Healthy and delicious vegan oat almond banana bars are great for breakfast, snacks or dessert! They are oil-free, gluten-free and added sugar-free (except for the chocolate chips). Only 5 ingredients, too!
Healthy, Easy Delicious Banana Bars
Oh, the bananas. We keep buying them and eating them, while also allowing countless more to go brown on the countertop.
So I keep coming up with new ways to use them up. If you are reading this, it’s likely you, too, have some bananas waiting to be mashed and mixed into a delicious treat.
You came to the right place. I found inspiration for a new banana recipe while (re-)making my 3-ingredient Almond Oat Focaccia Bread the other day. Almond flour and oats work in delicious harmony in the recipe. I decided I needed to test drive the combination with some bananas in the mix.
My banana experiment–Oat and almond flour bars, for breakfast, snacks or dessert– passed the test with high marks!
Oil-Free, Gluten-Free, Banana-Sweetened Bars
Looking for a banana bar recipe that has it all? This one does. Ironically, it does so with very little. Specifically, five familiar ingredients!
- Vegan (egg-free, dairy-free)
- Gluten-free (be sure to use certified gluten-free oats)
- Added sugar-free
- Made in 1 bowl
- Super-easy to make and bake
- Rolled Oats (certified gluten-free, as needed)
- Almond flour or almond meal
- Ripe Bananas
- Baking Powder
- Chocolate Chips
You can reduce the total number of ingredients to four ingredients by leaving out the chocolate chips, or up it to 6 or 7 ingredients by adding a smidge of cinnamon or vanilla.
The fat from the almond flour makes these bars moist and tender, without the addition of any oil. Whoohoo! And with 1 and 2/3 cups mashed, ripe banana, there is no need to add any additional sweeteners.
How to Make Healthy Oat Almond Banana Bars
Ready to make these bars? You won’t need much time or effort.
Step One: Preheat Oven & Prepare Baking Pan
Preheat the oven to 350F (180 C) and line a 9-inch (22.5 cm) square baking pan with parchment paper (I spray the exposed interior sides with nonstick cooking spray).
Step Two: Mash Bananas
Mash enough ripe bananas to measure 1 and 2/3 cups (425 mL).
It will take about 3 to 4 large bananas to equal 1 and 2/3 cups mashed. I prefer to give the exact measurement for the bananas. Bananas vary (a little or a lot). Size matters (at least in baking :)), so for accuracy, it is best to use standard measurements.
Step Three: Combine the Mashed Bananas & Oats
Mix the bananas with 1 and 1/2 cups (135 g) of rolled oats. Let the mixture stand for 15 minutes to soften the oats.
Once 15 minutes have passed, vigorously stir the banana-oat combination to break down the oats and create a creamy, more homogeneous mixture.
Step Four: Add the Remaining Ingredients
Add the remaining ingredients, except the chocolate chips–almond flour, baking powder, and optional salt–to the bowl. I decided to add about 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon, too.
Stir until all of the ingredients are completely combined.
Step Five: Spread in Pan
Spread the dough in the prepared pan, smoothing the top.
Step Six: Add Chocolate Chips
Chocolate chips and bananas are made for one another, so let their relationship flourish by sprinkling 2 to 3 tablespoons of the former over the surface of the bars.
You can use regular size chocolate chips, but I prefer the miniature variety, for maximal coverage.
If you like, stir the chocolate chips into the dough before spreading in the pan. Alternatively, double the chocolate chips, adding some into the dough and some on top!
Step Seven: Bake
Bake the bars in the preheated oven for 22 to 25 minutes until set at the center and golden brown at the edges.
Cool & Cut the Bars
Transfer the pan to a cooling rack and cool completely.
Once cooled, use the parchment paper lining to remove the bars to a cutting board. Cut into 16 bars or squares.
Be sure to eat one immediately. Because I said so :).
How Do I Store the Vegan Oat Almond Banana Bars?
Store the cooled banana bars in an airtight container at cool room temperature for 2 days, the refrigerator for 1 week, or the freezer for up to 3 months.
Can I Use Frozen Bananas in the Recipe?
Yes, frozen ripe bananas can be used in place of fresh, ripe bananas.
Keep in mind that, as the bananas thaw, they will release liquid. Do not drain the liquid! Include the liquid in the measurement of the bananas.
Thursday 3rd of September 2020
HI Camilla: 2 questions: If I have a non stick coated pan, do I have to use the parchment paper? Also, did you use the GF oats or regular rolled oats? Thank you, June
Friday 4th of September 2020
Hi June, No need for parchment paper if the pan is nostick. However, I still like to use parchment paper, just because it makes lifting the bars out of the pan easy. You can do wither :) I always us GF oats when I bake. But if someone does not need GF, they can use regular oats.
Thursday 27th of August 2020
I’m a huge fan of this almond flour and rolled oat combo. I‘ve made the focaccia as written and as thin crisp bread a number of times now! So today I went to make this banana version and realized I had no chocolate chips... but I did have some strawberries at the end of their life. I sliced them and folded them in at the end, and it was wonderful. Great texture and naturally sweet. Thanks so much for all your great recipes!
Friday 28th of August 2020
so glad that this was a winner, Penny! The addition of strawberries sounds delicious!
Wednesday 8th of July 2020
I’m not one to usually comment, but these bars are SO GOOD! I don’t always gravitate towards banana bread or GF&oil free breads because I can’t stand dense and dry breads. I’m new to trying out healthier baking alternatives. This makes such moist bread! I have a sweet tooth so I added a small sprinkle of coconut sugar and cinnamon on top before baking, but it really wasn’t even necessary. I would definitely use this as my standard banana bread recipe just on taste alone!
Wednesday 8th of July 2020
I am so happy that these were such a pleasant surprise, Emilia! Thank you for letting me know (yum, the coconut sugar-cinamon topping does sound super-delicious!)
Wednesday 27th of May 2020
Thanks Camilla, I used blanched almond meal in this recipe and I really like the subtle sweetness it gives, another depth to the banana. I didn't have choc chips and it is still good without. I also made a choc 'icing ' using protein powder, cacao, cashew butter annd almond milk. Tasted great on the warm bar.
Saturday 30th of May 2020
Sounds so good, Mary! Your description of the frosting is making me hungry!
Sunday 8th of March 2020
would this work with quick cook steel cut oats?
Tuesday 10th of March 2020
Yes, definitely, but with two caveats (1) you'll either need to weigh your quick cook steel cut oats (use the same weight as for the rolled oats). If you do not have a scale, you'll need just under 1 cup of the q-c steel cut oats (the Bobs Red Mill Steel Cut Oats, quick-cooking, are 36 g per 1/4 cup, or 144 g per cup); (2) you'll need to grind the oats in a food processor or blender. They do not need to be ground super-fine. I would love to know how it works out!