Amazing, 3-ingredient granola bars that are grain-free, vegan, a cinch to make, and have endless options for variation! I even have an easy keto-friendly option.
I am who I am because of granola bars.
Really, I’m serious. Granola bars have fueled me, and my various activities, all my life. Portable food is definitely my thing.
I am not opposed to buying granola bars, but I especially like to make them from scratch. Call me picky. And frugal. Whimsical, too; I like adding a bit of chocolate one day, lemon and ginger the next, and a crazy mix of everything when I am in the mood for, well, everything.
I’ve conjured a new granola bar recipe, fit for styling any which way you like. If you are picky, frugal, and whimsical about your cooking, baking and eating, too, I think you’ll love it as much as I do.
It’s my 3-Ingredient Grain-Free Granola Bars.
These bars are:
*Low-sugar (sweetened with 2 tablespoons maple syrup)
*A perfect balance of crunchy & chewy
I also have a simple adaptation in the recipe notes for making the bars keto-friendly.
The bars begin with 3 basic ingredients: 1 cup blanched almond flour, 1/3 cup pepitas (green pumpkin seeds), and 2 tablespoons maple syrup. I added a small amount of salt, too, but it is always optional.
To maximize the flavor and crunch in these minimalist bars, it is important to toast the pepitas. Don’t worry, it literally takes seconds to complete this step.
Heat a large skillet (I recommend cast iron, if you have it) over medium-high heat. Add the pepitas and immediately shake the pan. Within 30 seconds (or less) the pepitas will begin to brown at the edges. They will also puff up and make a popping sound; the two halves of the pepitas are pulling apart, which makes for a texture similar to toasted oats (but better!) in the bars.
Immediately transfer the pepitas to a bowl or plate to stop the cooking and cool.
In a medium bowl, stir together the almond flour and maple syrup (salt, too, if you are using it). The batter will be very stiff and sticky; keep stirring (or use your fingers). Trust me, it comes together! Now add the pepitas, mixing until they are incorporated.
Press the dough into a 9×5-inch loaf pan (lined with parchment paper, for easy removal) and bake in a 325F oven for 17 to 20 minutes until the edges of the bars are golden brown.
That’s it! Just be careful about overbaking: the centers will be very light brown and will still look soft after 17-20 minutes, but the bars are ready! The centers will become firmer as the bars cool. Remove the bars from the pan (using the parchment paper) and cool completely before cutting into bars.
The bars are faintly sweet, crispy at the edges, and chewy once completely cooled.
Consider this your granola bar template. Add dried fruit, try other toasted seeds and nuts in combination (or as a replacement) for the pepitas, spice or zest things up with cinnamon, ginger, or citrus zests, or take a turn towards chocolate with chocolate or cacao nibs in the dough (or a drizzle of melted chocolate on top). The world is your granola bar.
It should go without saying, but I will say it anyway: these bars are great on the go, whether for breakfast on the run or for fuel before or after a run.
It is so easy to make a batch, you’ll undoubtedly want to share the bars with friends, too!
- ⅓ cup raw pepitas
- 1 cup blanched almond flour
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt (optional, use more or less to taste)
- Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper; spray or greased exposed sides.
- Heat a large skillet over medium high heat (I used cast iron) for 2 to 3 minutes until hot. Add the pepitas; shake the pan for 30 to 90 seconds until the pepitas begin to turn brown at the edges, puff up, and make a popping sound. Immediately transfer to a bowl to cool.
- In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour, maple syrup and (optional) salt, stirring until combined (it will be very stiff--keep stirring!). Mix in the cooled pepitas (I used my fingers).
- Press the dough evenly into he prepared pan.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 17 to 20 minutes until golden brown at edges (the center area will still look somewhat soft; it will harden as it cools).
- Transfer to a cooling rack and cool 10 minutes. Use the parchment paper liner to remove from pan; cool completely on rack.
- Cut into 6 equal bars.
Keto Option: Prepare as directed but replace the maple syrup with 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil and 2 tablespoons of keto-friendly granulated sweetener.