School started less than a month ago and I’m already out of ideas for healthy, portable snacks and lunches! Coming up with new things that the family will actually eat is exhausting, and with ‘nut free’ classrooms, and lots of friends with dairy, gluten, and other sensitivities, it’s extra hard to find wholesome and filling snacks that everyone can eat. I was excited to try these bars – packed with antioxidants from the blueberries and matcha, and with lots of the protein from seeds (pumpkin and sesame) instead of peanuts or tree nuts. Oats and rice are naturally free of gluten (choose certified GF if you’re serving someone with severe sensitivities or celiac), and the bars don’t contain dairy. They can even be made vegan by subbing in rice syrup for the honey! The vibrant green color of Matcha is fun and goes well with the pumpkin seeds, but you can easily substitute any kind of nut and nut butter for some variety, if allergies aren’t a concern. After cooling and cutting these bars, they stay fresh in the fridge for up to 2 weeks – an after school/running out the door to soccer/Mom-what’s-for-breakfast-lifesaver!
Matcha Nut-Free and Gluten-Free Granola Bars
- 2 cups rolled oats (GF)
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1 ½ cups puffed rice cereal (GF)
- ½ cup dried blueberries
- ¼ tsp sea salt
- 1 Tb Matcha
- 1/3 cup honey or brown rice syrup (Vegan choice)
- ½ cup tahini
- 2 Tb coconut oil (* note the some ‘tree nut’ allergies also include coconut – substitute another oil or butter if needed.)
- 1 tsp. Vanilla extract
- Bake the rolled oats and pumpkin seeds on a cookie sheet at 325 degrees for 12 – 15 minutes, until they are lightly browned and smell ‘toasty.’ Stir a couple of times and keep watch so they don’t burn.
- Line a 9×13 baking dish with plastic wrap or baking parchment.
- Put the oats and pumpkin seeds into a bowl, and add in the rice cereal, berries, salt, and matcha. Stir to combine.
- Heat the honey, tahini, coconut oil, and vanilla in a small saucepan over medium heat, just until smooth. Pour over the dry ingredients and mix immediately until the ingredients are fully coated.
- Pour out into the prepared 9 x 13 pan and press flat. Cool for an hour in the fridge, then cut into squares or rectangles as you choose. Wrap and keep in the fridge for maximum freshness, but they don’t need to stay chilled when packing on the go.
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