These tropical granola bars are a chewy, sweet snack you can feel good about. If you make them in advance, they keep well in the fridge, individually wrapped in plastic wrap, for a grab-and-go snack that will satisfy a sweet tooth and tame a growling stomach.
Have you ever looked at the ingredients list on a box of granola bars? I did the other day, and found that most had sugar (in some form or another) listed as the first ingredient, followed by even more sugar a little further down the list. After seeing this, I just couldn’t bring myself to buy a box of granola bars. So, I resolved to make my own.
I quickly found that most recipes for homemade granola bars don’t do much better in the sugar department, though. Luckily, after a little experimentation, I found a winning combination of my own. These homemade tropical granola bars are easy to make and absolutely delicious. Plus, they’re made with only ¼ cup of sweetener!
After trying a few different combinations, I’ve realized that granola bars are amazingly versatile. The flavor possibilities are endless. So, as an added bonus of making your own granola bars, you get a whole new realm of granola bar flavors not sold in your supermarket. This particular blend captures some of my favorite tropical flavors: pineapple, mango, and coconut.
Just close your eyes, take a bite, and picture yourself under a palm tree!
- 2 cups rolled oats
- 1 cup crisp rice cereal
- ⅔ cup chopped dried pineapple (unsweetened and unsulfured)
- ⅓ cup chopped dried mango (unsweetened and unsulfured)
- ⅓ cup + 2 tablespoons unsweetened shredded coconut (separated)
- ¼ cup flax seed meal
- ⅓ cup raw almond butter (no added salt or sugar)
- ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
- ¼ cup coconut nectar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Combine the oats, rice cereal, pineapple, mango, and ⅓ cup of coconut in a large bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the remaining ingredients (flax seed meal through salt). Pour the wet mixture over the dry ingredients and mix well, until there are no dry pieces.
- Line a 9 x 13 pan with parchment paper and lightly oil the paper. Pour the granola bar mixture into the pan and press it down, using the back of a measuring cup. Sprinkle the top with the reserved shredded coconut and press down to adhere the coconut to the top of the bars.
- Bake for about 25 minutes. Allow the bars to cool completely in the pan before removing and cutting.
- Wrap each bar individually and store in the refrigerator.
Note: I made these bars in a 7 x 11 pan because the 9 x 13 pan I’d usually use was otherwise occupied. As a result, I ended up cutting these bars a bit larger and getting eight (big) granola bars, rather than twelve.