Quick & Easy Baked Granola Energy Bars (vegan, gluten-free)

These bars are one of our go-to recipes each week. Seriously, guys—I make them almost every Saturday morning, cut them up and then we have breakfast to go for the rest of the week.

Sam is a gym teacher so he needs a quick, easy energy source that can last through three hours of running around with kids until he gets a lunch break. I’m more of a fruit and coffee girl, most mornings, but some days fruit and coffee just ain’t gonna cut it. You know?

These bars are really simple, and totally customizable. Some weeks we throw in chocolate chips, some weeks they have cashews, coconut….Currently we’re in LOVE with Costco’s dried sour cherries, and so I put those in the bars, but for a while we used Craisins (not raisins though, because—ew!).

These bars have about 250 calories, by my estimate (I’m a runner, Jim, not a nutritionist) and they can be made vegan, as well as gluten-free—but watch your ingredients to make sure that there’s nothing that sneaks in there.

Sooooo, without further ado, let’s present:

Quick & Easy Baked Granola Energy Bars (vegan, gluten-free)

Preheat oven to 350.


Base: Combine 2 cups of Oats with 1 cup of crisp-rice cereal (watch for GF if you are concerned), ½ cup Chia Seeds.

Lovin’ me some add-ins
Add-ins: Add dried ½ cup dried fruit, ¼ cup seeds, ¼ cup shredded coconut (basically your add-ins should equal a cup total). I add 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tsp salt and 1 tsp vanilla.

Soak: Soak it all in 1½ cup of hot water (not boiling, but warm) for about five minutes

Dates...& more? (Not sure what the more is).

Dates: My friend brought me these awesome dates from Israel! They are amazing, but if you don’t have such an awesome friend, then you can use medjool or kinneret dates, just as long as they’re pitted. Soak 4 of them in ½ cup of hot water (just enough to cover) and then puree them in your blender until it becomes a frothy, sticky liquid.

Mmmm sticky dates….
Heat: On medium heat in a saucepan, heat the date puree, ½ cup of brown rice syrup (you can use maple or honey too), 1 tablespoon of coconut oil, ¼ cup peanut butter and 1 tbsp of brown sugar (if you like) together on the stove top. Stir until it’s smooth, 5 minutes.

Stir it up…little darlin’
Combine: Mix heated liquid with oatmeal mixture, and stir. Mixture will be the consistency of sticky cookie dough.

Cookies for breakfast? Don’t mind if I do.
Press: Pour mixture into greased glass cake pan and press in the pan 1 inch thick. Bake for 20 minutes at 350. Remove, cool, and cut into bars. Makes 12 generous bars. Refrigerate and store in an airtight container for grab-and-go yumminess!

Try to resist the begging stares of your hungry pugs.

Cooking with pugs
My other kitchen helper, Tatanka
Final product: