The Best Package-Free Granola Bars

Y’all these might be the best snack I’ve ever made. Actually. When the babe bit into these I got a, “Wow.” True praise. Also they are in fact flippin delicious and I’ll be making them by the container-ful once a week. You know you’ve got a successful dish when it enters the weekly rotation. Woo! Move over basic granola, I’ve got you in travel ready form now. Package-free granola bars that you don’t have to feel guilty about! These bars are a zero-waste / low-impact option that don’t use any parchment paper and filled with lots of seedy goodness.

Jump to recipe

Sustainable snack food is critical when thinking about a closed loop kitchen. Before taking a mindful approach to zero-waste / low-impact eating I would find myself with an excess of Larabar wrappers, somehow in every single pocket of all of my bags? Do these things multiply? While snack bars are usually my go-to, finding one without a bunch of filler or sugar was hard enough. Finding a bar with sustainable packaging was almost impossible! It’s such a conventional food item for a while I didn’t even register you could make your own. After a bit of experimentation (and one batch of granola bars turned granola) I realized a DIY snack bar is way tastier and much better for you and the planet.

Snack food seems to be a tough obstacle to navigate when cutting out food packaging. The accessibility of waste and lack of time to prep has us reaching for the quickest, easiest option at a moments notice. Also I’m snacky mid afternoon, always, I know this about myself and yet am still unprepared. So let’s change that. This 30 minute recipe will give you some newfound freedom from snack bar packaging and make you feel good about your mid afternoon food options! (And for real, they are SO good! A perfect texture + flavor combination – seriously just try ‘em.)

What’s your favorite package-free granola bar mix-in?
Let us know if you give this a go! #closedloopcooking

Stay hungry,
Hawnuh Lee
Closed Loop Cooking

The Best Package-Free Granola Bars

by Hawnuh Lee

Package-free granola bars that you don’t have to feel guilty about! Toasted oats, nuts, and seeds with your favorite nut butter that are perfect for an afternoon snack.

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makes: 10 medium bars (ish) | prep time: 10 min | chill time: 120 | cook time: 20 min

Ingredients

  • 1 cup overflowing medjool dates (approx 15 - 18)
  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/2 cup pumpkin seeds (aka pepitas)
  • 1/2 - 3/4 tbsp kosher salt (add the remaining 1/4 tbsp if you like things a bit salty)
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1/3 cup nut butter (I used peanut but almond cashew or otherwise would work great)
  • * Coconut oil or other neutral oil for greasing

    To-Do's

    1. Preheat oven to 350° for optional oat / nut toasting. (I recommend toasting to bring out the flavors but you can omit toasting for a bake-free option.) Grease a rectangular baking dish approx 8” x 6” x 2” with coconut oil. You can use just about any size pan or multiple pans for this with at least 1 ½” of height.
    2. Roughly chop almonds. On large baking tray combine oats, almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds and bake for 20 minutes.
    3. While oats + nuts are toasting, pit dates (and compost seeds.) In a food processor, pulse dates until well combined into a ball-ish form. Break up ball as necessary to remove larger pieces. Once toasted, remove oats + nuts from oven and let cool about 5 minutes.
    4. In a large mixing bowl combine toasted oats, chopped almonds, sunflower seeds, and pumpkin seeds with date mixture. Add salt. Use a fork or clean hands to break apart dates and mix in dry ingredients.
    5. Add maple syrup and nut butter mixture to mixing bowl with other ingredients. Thoroughly combine all ingredients making sure to break up large date chunks. There should be an even consistency to the mixture.
    6. In prepared baking dish spoon in mixture and press flat using a rubber spatula, wooden spoon or similar. The pressed mixture should be an even height and hold together well.
    7. Refrigerate for 2 hours or freeze for 30 minutes. Cut in pan to desired length and enjoy! They hold up well at room temperature and you can pack them in a reusable container to travel. These will keep in the fridge about 2 weeks (you can cover with a lid or clean dish towel) or for 3 – 4 months in the freezer (keep in a closed container in the freezer.) But they probably won’t last that long if you’re hungry!

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