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Monday, November 10, 2014

DIY Vegan Granola Bars

I love granola bars.

I always have.

I practically lived off of them in my childhood.

However... finding a good granola bar - even these days - can be quite a challenge.

I mean, even the manufacturers claiming to be super good, like Kashi for example, still put so many unnecessary ingredients in there.

Again, as always it seems, it comes down to the difference between 'all-natural' and 'actually healthy'.


I like to make my own granola bars; I've done it a few times, and it is DEAD easy!

These ones today, however, are special, because they are not only super healthy, all natural, all organic, and extremely minimalistic, but they are also 100% vegan.

So, let's get to it!

First, and (I can't stress this enough) most importantly, is the vegan marshmallows.

If you can't find vegan marshmallows, then give up on this recipe.  I mean, you can use non-vegan marshmallows, but do you know where gelatin COMES FROM?  DO YOU!?!?!  Ugh... I'm not even a full-time vegetarian, but I can not stomach gelatin.

Anyway, back to these delicious vegan bars.

I got these vegan marshmallows from a store called Ambrosia, which I admit I never knew existed until recently, but I am super glad I've found it!  It's a great store!

Melt these puppies in a pan with a generous scoop of coconut oil.  You can use any kind of oil you want, but remember we're trying to make these really good.  

Actually, a secondary goal of mine with these was to actually make them as HIGH in calories (like, still good calories, here) as possible, as I wanted these to be a meal replacement on those days when I'm just in too much of a hurry to eat properly.

Enter the coconut oil.  A 'healthy' oil, but one that IS high on the calories.

When the marshmallows start to get liquidy, just stir in your granola.

These marshmallows are ready to incorporate some granola.

For the granola, I chose two packages of PC Blue Menu granola.  

The first, a mixed berry one:

The second, a banana nut one:

These packages are actually remarkably decent.  Their ingredients were simple, and all good.  They did have some sugar, but again I wanted these literally to pack some energy.

Anyway, all of that gets stirred in.

This is the ONLY hard part in making these bars.

But oh man is it hard.

You have to have some serious hand and wrist strength to muster enough will to keep stirring this until it's ready.

I probably could have added more coconut oil, but whatever.

It worked.


Now just grease (again, with the coconut oil) a medium-sized pan:

And then pour in the mix.  

It's all lumpy at first, but here's a trick.  Grease the back of a wooden spoon (again with some coconut oil) or sturdy spatula, and firmly smooth the mix down.  After a minute or so, you should have a nice, level, attractive looking granola square.

Now cover this and let it set in the fridge (or at room temperature, it just takes longer), until it is wholly solid.

Then, it's just choppin' time!

Truly, you can cut these into any size or shape you like.

Myself, I went with the more traditional, rectangular 'bar' shape.

After wrapping them in plastic wrap, they're ready for storage.

And store they can.  For quite some time.  Although mine rarely last that long as, in addition to being a great emergency meal, they are also quite delicious!