3, 2013 at 12:54 pm

so after working on making these for three days I just popped them in the oven for 7 hours only to realize I should have placed parchment paper under them??:(

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Laura September 25, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Made these last night – delicious. So easy to do – I also substituted the honey with rice malt syrup to make it a fructose free recipe :) Still works a treat.

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Michelle November 5, 2013 at 3:11 pm

Do you have nutrition facts for these? What would the calories, fat, sugar be?

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Deliciously Organic November 6, 2013 at 8:57 am

I don’t, but there is cooking software out there where you can enter the recipe and get all of the nutrition facts.

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Amanda December 8, 2013 at 9:56 pm

Can the shredded coconut be raw or should it be dried? I purchased raw organic shredded coconut- wondering if this will work! Thanks in advance!

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Deliciously Organic December 10, 2013 at 12:45 pm

I’ve never used raw, but I think it would work nicely.

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