You’d never believe that these soft and chewy strawberry banana oat bars are vegan, gluten-free, refined sugar-free, and made without any butter or oil! The perfect healthy breakfast or snack!
For the strawberry chia jam:
- 2 cups (350 g) frozen strawberries*
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp (14 g) chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the banana oat bars:
- 2 cups (160 g) rolled oats, divided**
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed (200g or 1 cup)
- One fourth cup (60 ml) maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Make the jam:
- Add strawberries and maple syrup to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Heat until the berries begin to release their liquid, about 5-15 minutes depending on whether or not they were thawed first. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down and thicken, about 5 -10 minutes. Use your spoon to break them apart further if desired.
- Stir in the chia seeds and vanilla, continuing to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the jam to cool. It will continue to thicken the longer it sits, which is why I usually like to make it the night before I’m planning on making these bars.
Make the bars:
- Preheat oven to 375F (190C) and prepare an 8×8 (20x20cm) baking dish by lining it with a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on the sides to allow for easy removal. Spray foil with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place 1 cup of oats in a food processor or blender, and process until they resemble a fine flour. Transfer the oat flour to a large mixing bowl, and add the remaining rolled oats and baking powder, mixing well.
- Add the mashed bananas, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, and mix until everything is well combined and a dough is formed.
- Transfer 2/3 of the mixture into your prepared baking pan, using your fingers or a spatula to ensure that it is pressed down tightly and evenly. Spoon chia jam over the surface, and use a spatula or knife to spread it evenly, making sure to only go within quarter of the edge to prevent the jam from burning. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top, breaking up bigger chunks and pressing down lightly.
- Bake for 30 minutes until the top turns a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to fully cool in pan before cutting into bars.