Are you a morning person?
I am. In fact, I may be one of those annoyingly cheerful people in the mornings.
I like getting up early (which means I sometimes sleep at an embarrassingly early time as well), working out first thing in the morning, and taking my time getting ready for work. I hate having to rush and being late so plenty of time in the morning is necessary. But also, I like mornings because I love breakfast.
During the weekend, I treat myself to a nice, luxurious brunch, but during weekdays, I prefer quick and healthy meals. And these Almond Butter Granola Bars are perfect for mornings.
Quick? Yes, you can make these ahead so it’s just grab-and-go when you need it. Healthy? Well it’s made with almond butter, old-fashioned oats, brown rice crisps, sliced almonds, chopped dates, dried cherries, dark chocolate chips, honey, and coconut oil. That’s a lot of ingredients packed into these bars, but it’s all good-for-you stuff. Like, real nutritious things – not the kind where I trick myself I’m eating a salad when I’m actually eating cake. Promise!
I was originally going to make some simple no-bake bars from Minimalist Baker but I kept tinkering with the recipe and before I knew it, I was adding dried fruit and coconut oil and heating up my oven while pressing this granola mixture into my trusty brownie pan. I suspect you can still skip the baking and eat this raw (I won’t tell you how many tablespoons I ate raw myself) but baking sets it and helps the flavors meld together a little better. The nutty coconut smell wafting from my oven was just an added bonus.
One thing to note about these bars is that while they are healthy and made with wholesome ingredients, they are dense and high in calories. Each bar will fill you up! So you might want to further cut it into squares for a more manageable size, especially if you’re the type who wants to eat more than just a granola bar for breakfast. I like eating a small square before a workout, or pairing with a banana and a glass of milk for a more substantial meal. Crumbling a square into Greek yogurt is also good. Eating the crumbs by rolling up the parchment paper into a cone and aiming it straight into your mouth is even better. Just make sure no one is watching.
Like my other favorite breakfasts, there’s a lot of texture in these granola bars. And lots of flavor! The dried cherries add a nice burst of tartness, the chopped dates add some sweet caramel flavor, the almond butter and almonds taste like… almonds, and the coconut oil perfumes the whole thing in tropical bliss. Dark chocolate chips are optional but not really.
Almond Butter Granola Bars
1 cup almond butter
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons coconut oil
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 cup brown rice crisps
1/2 cup pitted and chopped medjool dates (around 6 large dates)
1/4 cup dried cherries
1/2 cup sliced almonds
1/4 cup mini chocolate chips (optional)
- Preheat oven to 300 F.
- Combine the almond butter, honey, and coconut oil, and heat in microwave for 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds.
- In a large bowl, combine all remaining ingredients. Pour almond butter mixture over dry ingredients and mix well.
- Press mixture in an 8x8 parchment paper-lined baking pan, and bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Let cool completely before cutting into bars or squares.
What’s your favorite quick and healthy breakfast?