Vegan Banana Bread Bars (GF + Oil-Free)

food

As I continue with my journey to lower my gluten intake to ease GI discomfort, I find that my favorite carb alternative is oats. Many health gurus or bloggers utilize almond and coconut flour, but as a college student, I prefer to ball on a budget and almond and coconut flour do not come cheap! Oats on the other hand are extremely cheap whether you buy in bulk or pre-packaged, I can purchase rolled oats for about 80 cents to 1 dollar per pound.

I’ve baked several desserts and snacks using oat flour, but still struggle to process the oats into a fine flour, which is fine with me because I do enjoy the texture of the bigger oat granules in the desserts. However, I would like to make really fine oat flour so that I can experiment making yeast breads or other savory recipes. If anyone has tips on processing fine oat flour please let me know! It seems that no matter how long I process the oats, they do not turn into a fine flour.

Nonetheless, I am here today to introduce one of my new favorite recipes, Banana Bread Bars!! So healthy and delicious, and I could go on forever about how great these gems are. The best part is that these were made entirely in a food processor, but if you don’t have a food processor, feel free to do it by hand or use a blender. I did make them into bite size bars but feel free to bake it in a loaf pan… I just wanted to reduce the bake time from 55 minutes to 30.

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Vegan Banana Bread Bars

yield: 12 bars

Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe medium bananas
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar (any sugar will work: granulated white sugar, cane sugar, coconut sugar, etc.)
  • 2 1/2 c. rolled oats
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 c. nut/seed butter (I used peanut butter and could not taste the peanut flavor at all)
  • 2 tbsp. ground flax/chia seeds + 1/3 c. water
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tsp. lemon juice or other acidic
  • 1/3 c. chocolate chips
  • 1/4 c. chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Spray a 9 x 9 baking pan and set aside.
  2. Combine flax/chia and water to make a vegan egg. Set aside for at least 2 min.
  3. Place 2 c. of rolled oats in the food process and process for 45 seconds, until the oat flour forms. It does not need to be finely ground. Pour into a bowl and set aside. Set aside the other 1/2 c. of oats for later use.
  4. Place the ripe bananas in the food processor and process until smooth. Add in the granulated sugar, oat flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nut butter, chia/flax mix, vanilla extract, and lemon juice. Process mix until fully combined. Add in chocolate chips, chopped walnuts, and 1/2 c. rolled oats and pulse for 5-10 seconds until mix is combined.
  5. Pour into the baking pan and bake for 30-35 minutes.
  6. Once removed from oven, cool on a cooling rack for about 10 minutes before serving.

Note: I do not have a huge sweet tooth and prefer that my desserts are on the less sugary side. In the recipe, I use 1/4 c. sugar and felt that the chocolate chips would make up for the rest of the sugar. I tested this recipe using 1/3 c. of sugar and felt it was too sugary for me but please feel free to adjust your own sugar levels based on your liking! For reference, using 1/3 c. of sugar felt like eating a store-bought vanilla cupcake. There is so much sweetness from the bananas and chocolate chips that I felt 1/4 c. would suffice.

These bars are ideal for breakfast or as a snack! It is basically a banana oatmeal baked into a square and contains ingredients that help lower cholesterol, blood levels, and saturated fat intake. Bars can last up to 2 weeks in an air tight container in the fridge.

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