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.

Print
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. 

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • 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.

new year’s Q&A

 

Since it’s the new year and I’ve had many new readers join me here, I thought it would be fun to share more about me and why I started eating a plant-based diet plus I’ll answer a few of the questions I get asked most often.

Before we dive into that, if you missed it last week and are looking to refresh your diet this year, you won’t want to miss what I shared in this post.

 

All right, now for the Q&A…

How long have you been eating a plant-based diet? Since May 2012

What caused you to make the switch? My dad was diagnosed with extensive heart disease. We were all shocked, although we shouldn’t have been given his family history. He was hoping to avoid surgery by going to an extremely low fat, plant-based diet and I wanted to support him. Also, my own cholesterol numbers weren’t the greatest – a fact I’d chosen to ignore since my 20’s. Although my dad ultimately needed surgery because of the severity of his blockages, I found that I loved eating this way and never looked back!

Why do you love it? I feel so much healthier – less fatigued, lighter (I literally lost weight), natural color came back to my skin and I find I appreciate the taste of food more now that I don’t have animal fats coating my taste buds.

Does your family eat this way? Sort of. They definitely eat a larger percentage of plant-based foods and meals, but also have meat and dairy several times a week. As much as I’d love them to go “all in,” I’ve learned that I can’t force it and try to do my best to make plant-based recipes they enjoy.

Does that mean you’re cooking two meals for every meal? Not at all! That would be exhausting. LOL I may do this occasionally, but most of the time I can cook meals that are easily customized to our tastes (like pizza) or I just “beef up” on the veggies while they have meat.

Why the term plant-based? This can be tricky. While “vegan” is the simpler and more common term, it often implies a lifestyle, not just a diet choice. I made this choice for my health and not as an animal rights activist, although I feel strongly that our food system is incredibly broken, especially in how it treats animals designated for food.

So do you only eat plants 100% of the time? No. I’d be lying if I said 100%. It’s more like 98-99%. Occasionally, I will have a bit of meat, especially if I’m on a mission trip, or can’t resist the goldfish crackers my children love. LOL Since I do this for my health, I’m not opposed to the rare bite of non-vegan foods.

 

What’s the hardest thing about sticking to a plant-based diet? Social situations. I believe eating is as much a social thing as it is about staying alive, so for anyone who switches to a diet that is largely different than what others are eating, it can feel awkward and frustrating. Thankfully, there are several ways to navigate these social situations (e.g. restaurants, potlucks, friend/family dinners etc.) and it’s even opened up opportunities to share about the benefits of plant-based eating with others.

What’s your number one tip for going plant-based? Stick with it. Making a change in diet is tough and it can take awhile for your taste buds to adjust and to find recipes you genuinely love to eat. For the first three months of going plant-based, I had to re-learn how to cook and was brought to tears many times out of frustration. But I found that because I felt so much better, I was motivated to keep going and finally got my groove back in the kitchen.

 

 

ready for a refresh? you’ll want this 7-day plant-based meal plan!

 

Can you believe it’s almost the new year?!!

It’s funny, but I almost wish this time between Christmas and New Year’s was a little bit longer. I love reflecting on the past year and thinking about the one ahead. Do you?

If kicking off 2018 with a renewed commitment to eat healthier is something that’s been in your mind (or if you just want your meals planned out for an entire week #wink), then I have just the thing for you…a seven day plant-based meal plan!

I’ve gathered some of my favorite recipes into a downloadable recipe book that will give you breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for seven days. The apple cabbage slaw is one of the recipes featured in the recipe book and is from my Perk Up Your Pantry – Fall edition recipe ebook. I’ve also included a suggested meal plan chart so you can see how I recommend pulling these together along with several of my meal planning and prepping tips.

You can start this seven day refresh on any day of the week, but, personally, I recommend starting on a Monday.

Why?

  • As the start of the typical work week we’re already in the “fresh start” mindset, similar to what happens at the beginning of every new year and we can harness that anticipation to fuel our motivation.
  • Having a set routine (which our work weeks are better at providing than our weekends), is helpful when starting something new. That way you’re not having to use up as much mental energy to figure out how a new(ish) eating plan will fit with your day.
  • It gives you an entire week to build up success before the weekend hits where there may be more temptations to go off-plan.
  • You have the weekend before you start to do your prepping which is essential to staying on track, especially if you work.

Ready to start? Click this link to sign up to receive your free seven day plant-based meal plan and recipe book delivered straight to your inbox.