Banana Bread Breakfast Bars (gluten-free with vegan option)
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This basic breakfast bar recipe is made with no flour, refined sugar, or dairy and can be made egg-free. Say what? Importantly, it still tastes great.
Since hitting on the ingredient combination listed below, I have made these bars countless times. The recipe is quick to prepare, provides a couple days worth of speedy breakfasts or snacks, and is a great way to use those overripe bananas. I purposely let some of our bananas sit on the counter a little too long so that I can make these at a moment’s notice. Overripe bananas may also be peeled and frozen for future use in this and other banana bread recipes.
For a small indulgence and a tried-and-true flavor combination, I do stir in a modest amount of peanut butter and chocolate chips. You may opt to use all of one variety or the other, or substitute raisins, nuts, and/or shredded coconut in their place.
I like to prepare these bars in the evening so they are ready to cut and go the next morning. They may sit on the counter for a day or so, but covering the cooled bars and storing in the refrigerator will preserve freshness for the better part of a week. Using oat flour makes these bars extra easy to prepare, although blending the whole oats, as described below, works equally well.
- 1 1/2 cups (180 grams) oat flour or 2 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 cups very ripe bananas (12 ounces, without skins, or about 3 medium-large bananas)
- 1 egg, optional (see notes)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup honey (may substitute agave nectar)
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips (if requiring a vegan option, choose accordingly with the chips)
- 1/3 cup peanut butter chips
- Optional topping: 1 tablespoon oats and/or 2 rounded tablespoons shredded coconut
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, and grease an 11×7 or 9×9 inch baking pan.
- If using whole oats, place the oats in a blender or food processor and blend for 1-2 minutes or until the oats resemble flour. Stop the blender and stir the oats a couple of times to ensure complete blending.
- Transfer the oat flour to a medium bowl. Stir in the cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt; set aside.
- Place the bananas in a large bowl and completely mash with a fork. Use the fork to whisk in the egg, and then add the vanilla and honey. Mix until creamy and thoroughly blended.
- Stir in the oat flour mixture, and mix until just combined.
- Reserve a tablespoon each of the chocolate and peanut butter chips. Fold in the remaining chips, and then pour the batter into the prepared pan, spreading evenly. Top with the optional oats, shredded coconut and the reserved chips.
- Bake for 15-18 minutes or until the center is just cooked through.
I have made this recipe without the egg and it is still excellent. In fact, it is hard to tell the difference between the egg and the egg-free version of these moist bars. If eggs are not off-limits in your house, feel free to try both ways and see if you have a preference.
Also, I have made these with 1 cup of mashed banana and 1/2 cup of applesauce and they taste very similar. This is a great option if you only have two large, overripe bananas. I haven’t tried the applesauce version without the egg, although I think it would work well.
A couple tablespoons of shredded coconut sprinkled on the top prior to baking is a nice addition. I use the unsweetened variety, but sweetened may be used if preferred.
Tip: When preparing a batch, I mix just the dry ingredients into several additional airtight containers and store for future use. It’s so easy to do while the ingredients are out, and then the wet ingredients can quickly be added for a fresh batch whenever desired. And when you have overripe bananas but no time to use them, simply peel and store in the freezer.