Elizabeth’s Gluten-Free Granola Bars

February 27, 2011

I tend to shy away from things described as “health food.” I want a food to be primarily described as delicious. I want it’s healthiness to be present, but not obvious. But I do eat a decent amount of granola bars. They are portable snacks that can be quickly consumed on ski lifts or when I need a quick bite at the hospital. However, I have many bones to pick with almost every granola bar on the market. Here are my general vendettas against granola bars.

Granola bars are not healthy, but are marketed as a “health food.” They are sugar-y, they are carb-y. They are not filling enough, and if they are filling enough they remind me of a moist brick (yes, Larabar, I’m looking at you). And to top it all off, they’re expensive!

But recently, I tried a granola bar that I really like. They come in tasty flavors (Macadamia Apricot and Almond Coconut being two of my favorites). And they don’t taste much like a granola bar. They taste a lot like fruit and nuts that happen to be bound together in bar form. They have a good nutrition profile too: they’re gluten free, they’re low in carbs, they’re high in fiber and protein. (I’m leaving them unnamed because I don’t want this to sound like a product endorsement. But I’m happy to let you know what they are if you ask). The only problem is, they’re $1.50 a bar. I don’t want to pay that if I can make my own at home in 30 minutes.

I began my granola bar project by looking up recipes online. If you think packaged granola bars are unhealthy, you should see some of the homemade ones! Tons of butter/oil and sugar. I’m pretty sure most cookies have fewer calories and taste way better.

So I decided to just make it up and figure it out along the way. I knew I wanted them to be mostly apricot, almond, and coconut, but I also knew they’d need a bit of sweetener and a binding agent (a liquid protein of some kind) to make them stick together. My cousin, Amy, told me about a Weight Watchers Granola Recipe where eggs act as the binder, so I decided to try that.

I added some canola oil, flaxseed (to increase the fiber and also because I like the seedy crunch), and a little sugar. And that’s it!

I think I’ll be making a big batch every couple weeks for skiing or for work. I’m looking forward to trying different combinations of fruit and nuts, too. Tell me about the combinations you like!


Makes 8 bars. Each bar has about 210 calories.

For the fruit, I used unsweetened apricots. For the nuts, I used almonds. I highly recommend this combination.


2/3 cup raw nuts

1/4 cup flax seeds

2/3 cup dried fruit, (preferably unsweetened) rough chopped

1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

3 tbsp canola oil

2 raw eggs

1/4 cup sugar

Nonstick cooking spray


Preheat oven to 375. In a food processor, grind almonds to a coarse meal. Add all remaining ingredients (except cooking spray, of course) to food processor. Grind until all ingredients are incorporated. Spray an 8 x 8 pan with cooking spray, then pat down the batter to cover the bottom of the pan evenly. Bake 15-20 minutes, until top is browned.


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