Nut-Free Chewy Granola Bars

Nut-Free Chewy Granola Bars

The kids are back in school! I mostly mean your kids, since I only have one kid that is school-age, and by school-age I really mean pre-kindergarten age πŸ˜‰ Anyway, it’s September and that means people are looking for back-to-school snacks that are easy to make, nutritious, and won’t end up in the garbage can at school (not that I EVER did that….I’m talking to you, bologna sandwich).

I know a lot of schools have nut-free policies, which makes the homemade treat game a bit trickier. Most of the granola bar recipes I’ve come to know and love incorporate some sort of nut butter as a binding agent, or else they’re loaded with tons of butter and sugar. It has taken me quite a few crumbly messes in the kitchen and a LOT of granola-bar-fail-turned-granola eating to nail down a recipe that fits all of my criteria. I’m happy to report I’ve got a winner. These granola bars check all of the boxes!

-nut-free

-free of refined sugars (if you don’t count the chocolate chips)

-no-bake and EASY to make

-they stay together and don’t crumble apart

-chewy!!!

-freezer friendly

-delicious and totally customizable

-my kids eat them!!

I’m so happy with these bars! They have the texture of a store-bought granola bar, but without all of the junk. I’m already imagining all sorts of mix-ins I can add to switch these up to keep them interesting for the boys.Β 

Nut-Free Chewy Granola BarsΒ Nut-Free Chewy Granola Bars

The magic of medjool dates is what keeps these bars soft and chewy, and a mixture of pumpkin seed butter with honey creates a nice, sweet binding agent. Pumpkin seed butter on its own isn’t my favourite, but mixed with honey it’s delicious!

After mixing all of the ingredients together, you will need to use a fair bit of muscle to disperse the dates into the granola. I use a large wooden spoon! When you pack the mixture into the baking pan, pack it WELL. I use a lot of force to press it all down! This will ensure the bars keep together.

Nut-Free Chewy Granola Bars

I don’t know how it is where you live, but here it is COLD and rainy. It’s been gloomy for what feels like forever and I’m missing the sun and summer! I feel like we’re getting cheated out of one of my favourite times of year!

I’m looking forward to feeling the sun on my face again, and the crunch of the leaves under my feet. I see some warmer days in the forecast for next week, so for now I’ll hunker down with another cup of coffee and one of these granola bars!

Nut-Free Chewy Granola Bars

Prep

Total

Yield 12 bars

Soft and chewy nut-free granola bars that are safe to take to school, free of refined sugars and ACTUALLY delicious! They're also no bake and totally customizable.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 tbsp. wheat germ (or flax)
  • 1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds
  • 1 cup packed medjool dates, pitted (8 or 9)
  • 2 tbsp. chia seeds
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 cup honey (or agave)
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seed butter
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Spread out the rolled oats and wheat germ. Place in the oven for 15 minutes to lightly toast the oats.
  2. While the oats are toasting, place the dates in a food processor and pulse until a soft ball is formed.Β 
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the chia seeds, cinnamon and oats/wheat germ.Β In another bowl, add the honey and pumpkin seed butter and microwave for 30 seconds, stirring until smooth.Β 
  4. Use a large wooden spoon to mix the dates into the dry ingredients, then add the honey/pumpkin seed butter. Stir together until everything is mixed together and then add the dried cranberries and chocolate chips.Β 
  5. Line an 8x8 baking dish with parchment paper, then empty the granola mixture into it. Using a spatula or wet hands, pack the mixture downΒ firmly into the dish. Make sure you use a lot of force to pack it all down, as this will keep the bars together. Place the dish in the refrigerator for at least 6 hours before removing the bars from the pan and cutting into 12 equal pieces.

Keep the bars in an airtight container on the counter for 1 week, or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks The bars can also be stored in the freezer for up to 2 months.

 

Soft and chewy nut-free granola bars that are safe to take to school, free of refined sugars and ACTUALLY delicious! They're also no bake and totally customizable.
 

32 Comments

  1. Love your yummy chewy bars! Looks so delish and healthy! Pinning!

  2. Will gladly take some to work ! Thank you Katherine !

  3. I’m glad I grew up before the nut-free policies! Peanut butter crackers were all I’d ever eat for lunch :). But I’d totally go for a few of these for lunch today! They sound delicious! Have a great weekend, Katherine!

  4. So interesting about the nut-free policies. I don’t remember anything like that growing up, but I totally get it. Some nut allergies are so severe!

    These chewy granola bars look just perfect, Katherine! Love that they’re chewy, delicious and portable! The perfect snack!

  5. crumbtopbaking

    I’m a huge fan of healthy snacks, and anything with dates has my attention! Love how chewy these look Katherine! I definitely need to give these a try soon!

  6. My kids have been back in school for a month and a half but I’m always looking for tasty snacks! They would absolutely love these — and so would I. πŸ™‚

  7. These granola bars look SO very delicious and chewy! πŸ˜€ I love all of the healthy ingredients and that you made them nut-free!!

  8. These look awesome, Katherine!! You’re so right about pressing down – it’s key! They look jam packed with goodness and I can see why they go over so well – they wouldn’t last long in our home πŸ™‚ I bet they’re nice and filling too so they would be perfect for b fast with a piece of cheese….and coffee, of course! Hope all is well with you! XO

  9. these granola bars are awesome! you can bet i’ll be making them, even in the absence of school-aged kids (;

  10. I love that these are nut free AND have dates in them!! A healthy treat that I can make for my stepson that I can put in his lunch all week long! Yay!!

  11. Ben|Havocinthekitchen

    It’s obviously that any homemade granola bar will be 99% better (at least healthier) than store-bought. But I can say this recipe is much better than most of recipes for homemade bars I’ve seen! Love the use of pumpkin seed butter (Although not sure if they don’t qualify as nuts. Probably, they don’t cause allergic reactions?), seeds, and honey. Yum! Can we pretend I’m going to school again so you would ship me these lunches? πŸ˜‰

  12. This looks fabulous katherine…am so gald to read your post and love your photography as well. i will definitely make this bars in few days later..Thanks for sharing…!

  13. I’m always looking for new granola bar recipes Katherine! These look delicious! Perfect for road trips this fall!

  14. Katherine, I love these granola bars, and being nut free, it is so perfect to share and make for family and friends with allergies. Also absolutely loving the dates….my favorite. This I have to try, my boys will go crazy for these granola bars as well. Thank you for sharing, have a great week πŸ™‚

  15. Gonna make this soon Kathy!! So love such recipes:)

  16. haha I’m with ya on the bologna sandwich, my mom always made me go to school with one of those as well! LOL These granola bars sound wonderful, love that they are chewy too! I’m not a big fan of dry, crunchy ones so I’d opt for a protein bar instead because so many granola bars are way too dry. The first time I made them they turned out horribly, I didn’t use anything to bind them together (I was inexperienced with baking and didn’t want to use corn syrup) so they fell apart haha Love the chia seeds and nut butter in these …and the honey, too! Gives them a natural sweetness without loads of sugar. Do you think I could use maple syrup instead? I try to limit my honey as it gives me gut issues but I love it so much! Delicious creation, Katherine! Can’t wait to try them πŸ˜€

Let's talk!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.