One of the all-time most popular posts on this blog is the Homemade Granola Bar Recipe. But for over a year now, I’ve been avoiding grains in favor of more nutrient-dense foods. An oat-filled granola bar isn’t going to do me any favors now that I’m grain-free.
Enter: The grain-free granola bar. I took my original recipe and changed it up to reflect my current diet — less sugar, more nuts, no grains. Here you go! (And don’t worry — I’m putting the whole recipe at the bottom, in case you just want to print the recipe.)
Start with 2.5 cups of assorted nuts and seeds. I used what I had — pepitas (shelled pumpkin seeds), almonds, walnuts, and pecans.
Scoop out 1 cup of the nuts, and give them a rough chop.
Dump the other 1.5 cups of nuts into your food processor, and pulse until they’re chopped much, much smaller. Be careful not to pulse too much or you might end up with nut butter! We’re just aiming for a variety of sizes of nut pieces. The smaller bits help make the bars more dense and help them stick together better.
Stir to combine with the larger chunks of nuts and seeds.
Add 1 cup of dried fruit. Again, I’m just using what I had — only raisins. You can use dried cranberries, cherries, dates, pineapple, or any combination of your favorites.
Add 2 cups of shredded coconut. This is NOT the sticky sweet coconut you can buy in most grocery store baking aisles. This is only shredded and dried — pure coconut. I’ll be doing another post on this soon, so look out for that!
In a small saucepan, combine 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup honey, a splash of vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and a generous sprinkling of cinnamon. Then some more cinnamon. Cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until it starts to bubble like this. Then remove the pot from the burner.
Pour your honey mixture over your fruit and nuts, and stir to coat it all. At this stage it reminds me of wet playground sand.
Dump your fruit and nuts into a parchment-paper-lined baking dish (This one is 9×13”). Mine has curved edges, which I’ll talk about later… if you have one with straight edges, like a bar pan, that might be better. Next time I’ll be using my bar pan for sure.
I’ve also thought about using mini-muffin tins to make granola bar “bites” instead of bars.
With another sheet of parchment (just so you don’t get your hands sticky), press FIRMLY all over the granola. A lot. You really need to pack the ingredients tightly so that your bars will stick together. When you think you’ve pressed enough, keep pressing.
When you’re finally done squishing everything, it’ll look something like this. Now you have to wait. Wait at least 2-3 hours for it to cool at room temperature, or if you’re more impatient, you could put it in the fridge or freezer. (I froze mine while we ate dinner.)
When it’s cool, lift the whole shebang out of the pan and put it on a large cutting board. See what happened here because of the curved edges of my pan? My bar is thinner on the edges than in the middle… this makes the edges crumble when I cut them. Not a huge deal, but I’d prefer if that didn’t happen… so next time I’ll either try my bar pan or muffin tins.
Cut the whole thing lengthwise with a sharp knife. I find that pressing straight down with the knife works better than sawing or rocking with the knife. It gives less trauma to the granola, so the bars can stay intact!
After you cut it lengthwise, cut each rectangle horizontally into as many bars as you’d like.
And here they are! Packed full of coconut, nuts, and raisins. Nicely sweet (but not super-sweet like the other recipe), satisfying, chewy… so delicious!
Note: If you want your bars to be crunchier, cook your honey mixture a bit longer before mixing it into your fruit and nuts.
Grain-Free Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Granola Bar Recipe
You will need:
- 2.5 cups assorted nuts and seeds
- 1 cup dried fruit
- 2 cups shredded coconut
- 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 1/2 cup honey
- splash of vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- generous sprinkle of cinnamon
- some more cinnamon
Roughly chop 1 cup of the nuts and seeds. Place in a bowl.
Use your food processor to pulse the other 1.5 cups of nuts and seeds into a finer “chop.” Add to the bowl.
Add your fruit.
Stir in the dried coconut.
In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine oil, honey, vanilla, salt, and cinnamon. Cook until the mixture bubbles, then pour over the fruit/nut mixture.
Stir to combine completely.
Press your mixture into a parchment-lined pan of some sort. Press HARD.
Cool 2-3 hours, then remove from the pan and cut into bars.