We love how versatile and easy granola bars are for all sorts of occasions! Perfect for packing in a school lunch or grabbing for an afternoon snack. They even work great for breakfast on-the-go! And this healthy carrot cake version has the added bonus of a veggie thrown in! With oats, flaxseed, carrots, raisins, nuts and almond butter, this bar is loaded with fiber and protein to help kids stay full until dinner.
Soft, healthy granola bars that stick together!
After experimenting a bit, we found that getting granola bars to stick together can be tricky! Many granola bar attempts end in just granola – not bars. To avoid this problem, this recipe has three different binding agents – honey, almond butter, and a flax egg. If you’re not familiar with flax eggs, they’re essentially a gloopy mixture that forms when you mix ground flaxseed and water. Vegan friendly (and pretty neat if you ask me!).
Chopping up the oats a bit also helps the concoction stick together better. Full-sized rolled oats are great and all, but they tend to break apart a bit easier because of their larger, flakier shape. A few quick pulses in the food processor did the job nicely!
Healthy granola bars, step by step
Our first step is to make a flax egg. Simply mix the ground flaxseed and water. Then let it sit and watch it morph into a gel-like mixture!
Next, we pulse the oats and nuts (I used pecan, but anything you like works) a bit in a food processor. Once the oats and nuts are cut down to a small-but-not-completely-pulverized size, combine them with the other dry ingredients and carrots.
Mixing the honey and almond butter is our next step, and it’s much easier if it’s warmed up just a bit. I did this in the microwave, but you could definitely do it on the stove.
Finally, combine everything together and see the colorful mixture take shape! (Don’t you just love that vibrant orange?). Press the mixture into a parchment-lined large baking dish until it’s about 1/2 an inch thick. Use a spatula to push it down so it is really compact! This will help the bars stick together. I didn’t want my bars too thin, so I didn’t spread the mixture out to cover the whole surface of the dish.
Once in the oven, you know the bars are done when the edges have just started to brown. Remove the dish from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes – just enough to set up a bit and not be scalding hot. If you prefer crunchier granola bars, keep them in a bit longer until they get slightly browned on top too.
Then, cut bars into whatever shape your heart desires – I made mine long and skinny in typical granola bar fashion. Allow to sit and cool completely before removing the bars and eating them. Store any extras individually wrapped in plastic, or all together in an air-tight container for 3-4 days.
Voila! Healthy, chewy, filling carrot cake granola bars ready for the lunchbox or grab-and-go breakfast! You’re gonna love ’em!