These homemade peanut butter granola bars are the perfect way to satisfy that midday craving for something crunchy and sweet.
Something happens to me at 3 o’clock during work every day. I get a ravenous craving for something simultaneously sweet, salty, and crunchy. This craving can probably be attributed to the natural energy dip near the end of the workday, when we’re already drained but our brains need to keep going. But even more than that, crunchy food cravings are apparently indicators of stress – something I accumulate lots of by 3pm.
One of my go-to midday snacks are Nature Valley peanut butter granola bars. Now, I don’t mean to poo-poo Nature Valley (their bars are by no means the worst on supermarket shelves). But, they do contain soy lecithin – a chemical emulsifier many people are allergic to – and lots of sugar, which is what makes them so cloyingly sweet and addictive.
So, I challenged myself to recreate my favorite treat with less sugar and cleaner ingredients.
These peanut butter granola bars are made with just six ingredients. They’ve got old-fashioned rolled oats (a great source of protein and fiber), natural peanut butter, coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. Flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds) acts as a binder here and is a great source of Omega-3 fatty acids.
These homemade Nature Valley bars stay fresh for at least a week so they’re perfect for Sunday meal prep!Print
These crunchy peanut butter granola bars (homemade Nature Valley bars) are the perfect way to satisfy that midday sweet craving.
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- ¼ cup honey
- 3 tablespoons natural peanut butter (See Note #1)
- 2 tablespoons melted coconut oil, plus more for greasing the pan
- 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal (ground flaxseeds) OR chia seeds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Coarse sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF. Line an 8×8” baking dish (See Note #2) with parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang, and lightly grease the paper with coconut oil. Set aside.
- Place the oats in a large bowl.
- In a small pot, combine the honey, peanut butter, oil, flaxseed meal, vanilla, and a pinch of salt. Briefly heat over a low flame, stirring frequently, just until the mixture is combined and pourable, 30 to 60 seconds.
- Pour the honey mixture into the bowl with the oats and stir until the oats are evenly coated. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking dish. Using a spatula and/or your hands, firmly press the mixture into the dish to flatten it into a single tight layer. Sprinkle lightly with salt.
- Bake for 20 to 23 minutes, until just barely golden.
- Allow to cool completely in the baking dish (about 1 hour). Once no longer warm to the touch, lift the bars out of the baking dish using the parchment paper overhang. Using a sharp knife, cut into 8 bars or 16 small squares. Store in an airtight container for up to 7 days.
- Feel free to use any nut butter you have on-hand, or even tahini!
- This recipe was developed for a ceramic baking dish. If you plan to use metal, the bars may take less than 20 minutes to bake since metal heats up faster than ceramic. If the bars are over-baked, they may crumble upon slicing.
- Serving Size: 2 bars
- Calories: 366
- Fiber: 5.4 g
- Protein: 8.8 g
Keywords: granola, granola bars, oats, peanut butter, snack