Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

S and I share many traits. We both prefer staying in to going out and partying. We have ambitious Goodreads goals. We appreciate a solid pun. But one point of difference is our tolerance for meal repetition. Although I have no problem with leftovers in general, I need diversity in my meals. Eating the same thing for lunch or dinner every day bores me. S, on the other hand, has been known to make a giant pot of his favorite cold noodle dish on a Sunday and eat it every. single. day. for lunch throughout the week. Me? I’m bored by Tuesday. When a series of events led to him having Chipotle for lunch three days in a row a few months ago, he could’ve kept going for the next week. Me? I’m good with a monthly Chipotle fix.

When it comes to breakfasts, I have marginally more tolerance for repetition. But lately I’ve become bored with overnight oats, my typical summer staple. Well… “bored” is too weak a word for my feelings. “Repulsed by” is too strong, but it’s somewhere between the two poles. The finer distinctions of my current dislike aside, I wanted to make myself a substantial breakfast that would fill me up like oats do but would not require me to eat from a jar. (I’m so over that for now.) Determined to use the quickly browning bananas on my kitchen island, I gathered inspiration from my Blueberry-Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies and my Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal.

Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

The result? Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars, a satisfying breakfast you can eat with your hands—no jar required! My poor reviled oats take on new life in a dense, satisfying square sweetened ever so lightly with brown rice syrup. A few tablespoons of almond butter add filling protein and fat, but the nut-free among you could switch to soy butter with no major flavor changes. I left mine bare, but you could dress up your bars with chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried fruit. (And if you have a sweet tooth, consider adding a tablespoon or two of dark brown sugar to the wet ingredients—I prefer less-sweet breakfasts, but I know not everyone does!)

Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

Makes 9 servings

  • 1 C whole-wheat pastry flour
  • 2 C old-fashioned rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 2 t cinnamon
  • 1/2 t salt
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 2 medium-large very ripe bananas
  • 1 C unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond)
  • 1/4 C brown rice syrup
  • 2 T almond butter
  • 2 T ground flax
  • 2 t vanilla extract
  • Optional add-ins: chocolate chips, chopped nuts, dried fruit

Preheat the oven to 375˚ and prepare an 8″ x 8″ baking pan. I typically use coconut oil, but any oil or spray will do.

In a large bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, mash the bananas very thoroughly—they should be very liquid-y. Add the almond milk, brown rice syrup, almond butter, and vanilla extract and whisk to incorporate fully. Add the ground flax and give the liquid mixture a last stir.

Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine using a wooden spoon or plastic spatula. Pour into the prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25  minutes, or until a toothpick or metal testing tool comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes and then cut into squares… and enjoy your jar-less breakfast.

Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

P.S. Ya dig that cute fabric napkin? There’s a set of six for sale in my Etsy shop!

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

This admission may be blasphemous in most vegan and/or healthy-eating circles, but here it is: I don’t really like bananas. I’ve mentioned it before, but it remains true. We just don’t get along.

Straight-up bananas are what really give me grief. Every so often I think my tastes and texture preferences might’ve changed, and I gamely set forth in a brave quest to conquer a single banana. (Of course, it has to be on the overripe end of the spectrum; any hint of green and the accompanying less-than-ripe smell and I’m gagging before I begin.) I peel it. I take a bite and quickly chew and swallow. This isn’t so bad, I think. I can do this. Then I’m two bites in and I’m remembering why I don’t do this. There’s a slimy mass on the back of my throat and an unpleasant smell in my nose. I force myself to swallow. I gag. I hand the banana off to S, who wonders aloud why on earth I keep doing this to myself.

Why, indeed. Bananas are a perfect on-the-go snack; they come with their own protective suit that keeps them safe in your purse or backpack. I want to be able to eat an entire banana while waiting for a flight without worrying about gagging aloud or having to furtively find a trashcan to dispose of the half-eaten fruit.

But alas, straight-up banana-lovin’ doesn’t seem to be in the cards for me.

I do, however, like bananas in other foods. Muffins. Softserve. And of course, banana bread. I love banana bread.

The thing about banana bread, though, is that I don’t consider it an appropriate breakfast food. Which is not to say that I’ve never indulged in a slice for breakfast, but it never fills me up. Banana bread—and most quick breads—are typically loaded with white flour, oil, and sugar. Not exactly the nutrients needed to get you off to a rip-roarin’ start.

This breakfast, however, combines all the flavors of banana bread in a wholesome, protein-packed baked oatmeal. It appeases both your love (or lukewarm like) of bananas and your need for a filling, nutritious breakfast. And it’s dead easy; everything comes together effortlessly in a blender. Now that’s a banana recipe I can get behind—no gagging involved.

banana-bread-baked-oatmeal_10649160156_o

Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal

Serves four

  • Coconut oil, oil spray, or Earth Balance for buttering the pan
  • 3 very ripe medium-sized bananas
  • 1 cup nondairy milk of choice
  • 2 T ground flax
  • 2 T maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 T blackstrap molasses
  • 1 1/2 t cinnamon
  • 1 t baking powder
  • 1 t vanilla extract
  • 1/2 t nutmeg
  • 1/4 t salt
  • 2 C rolled oats (I like Bob’s Red Mill Rolled Oats)
  • 1/4 C add-in of choice (chopped walnuts, chopped dates, chocolate chips)

Preheat the oven to 375˚. Spread the oil or Earth Balance around the inside of an 8”x8” square baking dish, making sure to cover all sides.

Add the bananas and milk to a blender and blend until fully smooth. Add all other ingredients except the oats and add-ins and blend again to incorporate all ingredients. Add the oats and blend for 30 seconds or so until the oats are partially broken into small pieces but aren’t fully blended.

Pour the mix into your prepared pan and drop any add-ins on top. Using a large spoon, gently fold in the add-ins. For an extra treat, sprinkle the top with a teaspoon or two of brown sugar.

Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the milk doesn’t look liquid-y on top of the oats. Remove from oven and let cool for 3-5 minutes to let set, then serve and enjoy!

Note: This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something through my link, it costs nothing extra for you, but I get a few pennies to help cover hosting costs.

Soft Serve on a Sunday

Remember when I thought I broke the family food processor whilst attempting to make Gena’s banana soft serve? Well. I didn’t break it.

In fact, it’s so very unbroken – and apparently so full of contrition for its previous failure – that it graciously allowed me to succeed at my soft serve-making endeavors. But more on that later, because banana soft serve wasn’t the only raw part of my day.

I’ve been eyeing Gena’s sunflower seed-based pate ever since she posted the recipe, and today I finally got around to trying it. You see, my sister has a fairly severe allergy to nuts, and because I don’t make or bake food that she can’t eat, I’ve not tried out as many raw recipes as I’d like since so many of them are nut-based. Although I personally feel that peanut butter is akin to the wheel as one of the greatest inventions of all time, VeggaSis wouldn’t appreciate it if I baked huge batches of peanut butter cookies every night and gobbled them down in front of her, so I tend to tone down my nut consumption in her presence. After all, sharing is almost the best part of baking and cooking! Almost.

So when Gena posted a recipe for a pate made from sunflower seeds, I was ecstatic. The recipe has been at the back of my mind for a few days now, so when I happened upon a tub of raw sunflower seeds at the grocery store last night, I knew the moment had come. I didn’t realize Gena uses dates in her recipe (to add thickness, I imagine), but since I didn’t have any in the cupboard I just left ’em out. Actually, I added a tiny scoop of raisins, since I figured they’d function similarly. I don’t really like raisins, but my dear friend the food processor chopped them into oblivion, so all’s well that ends well. And end well this recipe did.

Rawsagna!

As you can see, I used the pate in a mini “rawsagna,” nestling the spread between thick slices of zucchini. And since I ended up deconstructing the rawsagna and eating it slice by slice, the extra mound of pate served as a perfect dip. It made for a truly delicious meal; the pate was a little tangy from the lemon, slightly salty, and just substantial enough to fill me up without making my tummy feel uncomfortably full. With a Peanut Butter Cookie Larabar for dessert (hey, I never said I didn’t eat single-serving nutty items!), it was a perfect raw lunch.

And then came the soft serve. Oh, the soft serve. I’ll admit, I was skeptical. First of all, my food processor is obviously temperamental. That’s why I let my frozen banana chunks thaw out a bit before attempting to make this tasty treat. Also, I’m not the hugest fan of banana-flavored things. Never would I ever choose banana flavored ice cream, that’s for sure. So yes, I was skeptical.

But then my food processor decided it was in the mood to do its job. And then I made the soft serve. And then I tasted it.

Soft serve ho!

And reader, I loved it.

Seriously. I was so surprised to discover that not only did the soft serve taste good, but it had an amazingly creamy, light, and fluffy texture! So that’s why the blog world’s been going crazy about Gena’s ingenious invention! I liked this stuff so much that I decided it was perfectly acceptable to eat dessert before dinner. Even if it kinda “melted” and got a little runny when I took it outside for a photo session, it was truly enjoyable. Next time I’ll be sure to keep it in the food processor a little longer.

All in all, today was a super successful Sunday, and I can’t wait ’til Raw Wednesday to eat more sunflower seed pate and try even more delicious raw recipes!