It’s the night before the first day of school. My two oldest sprouts are heading back to school with mixed feelings about their teachers, classes and another year of hard work. I’m feeling the pressure of another year of healthy, homemade lunches and snacks. I don’t know who is more nervous, me or them!
Over the last week, I’ve been working hard on some back to school snacks and treats, and I’ve come up with a few keepers. This gluten free granola bar recipe is so simple to make – it takes only 15 minutes! It is full of oats, seeds and dried currants, and packs a flavor that my kiddos love. Best of all, it is sweetened only with dried dates, and a bit of honey – no refined sugars in sight!
If you’re new to packing your kids a healthy, homemade lunch, these granola bars are a great place to begin. The ingredients are all easy to find in the supermarket, and with the help of a food processor or blender, this recipe easy to prepare. It is perfect for the classroom as it is nut free, and it is easily made gluten free by using certified GF oats in place of regular oats!
Wishing everyone a happy back to school week!
15 Minute Gluten Free Granola Bars
Prep. time: 15 minutes
Inactive time: 1 hour
Makes 12 granola bars
1/2 cup dried mejool dates (about eight), pitted
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup unpasteurized honey
2 teaspoons pure vanilla
1 cup quick cooking GF oats
1/2 cup roasted pumpkin seeds
1/2 cup roasted sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dried currants, raisins, or cranberries
1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (use only 1/4 tsp. if your seeds are already salted; 1/2 tsp. if they aren’t)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1. Pit and halve the mejool dates. If they are very dry, soak them in hot water for several minutes to soften them up.
2. Place the dates, coconut oil and honey in a medium sauce pan and bring to a gentle simmer over medium low heat. Let simmer for five minutes.
3. Then add the date mixture to a food processor or blender and add the vanilla. Pulse several times to puree the dates.
4, Either in the bowl of the food processor, or in a separate bowl, combine the oats pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, currants, salt and cinnamon.
5. Pulse several more times, or stir well to combine.
6. Place the mixture in a parchment lined 9″ x 9″ (22 cm x 22 cm) square baking dish, and press down well with a spatula or another piece of parchment.
7. Chill for approximately an hour and then lift out of the pan and onto a cutting board. Cut into 12 granola bar shaped pieces.
8. Place in snack-sized resealable bags or wrap each bar in parchment for easy packing.
This post has also appeared on Nourishing Joy’s, Thank Goodness It’s Monday # 88.