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Nutty Fruity Granola Bars (Gluten-free, Vegan)

Gluten-free & vegan Nutty Fruity Granola Bars. Photo taken by Reed Kiely.

I’ve been on a bit of a quest.

As work picks up and takes me away from my beloved kitchen more and more—leaving earlier and returning later—I find the need for quick, nutritious breakfasts and snacks.

Nuts, gluten-free crackers, and fruit are tucked in my bag. Salads are a lunch staple. In fact, my coworkers think I eat nothing but salads!

It’s time to add to my repertoire of “grab and go” items and granola bars seemed like a good option. Besides the ease—and the fact they’re chock full of nuts, oats, dried fruits and seeds—they’re not hard to make and they taste good.

At least that’s what my husband thinks. And my neighbor. And me. I hope you do, too.

More granola and granola bar recipes from some of my favorite blogs:

granola bars are for grabbing - glutenfree girl and the chef

Famous Flax ‘n Oat Bars - Alisa Cooks

Gluten Free Recipe for Granola - I Am Gluten Free

Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Granola - Gluten-Free Easily

Please post a link to your granola or granola bar recipes in the comments below!


Photo taken by Reed Kiely.

This recipe inspired by Alton Brown & Ina Garten.

Nutty Fruity Granola Bars

These Nutty Fruity Granola Bars are chewy and crunchy all at once. Wrap them individually in wax paper for an on-the-go snack, lunch box extra, or even to take on a hike or camping trip. You can easily switch out the ingredients to make your own version—try dried cherries, blueberries and golden raisins or pecans instead of almonds. The possibilities are endless.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Mix together and set aside:

½ cup dried cranberries

½ cup dried figs, cut into a small dice

½ cup dried apricots, cut into a small dice

Measure out and pour onto a parchment lined cookie sheet:

2 cups gluten-free rolled oats

1 cup sliced almonds

½ cup pepitas or sunflower seeds or a combination of the two

1 cup unsweetened coconut flakes

Toast in the oven for 10-12 minutes stirring from time to time. Make sure not to over-toast-–using the coconut as a guide. It should be just browned not dark brown. Remove the toasted oat mixture.

Reduce the oven to 300 degrees.

Meanwhile combine in a medium saucepan over medium heat and cook until the sugar dissolves:

½ cup maple or agave syrup or combination of the two (or alternately honey)

3 tablespoons coconut oil

¼ cup brown sugar, packed

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

Mix together:

Warm toasted oat mixture

¼ cup chia seeds (optional)

¼ cup flax seeds (optional)

Dried fruit mix

Add in and stir to combine:

Warm liquid mixture you made previously

Spoon the mixed granola into a parchment lined baking dish—about 8x11.5 inches. Spread it out, place another piece of parchment on top and press down with your hands to compress the granola evenly into the pan.

Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely in the pan. I mean absolutely, positively, completely cool—a few hours. Cut into bars. These will keep in an airtight container for about a week—if you don’t eat them all first.



Chocolate Chai Pie

I literally whipped up this Chocolate Chai Pie within days of being invited to a contest featuring recipes with tea as an ingredient.

This is not typically the kind of dessert that comes out of my kitchen. Although I truly love pies I’m more smitten with those made with fruit than any other kind. Since I haven’t tried my hand at gluten-free pie crusts this sweet dessert has not crossed my lips in over two years!

A crumb crust seemed like a good alternative. Normally, a graham cracker crust would do the trick but the idea of baking cookies first seemed like overkill. So, after a little research into “from scratch” crumb crusts I came up with this one…laced with tea and chai spices. It’s unusual, interesting, and flavorful.

The chocolate center is born of the desire to have something light, airy, creamy. Along the lines of a chiffon. Whipped coconut milk and marshmallow crème mixed together produced a sweet filling with a texture reminiscent of chiffon. Admittedly the end result was not dead-on. Still it’s delicious (but pretty sweet).

I’ll definitely be playing with the filling—maybe some different flavors—to take it to the next level.

Oh, right, you’ll want to know if the pie won the contest? Sadly, no. But, it was one of the recipes that made it to the “baking” stage so I was pretty happy about that. You can see the winning entrees at Sanctuary T.

Chocolate Chai Pie

Fluffy whipped chocolate marshmallow crème meets Chai-spiced crumb crust in this tea inspired dessert.

You’ll need a can of full fat coconut milk (not coconut cream) for the chocolate filling. The trick is to make sure it hasn’t been shaken since you’ll be using the cream that’s risen to the top of the can. It’s best to buy and place the coconut milk in the refrigerator a few days in advance however, I used coconut milk that was in my pantry and refrigerated overnight—it worked very well.

Chai Crumb Crust

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk together until foamy and then set aside:

1 ½ teaspoons egg replacer

2 tablespoons warm water

In a large bowl whisk together:

¾ cup gluten-free flour blend

¾ cup almond flour

¼ cup sugar

4 teaspoons loose black tea (about 4 teabags—I used Darjeeling)

½ teaspoon salt

1 ½ teaspoons cardamom

1 ½ teaspoons cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground cloves


Mix together in a separate bowl or large liquid measuring cup:

Egg replacer mixture you made earlier

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3 tablespoons grapeseed oil


Add the liquid ingredients to the flour mixture and blend together with a large fork until moist and crumbly. Turn the crumbs into a well-greased 8- or 9-inch pie plate and spread them around the bottom and up the sides gently compressing as you go.

Place the piecrust in the middle of the oven and bake 12-14 minutes until just golden brown. Remove and let cool.

Whipped Chocolate Filling

Whisk together, microwave for 30 seconds and set aside:

2 packets unflavored gelatin

6 tablespoons cold water


Pour into the bowl of a stand mixer:

1 cup agave syrup

1 teaspoon vanilla

¼ teaspoon salt

gelatin mixture


Beat with the whisk attachment until marshmallow crème forms, about 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile melt in a microwave (30 seconds on high, stir, return for 5 second intervals, stirring after each, until the chocolate is smooth):

½ cup chocolate chips

Once the marshmallow has increased to about three times in size gently add the melted chocolate, whisking about a minute until it’s fully incorporate. Scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. At this point the marshmallow will not hold stiff peaks but will be a very thick and creamy fluff.  (I transferred the marshmallow to another bowl and cleaned it and the whisk so I could use the stand mixer for the next step.)

Taking care not to shake the can remove the coconut milk from the refrigerator and, using a can opener, remove the lid. Scoop the heavy cream from the top and place into a clean mixing bowl that fits your stand mixer. Reserve the coconut water. Beat at medium speed with the whisk attachment until the coconut milk resembles whipped cream.

Meanwhile mix together until smooth:

1 tablespoon cocoa powder

1 tablespoon of the reserved coconut water


Once the coconut milk is thickened to a whipped cream consistency add the cocoa mixture and mix until fully incorporated. Gently fold in the marshmallow crème.

Spoon the chocolate mixture into the prepared piecrust and refrigerate until firm.