I am so excited to introduce you to a friend and guest to the blog. We met each other in University and although we live in separate cities, we have always stayed connect because of our shared values and (of course) love for food. So without further delay, here is Jill Theissen.
I’m Jill Thiessen, mom of 2 boys with another little fast on her way. I have a B Sc. In Biology and my 200 hr YTT certification in Ashtanga Yoga. I have a passion for hunting down healthy, mostly plant-based recipes, that my picky eaters can enjoy. I also love turning our favourite recipes into more functionally nutritional ones without losing the fun or the flavour. A passion for biochemistry and metabolism has led me to focus on research-based ways to improve the eating habits of my family, while being a busy mom of energetic boys has taught me to achieve this while being mindful of a tight schedule and the restrictive diets of picky eaters. I’m hoping to share some of the recipes we reach for weekly in our family with you to help you do the same!
No Bake Gluten-Free and Plant-Based Granola Bar Recipe
For a very long time I went about the struggle of finding a healthy plant-based granola bar recipe to purchase. A few bars came and went, but they were overly expensive and frankly nothing I found were all that great. The biggest struggle was finding a recipe that didn’t have a ton of added sugar in it so I never felt comfortable feeding them to my kids on a regular basis. After searching for a while I finally found this super easy recipe that chills in the freezer to set. Nothing crazy is required and you can personalize it with whatever you have in your pantry. These bars are high in fibre, plant-based proteins, healthy fats, and many other nutrients. The best part is that kids love them!
Time to prepare: 10 minutes
Time to set: 1-3 hours
What you will need: Medium sized bowl, parchment paper and an 8×8 inch pan
2 heaping cups of Gluten Free Rolled Oats
1/2 cup plus 2 Tablespoons of Maple Syrup
1/2 cup of Peanut Butter (or almond butter)*
4 1/2 Tablespoons of Almond Flour OR Oat Flour
1/2 teaspoon of Pink Sea Salt
1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract
2 teaspoons of Cinnamon (optional)
For this portion of the recipe you can use as many or as few of the following ingredients as you wish. I typically use the top four ingredients because it is what we have on hand.
3/4 cup of Pumpkin Seeds
1/4 of Vegan Chocolate Chips**
2 Tablespoons of Hemp Seeds
2 Tablespoons of Chia Seeds
1/4 cup of chopped Dates or other dried fruits
2 Tablespoons of Sesame Seeds
2 Tablespoons of Sunflower Seeds
2 Tablespoons of Seeds or ingredients of your choice!
1. Cut two strips of parchment paper each as wide as your pan and lay them across one another. Make sure that one sheets goes up further than the pan on each side so that you can lift the granola bars out of the pan easily once they have set.
2. Place the Maple Syrup and the Nut Butter in a sauce pan to heat. Option here to place them in your bowl and heat them together in the microwave until melted (about 40 seconds).
3. Take the mixture out of the pan and place in a bowl, or remove from the microwave. With a whisk, stir to make sure that your butter and syrup have made an evenly distributed mixture. Let cool.
4. Add your Oats, Flour, Salt, Vanilla, and Cinnamon to the mixture. At this point you might want to switch to a spatula or mixing spoon.
5. Add in your healthy additions. Have fun with this part and make sure to make it yours. Stir until just evenly incorporated.
6. Place your (somewhat sticky) mixture into the prepared pan. Use a spoon or the bottom of a glass to press down making sure to compact the mixture evenly. The more firmly you compact the granola bars the easier they are to grab and take with you (e.g. hockey games, the gym, etc.).
7. Cover, and place pan in the freezer for a minimum of 1 hour but preferably 3-5 hours.
8. Take the pan out of the freezer (it will be cold if you are using a metal pan, so be careful!). Using the handles you created at the beginning of the recipe, grab and remove the parchment and granola bars from the pan and place on a flat surface. Cut into squares or rectangles with a knife.
9. Store in the fridge (separated by parchment paper if preferred) for up to one week.
10. Eat and Enjoy regularly!
*Make sure you are using a nut butter that has no added sugar or other ingredients in it if you are attempting to keep the refined sugar out of the recipe.
**If you aren’t concerned about dairy at all you can use whatever chocolate chips you like. A great option to limit sugar intake is to go for either dark chocolate chips or (my personal favourite) cocoa nibs. Make sure that your mixture is cool enough if you are using chocolate chips or they will melt when they hit the hot syrup and butter.