Gluten Free Granola Bars Recipe

by Carol Kicinski on July 17, 2011

Gluten Free Dairy Free Nut Free Granola Bars A gluten-free girl, a lactose intolerant boy and a tyke with a nasty peanut allergy get into a car…

No, this is not the beginning of a joke, it was the beginning of a family day of adventure, off to trek through the Florida swamps, wrangle alligators, and to top it all off with a refreshing dip in the Gulf of Mexico. A long day and if it was going to be a fun day, allergy friendly snacks were required.

Nothing can ruin a fun day like a carload of hungry, cranky kids!  So along with fresh fruit, hummus and veggies, and an assortment of salty, gluten-free crackers and snacks, I made some allergy friendly granola bars.

The base of these super allergy friendly granola bars is gluten-free rolled oats, Sunbutter (a nut-free peanut butter substitute), a mashedbanana, some melted Earth Balance dairy free butter substitute and coconut sugar. The recipe is almost more like a suggestion because you can elaborate any way you like. I filled mine with pumpkin seeds, dried fruit (a combination of cranberries, blueberries and cherries) and a handful of dairy-free chocolate chunks – healthy with just a touch of naughty, but you can make yours as naughty or nice as you like. Since I was feeding younger kids I used semi-sweet chocolate chucks but rich, dark chocolate would be fabulous. If you like coconut, throw it in! Tree nuts not a problem? Add some slivered almonds. Peanuts ok?  Just use peanut butter.  You get the idea. You can add up to a cup of additional items with no problem and substitute whatever type of seeds you like, a combination is fine too. Mine were fairly simple (due to a four year old palate) and thus were really moist and chewy, if you add in more stuff such as coconut or nuts, it may be a bit drier. I personally like salt mixed with my sweet so I sprinkled on a little more coarse salt before popping in the oven.

I made these for the kids to keep them happy and well fed but to be perfectly honest, they were so delicious my sister and I almost hid them and kept them all for ourselves. (OK, I confess, we did hide a couple and had them for breakfast the next day. I know we are bad grown ups…)

Oh, and in case you hadn’t noticed, these granola bars are not only gluten, dairy and nut free, they are also egg free, vegan and if you use coconut sugar and the Organic Sunbutter, they are also refined-sugar free!  Seems the only thing there are not free of is amazing flavor!

Gluten Free Dairy Free Nut Free Granola Bars

Gluten Free Granola Bars Recipe

Ingredients

¾ cup Sunbutter (I like Natural Crunch but Creamy is good too)
½ cup coconut sugar, Sucanat or brown sugar
1 medium banana, peeled and mashed
½ cup butter or dairy free butter substitute, melted
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
½ – 1 teaspoon kosher or fine sea salt
2 ½ cups certified gluten-free rolled oats
½ cup roasted and salted pumpkin seeds
1 cup dried fruit, raisins or a combination – if using larger pieces of dried fruit, chop roughly
½ cup chocolate chunks or chips
(optional – you can add up to a cup of additional ingredients such as coconut flakes, slivered or chopped nuts, flax, chia, sunflower or sesame seeds)

Directions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8 inch by 8 inch baking pan with gluten-free, non-stick cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the Sunbutter, sugar, mashed banana,  melted butter or butter substitute and vanilla until well combined. Stir in the remaining ingredients until they are evenly distributed.  Press the mixture firmly and evenly into the prepared pan. Bake for 30 – 35 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool completely and then cut into squares. Will keep wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for several days or in the refrigerator for up to a week.

Servings

This gluten-free recipe makes 8

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Categories:    Breakfast & Brunch
  • http://www.cafeterrablog.com Terra

    I am so excited to find your blog. I love learning about new gluten free recipes. These sound so good, and I have not tried coconut sugar, but I must. I just recently tried coconut oil, it is amazing!
    Take care, Terra

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Terra! Love both coconut oil and sugar. You take care too!

  • http://intolerantchef.blogspot.com/ InTolerantChef

    These are just awesome, full of flavour and fun and no one is missing out! Great job!

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Thank you!

  • http://glutenfreeeasily.com Shirley @ gfe

    Love the versatility of a great granola bar, Carol … yours certainly fit the bill! :-)

    xo,
    Shirley

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Shirley!
      xo,
      c

  • http://cookingglutenfree.blogspot.com CassidyS

    These look delicious! I’m going to buy the ingredients to make these today!

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Yay – enjoy!

  • http://inhotpursuitofcolor.blogspot.com April

    I love this idea. I usually cave and have Enjoy Life bars laying around for our family. This looks so much yummier! We too have the gluten free for me and the nut free for my son blues. Amazing how life can be challenging, but ideas like this makes life look doable. Thanks for the idea!

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Hi April, yes food allergies and intolerances can be very challanging but these are completely doable! Easy in fact :) Enjoy!

  • http://www.cookitallergyfree.com/blog Kim

    Carol, these look amazing! I will have a batch of these made by this afternoon, I promise you that! I love love a good granola recipe and this one looks perfecto! ;) You sound like you are having a ball with those g-kids!

  • Dana

    Thanks for this delicious and versatile recipe! I made it yesterday with almond butter, slivered almonds, and dried cranberries. I also added in 1/4 cup golden flaxmeal. The batter was so delicious I actually licked the spoon *and* the bowl! I was surprised at how thick the bars were in an 8 x 8 pan (and I think there is an error in the yield given in the recipe–an 8 x 8 pan makes 16 2-inch squares). The finished product is very yummy, but also very crumbly–they do not hold together at all and must be eaten with a fork. Any suggestions to remedy this? Should I press them down more firmly? Would adding an egg, or using honey or agave for the sweetener help? This recipe is so delicious, I really want to find a way to make it work as a *portable* snack!

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Hi Dana,
      First of all, thanks. Secondly I did make large squares, I just made 2 cuts in one direction and 2 in the other making a total of 9 squares but they can certainly be cut smaller (which is not a bad idea). I am thinking that the almond butter was not as sticky as the Sunbutter. In my expirience working with almond butter makes a drier product so I would add 1/4 cup of agave (or honey). Also yes, you need to press it down very firmly and cool completely. My squares were soft and moist, not dry and crumbly. I really think the agave will add enough stickiness without having to add an egg. Let me know if this helps!
      xo,
      carol

      • Dani

        I made them last night, and they were to die for! I had the same issue with the crumbling, but I used peanut butter instead of sunbutter (all I had in my apartment). I’m definitely not dissapointed, and will try again another day with Sunbutter. Keep up the great work! I love everything on your website!

      • Dana

        Thanks so much for your personal reply, Carol! I made them again, this time with Sunbutter. No flax meal this time. I just used the alternate brown sugar from your original recipe, rather than agave syrup. Pressed them into a 7×11 pan with all my might (with a sheet of parchment over the surface). Baked, then cooled them overnight. They were a bit more cohesive than my first batch, but still not enough to make them finger food. Still so delicious! So I guess we will just live with them as a plate & fork treat. (Maybe I will play with some agave next time :)

        • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

          Hmmm, I am just going to have to make these again myself and make sure it was not a fluke that they stayed together nicely for me – I will will report back!

  • http://www.glutenfreeforgood.com/blog/ Melissa

    I love the starting sentence of this post. Very cute! You’re one clever lady. I also like the idea of sunbutter in the mix. I make my own granola bars as well and usually use almond butter. You’ve inspired me to break out of my routine.
    Melissa
    xo

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Melissa! My little nephew has a nasty peanut allergy so I satrted stocking Sunbutter for him.
      xo,
      c

  • http://glutenfreeislilfe.com Carol

    Carol, These look awesome! I can’t wait to make them!

    Kim

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Kim!

  • http://www.lexieskitchen.com Lexie

    Look at those! Perfectly chewy and filling?!

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Lex!
      xo,
      c

  • Loralie an

    I made these with peanut butter, but made a few modifications because of some of the comments. I used a natural peanut butter that is quite thick so I only put in 1/2 cup and added 1/4 cup honey. I used coconut oil instead of butter. For the dried fruit I used a combination of dried blueberries and golden raisins. I also added some sliced almonds and sunflower seeds. I was worried they would fall apart and as I began to cut them, they did crumble a bit. So I gently pushed them back together and put them in the refrigerator for a few hours. After they were well chilled, I wrapped them individually in foil and they are perfect! No crumbles. Great snack to pack for a day on the lake in the boat.

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      You know, thank you for saying this as it reminded me that I did in fact chill the bars before cutting! I was in a hurry for them to cool so I popped them into the freezer and they chilled not just cooled! I am going to adjust the recipe, thank you!

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  • Kay Davis

    I am allergic to Banana’s do you have any suggestions for a banana substitute? Dates?

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      The banana just gives it some sticking power. You could substitute 1/4 cup agave or dates may work also. You could also try applesauce.

      • http://livecompletely.blogspot.com/ Kory

        So glad I checked the comments, I had the same question :)

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  • Hope

    These sound awsome! I have a Peanut/Tree Nut allergic daughter. Can you tell me where you purchase safe pumpkin seeds and sunflower seeds that you added into the recipe (no Peanut/Tree Nut cross contamination)? I am on a desperate hunt for safe seeds! Thank you!

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      I get them at my natural foods store, they come from a local company that has no cross contamination. The best advice I can give you is to check out the natural foods stores and co-ops in your area. There may be a brand that is avaiable nationwide and maybe one of my other readers will know. If I get any more info I will let you know.

  • crosswind

    I am allergic to sunflower seeds too, I wonder if using bananas or dates would be enough sticking power. I wil use coconut oil which I know hardens up in the fridge :) Thx!!

  • Sarah A.

    Hey Carol,
    I am gluten-free, all kind of nut free, egg free, dairy free and list of others! (Most of which are NOT by choice, but because of health issues) I was wondering if you knew of any recipes that I might be able to use?? Thanks and God bless!

    • http://www.simplygluten-free.com Carol Kicinski

      Go to my recipe page and you will see all the recipes that fall into those categories. I am adding one for egg free, it will be there soon but in most cases you can make any recipe that calls for eggs by using egg substitute.

  • Sarah

    How long will these stay fresh? a week? +/- ???

    • Carol Kicinski

      They should stay good for a week if you store air tight in the fridge.

  • Bonita

    These are amazing, thank you so much I am living with fructose malabsorption which leaves out so many things it include gluton, after scouring the “ready” bar section I gave it seems everything that’s gluten free has soy or dates so my quest lead me here! They are amazing and much much better than the ready bars!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thanks Bonita, so happy you enjoy the recipe!

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  • valleygirl

    First batch going in with a few alterations: added flax meal, an egg and some honey and cinnamon and replaced the banana with applesauce. Next time I will use coconut oil instead of the butter. Ha, they really aren’t the same anymore are they? I had such a great recipe before the whole gluten free thing so I really need to find one that can be similar but not so expensive! Don’t want to use so much sun butter (hard to come by where I live and not cheap). ANy other suggestions? I am not a baker so I totally trial and error stuff….can’t think of what else might work?

  • Jennifer

    Thank you for the recipe! Delish! I used almond butter because that’s what I had on hand, coconut butter instead of butter, dried cranberries, pistachios, and 60% chocolate chips. They turned out great! Thanks again!

    • Carol Kicinski

      Thank you Jennifer! So happy you enjoyed it. I love it when people take my recipes and change them up, making them their own!

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  • Belynda

    I can’t wait to try these. We are a gluten-free, vegan mama, a dairy-free daughter, a vegetarian son, and a severe nut-allergy son, so I am excited. (The hubby eats anything! He’s a dear.) It’s good to read the changes that people make, too. Helps when making subs for other food allergies. Thanks!

    • Carol Kicinski

      You are very welcome, enjoy!

  • Katie

    My son is also allergic to banana among many other things. How much apple sauce should be used in place of banana?

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Katie – the applesauce would be a great sub. Enjoy!!!

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  • lana

    This recipe looks great. I have a digestive issue so eating clean and limiting certain foods like dairy and gluten have become my life and this summer I am going away to a nut free facility so this recipe covers all the spots. Do you know if these freeze well? Looking forward to making these

    • Carol Kicinski

      Hi Iana, my guess is that they would freeze very well although I did not try it. I think they would be kind of great eatten frozen too. Let me know if you do freeze them how it works out!

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