During the summer, it’s great to be able to load up the car, backpack, or cooler, and get the family out of the house. Whether you’re going across the country or just across the street, we all need a few go-to snacks on hand to get us through the journey. If you or one of your loved ones has allergies or dietary restrictions, sometimes always knowing that you can just “grab a bite” somewhere isn’t always a sure thing. Here are two easy and quick no-bake recipes for granola bars that are mindful of common food allergies. Both are gluten free. The Sunflower Bars are completely nut free, including peanut, tree nuts, and coconut. The Pecan Berry Bars (based on a recipe by Angela Liddon) are vegan, soy-free, and contain no refined sugars.

Sunflower Bars

Time: 15 minutes, 30 minutes chilling
Serves: Makes 12 1”x4” granola bars

Ingredients
  • 2 c. gluten-free oats
  •  1 c. gluten-free crisped rice cereal
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ¼ c. unsalted butter
  • ¼ c. brown sugar
  • ¼ c. honey
  • ¼ c. sunflower butter
  • ¼ c. sunflower seeds (or chocolate covered sunflower seeds, optional)
  • 2 T. mini chocolate chips
Equipment
  • parchment paper
  • 8-inch square baking dish
  • medium mixing bowl
  • nonstick medium saucepan
  • spatula
  • cutting board and long serrated knife
  • plastic wrap or snack bags, optional
Method 

Line the baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, cereal, and salt.

In the saucepan, combine the butter, brown sugar, honey, and sunflower butter.

Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture begins to bubble, stir constantly and boil for two minutes. Remove from heat.

Add in the oat mixture. Stir until everything is evenly coated.

Press into the prepared pan. Using the spatula or the underside of a measuring cup, press down on the mix to create an even layer.

Sprinkle the sunflower seeds and mini chocolate chips evenly over the top. Lightly press down with your fingers just enough to place them without crushing them, as they will be warm and likely melt.

Place the pan in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 20-30 minutes, until firm. (I have left them refrigerated for several hours before cutting. It is simply important that they stay in long enough to be firm for a clean cut.)

Remove the pan from the refrigerator. Lift the granola out of the pan by lifting the overhanging parchment. Set it on a cutting board. Cut it into 6 1-inch strips, and then in half horizontally to create 12 1-inch by 4-inch granola bars. You can wrap them up individually in parchment paper and seal with washi tape or twine, wrap it in plastic wrap, place each in a snack-sized Ziploc, or package them all together in a well-sealed plastic container with a layer of wax paper or parchment paper between layers. Store at room temperature for two weeks or in the refrigerator for four to six weeks.

Pecan Berry Bars:

Time: 15 minutes, 30 minutes chilling
Serves: Makes 12 1”x4.5” granola bars

Ingredients
  • ½ c. pecans, finely chopped
  • 1 ½ c. gluten-free oats
  • 1 ¼ c. gluten-free crisped rice cereal
  • ¼ c. unsalted pumpkin seeds
  • ¼ c. dried cranberries
  • 1 t. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ½ c. brown rice syrup
  • ¼ c. peanut butter
  • 1 t. vanilla
Equipment
  • small baking sheet
  • parchment paper
  • 9-inch square baking dish
  • medium mixing bowl
  • nonstick medium saucepan
  • spatula
  • cutting board and long serrated knife
  • plastic wrap or snack bags, optional
Method 

Preheat oven to 300F. Line the baking dish with parchment paper. Set aside. Finely chop pecans. Place on small baking sheet in an even layer. Roast for 8-10 minutes, until lightly toasted.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, cereal, pumpkin seeds, cranberries, cinnamon, salt, and pecans.

In the saucepan, combine the brown rice syrup and peanut butter.

Heat over medium-low heat, stirring frequently. Once the mixture begins to bubble, remove it from the heat and stir in the vanilla. It will fizz and bubble.

Add the syrup to the oat mixture. Stir until everything is evenly coated. Press into the prepared pan. Spray the underside of a measuring cup with oil and press down on the top very hard to create a solid, even layer. This will help the granola bars stick together after cooling. 

Place the pan in the refrigerator or freezer for at least 20-30 minutes, until firm. (I have left them refrigerated for several hours before cutting. It is simply important that they stay in long enough to be firm for a clean cut.)

Remove the pan from the refrigerator. Lift the granola out of the pan by lifting the overhanging parchment. Set it on a cutting board. Cut it into 6 1-inch strips, and then in half horizontally to create 12 1-inch by 4.5-inch granola bars. You can wrap them up individually in parchment paper and seal with washi tape or twine, wrap it in plastic wrap, place each in a snack-sized Ziploc, or package them all together in a well-sealed plastic container with a layer of wax paper or parchment paper between layers. The use of brown rice syrup makes these stay together better when stored in the refrigerator or freezer. Whenever you want to have them for your outing, however, they will stay just fine packed in your bag.

For a printable version of these recipes click here: Allergy Friendly Snacks on the Go!
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About the Blogger:

Theresa Slott is a local mother of three who is passionate about cooking and family. She co-writes the food blog Cooking for the Fam and loves celebrating events large and small with fun food and DIY creations!