Serving Size: 8
Calories: 141 • Total Fat: 7g • Total Carbohydrate: 15g (Fiber: 2g • Sugars: 6g) • Protein: 8g
High Protein • Rich in Healthy Fats • Gluten-Free • Low Sugar • Well-Balanced • Whole Grain
Who doesn’t love granola bars? The first ones that come to my mind are those sugary and super crunchy Nature Valley ones you can find at every convenient mart and drugstore around the country. My first memory of these classic bars is from 6th grade when my English/Lit teacher, Sr. Munch, would give these to us as our birthday treat. Now, I know what you’re thinking, a granola bar for a birthday treat? But if you’ve ever tried them you know just how good those bars actually are. Maybe it’s their super sweet, honey flavor or maybe it’s how perfectly crunchy they are (so crunchy you are still picking up their crumbs
hours days later), regardless, I can usually devour one (or two) in less than a minute.
Don’t get me wrong, they are much healthier than several other granola bars out there, but unfortunately their almost entirely filled with sugary carbs and low protein making them more of a treat than a healthy, satisfying snack . Since I didn’t want to give up my favorite granola bar, I knew a recipe rehab was in the books for a healthier adult version. And because peanut butter and banana are only the best sweet/salty combo ever created, it was a no brainer they would both be included. It took me 4 attempts to get the crunch factor on these JUST right, but they finally turned out perfect!
Next mission: re-creating the Oats ‘N Dark Chocolate flavor…..mmmm!! Stay tuned!
Crunchy peanut butter banana granola bars
- 1/3 cup raw, unsalted cashews
- 1/3 cup dry roasted, unsalted peanuts
- 1 cup oat bran
- 1 tbsp ground flaxseed
- 1.5 scoops protein powder*
- 3 tbsp maple syrup
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 1 tbsp all-natural peanut butter (no sugar or salt added)
- 1 small ripe banana**
- extra peanut butter for topping (optional)
- Preheat oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8 inch pan with parchment paper and set aside.
- Put nuts in a food processor and pulse until roughly chopped.
- Add remaining ingredients until well combined into a dough consistency. *The dough will seem dry but that’s what makes them extra crunchy. DO NOT add any extra liquid.*
- Put the dough in the prepared pan and spread very thin. Tip: use another piece of parchment paper to push it into a thin layer covering all corners and edges of the pan.
- Bake in the oven for 22-25 minutes or until top is golden brown and dough is hard. Drizzle with melted peanut butter if desired.
- Let cool for at least 5 minutes before removing from the pan. Once cooled cut into 8 equal sized bars. It’s best to use a really sharp chef’s knife so they don’t crack.
*I used Vega Protein + Greens Vanilla Flavor. It’s an all-natural vegan protein blend lightly sweetened with stevia, but feel free to use your favorite protein powder.
** You want a ripe banana because it will make the bars sweeter without any added sugar, but you don’t want it too ripe that it makes the dough too wet. Use one with a few brown spots instead of super brown, banana bread style one.