Essential nut and seed granola bars. Photo: Marisa Westbrook
Essential nut and seed granola bars. Photo: Marisa Westbrook

As UC Berkeley students flood back into town, and parents of school children prepare to return to the routine of packing lunches and snacks for the day, a delicious granola bar recipe is called for. Even for those of us with day jobs, there’s nothing better than remembering the awesome snack you packed in your bag that morning.

These bars have everything I love in them: different nuts and seeds packed with protein and healthy fats, rolled oats for a complex carbohydrate, and a mix of almond butter and brown rice syrup for a bit of sweetness and stick factor.

After multiple taste tests (I love my job), a winning combo of flavors was found. It is worth buying the jar of brown rice syrup to make a few batches of these bars — it’s extra sticky and not overly sweet! You can stick these in your bag for the day and still come out with a chewy bar at 3 p.m.

I left out dried fruit from the mix, because I’ve been bringing fruit as a snack as well, and prefer to use these bars as a handheld trail-mix of sorts. But you can substitute your favorite dried fruit in for some of the nuts and seeds if desired.

For more seasonal meal ideas and grocery shopping inspiration, check out my August Seasonal Produce List on Uproot Kitchen.

Mixing almond butter and brown rice syrup into an oat and nut mixture for granola bars. Photo: Marisa Westbrook

Recipe: No-Bake Nut and Seed Granola Bars

Makes 12 bars

Note: Do not substitute other sweeteners for the brown rice syrup. Feel free to change the nuts and/or seeds as desired, keeping the proportions the same. Freezing the bar mixture makes it easier to cut.

2 cups old fashioned rolled oats
1/4 cup dry roasted unsalted almonds, roughly chopped
1/4 cup raw unsalted pumpkin seeds
1/4 cup raw unsalted sunflower seeds
1/4 cup hemp hearts
1/2 cup brown rice syrup
1/4 cup almond butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

Line an 8- by 8-inch pan with parchment paper, covering the sides as well as the bottom.

In a large bowl, mix together oats, almonds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and hemp hearts. Set aside.

In a pan, heat together brown rice syrup and almond butter. Stir constantly until the mixture is well combined and the edges begin to bubble a bit.

Remove the pan from the heat and stir in vanilla, cinnamon and salt.

Pour the rice syrup mixture into the bowl with the oat mixture and stir well. Dump into the lined pan and use an additional piece of parchment or wet hands to firmly flatten the top of the mixture until it is an even thickness.

Freeze the bar mixture for 30 minutes, and then remove the chilled mixture from the pan, using the parchment paper as a sling. Slice the mixture into 12 rectangle-shaped bars (or your preferred shape) and wrap the bars individually in plastic wrap.

Store the granola bars in the fridge for up to 10 days, or freeze them for up to 2 months.

This recipe originally appeared on the blog Uproot Kitchen, written by Marisa Westbrook. Westbrook is a public health professional, recipe developer and food photographer. Visit her website, Uproot Kitchen, for simple and healthy recipes made with whole ingredients, kitchen DIY ideas and urban gardening posts. Connect with her on InstagramFacebook and Twitter.

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Marisa Westbrook is a public health professional, recipe developer and food photographer. Visit her website, Uproot Kitchen, for simple and healthy recipes made with...