blueberry banana bread bars (vegan, no added sugar)

 

I love hard-working recipes – especially ones that can work as breakfast, dessert or a snack! And these blueberry banana bread bars are perfect for all three.

I have a particular soft spot for these since it’s one of the first recipes I tried (thanks to the inspiration of Angela’s muffin tops recipe at Oh She Glows) that didn’t require any added sugar. And didn’t end up a yucky gummy mess which can happen when you remove the dairy and the added sugar.

These blueberry banana bread bars are just one of the recipes featured in my 7-day plant-based refresh which you can sign up to receive for free here.

Not only do these offer a delicious way to use overripe bananas, but they are easy to make and can be made gluten free by using certified gluten free oats. Since they’re crowd pleasers, I’ve often brought them to potlucks and brunches.

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Blueberry Banana Bread Bars
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A versatile recipe that can be eaten as breakfast, dessert or a snack and is crowd-pleaser. Free of added sugar and can be made gluten free with the use of gluten-free oats.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1/2 c. date paste
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 2 c. rolled oats gluten free if needed
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2-1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

  2. Add bananas, date paste and coconut oil to a food processor and blend well.
  3. Add the oats, coconut, vanilla, cinnamon and baking powder and blend well.
  4. Press mixture into a greased 8×8 glass baking dish, then top with blueberries, gently pressing the berries into the batter.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and the middle is firm, but yields slightly to the touch.

  6. Cool then cut.
Recipe Notes

If doubling the recipe, you will probably need to break up the steps further. Here’s what I do: First, coarsely blend all the oats and set aside in a large bowl. Then blend other ingredients per instructions above (without the oats). Next, stir the blended ingredients together with the oats in a large bowl. Continue with steps 4-6. I think this recipe works best with ripe to slightly overripe bananas.      *     If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. 

 

 

 

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  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut: If you have a Whole Foods or natural foods store near by, check the bulk section! Or get it here.

vegan oatmeal cookies, fruit-sweetened (gluten-free option)

100_9170As I shared before I left on a mission trip to the Dominican Republic, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel when I returned…if the work I was doing before would mean all that much after working to provide a home for a family.

And though I am finding it hard to be back (and not just because of the snow and the cold), I am realizing that the work the Lord has for me to do here does matter…just in a different way. I’m grateful for the work I do have here and it’s keeping me moving forward instead of stuck with longing to return.

Before getting down to business, though, I want to share a couple pictures from the trip to capture the change God wrought for a family. The one on the left is of the one-room home they lived in, smaller than many garages in North America and devoid of running water. The photo on the right is of the family in front of the home we helped build complete with a full bathroom and separate bedrooms and living spaces. What’s hard to capture on “film” or in words, though, is the joy and excitement the family and team felt over this move to a new home.

vargas family houseAnd if I lived in the neighborhood, I might welcome these new neighbors with a batch of cookies. But since I’m here and they’re there, I will do the next best thing and share one of my favorite cookie recipes with you.

oatmeal cookie recipe The inspiration for this recipe came from here at Oh She Glows. I had almost given up on oatmeal cookies because it’s hard to approximate the buttery, butterscotch undertones when eliminating butter and brown sugar. It was a joy to discover that toasted pecans are an excellent substitute.

Because I have substituted fruit sweeteners and date paste for the sugars, these cookies have a different taste and texture from the traditional oatmeal cookie, but that doesn’t stop them from disappearing when served to a crowd! Also, feel free to add in your favorite mix-ins (raw cacoa nibs can sub for dairy-free chocolate chips if you want to keep the cookies sugar free).

CLICK HERE TO PRINT A PDF of the vegan oatmeal cookie recipe

vegan oatmeal cookies, fruit-sweetened

Prep Time: 15-20 minutes

Cook Time: 20-24 minutes

Yield: approximately 2 dozen cookies

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 c. pecans
  • 1/2 c. walnuts
  • 2 c. oats, gluten free if needed
  • 3/4 c. date paste
  • 1/4 c. coconut flour
  • 1/2 c. brown rice flour
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 2 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • 1/2 – 3/4 c. mix-ins, if using
  • 1/4 c. white grape juice concentrate
  • 1/4 c. apple juice concentrate
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 2 tsp. vanilla

Mix-in Suggestions

  • Dairy-free chocolate chips (if you don’t mind adding in a little sugar)
  • Raw cacao nibs
  • Unsweetened dried coconut
  • Raisins
  • Unsweetened dried cherries
  • Apple-juice sweetened dried cranberries

Instructions

Heat oven to 275 degrees Fahrenheit.

Lightly toast pecans and walnuts (see this post for a tip on toasting nuts), then combine with oats and date paste in a food processor. Blend until the nuts, oats and dates resemble a coarse crumb, then pour into a large mixing bowl.

Add flours, baking soda, cinnamon and stevia to the bowl and stir until thoroughly combined.

In a small saucepan, warm the juice concentrates, oil and vanilla until the oil melts then add to the dry ingredients with any mix-ins you’d like to add. Stir to combine and the mixture holds together when pressed between your fingers.

To form cookies, roll into a ball in your hands, then gently press flat onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. The cookies don’t spread, so you can place them close together.

Bake for 20-24 minutes or until the bottoms are lightly browned. Cool at least 10-15 minutes before removing from pan to help the cookies set. Store in an airtight container.

Recipe Notes

You can use all pecans if you’d like, but I toss in some walnuts because they are a little cheaper, but it’s best to have mostly pecans because of the butter undertones they provide.

You can use all brown rice flour or any combination of your favorite flour, though the texture may vary. I like adding in the coconut flour because of the additional sweetness it provides.

If you have a hard time find white grape juice concentrate like I do, see this post for making your own fruit juice concentrates.

I bought my stevia at Trader Joe’s and it comes with its own scoop. Be sure the stevia you are using is 100% pure as many stevia products have additives and other sweeteners included in the ingredients.

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