Healthy Brownie Granola Bars

Healthy Brownie Granola Bars! Naturally sweetened, 7 ingredients, and SO moist and delicious it's like a candy bar but healthy!

Hello friends! How was your weekend? Awesome, I hope.

John and I did some relaxing, brunching, pizza-ing, and working on a new food photography product. I also bought and returned a pair of overpriced yoga pants out of sheer buyer’s remorse. Does that ever happen to you? Sometimes, we just have to make mistakes like that in life.

It’s been a week since I’ve eaten ALL of these granola bars, but I’m still dreaming about them and peeking in the freezer to make sure I didn’t overlook one last piece. They’re that good.

Cacao Powder

These brownie granola bars kind of started out as a failure. The idea was to make date-sweetened brownies and I resorted to adapting my go-to Vegan GF Black Bean Brownies. Problems ensued. I ate one and had to throw the rest away. Not good. Not good at all.

Back to the drawing board.

Healthy Brownie Granola Bars with Toasted Oats and NutsSUPER healthy, naturally sweetened BROWNIE Granola Bars! Just 7 ingredients to a snack that tastes more like a candy bar!

In life do you ever find yourself trying to fit a square peg in a round hole? That’s what I was doing with these brownies. I wanted date-sweetened brownies but the blog universe was telling me something different.

When I’m trying to fit my square recipe into a round hole, I rethink it. The result was a simple, naturally-sweetened, healthy granola bar that was a little on the decadent side – just the way I like it.

Easy MEGA delicious Brownie Granola Bars that are actually healthy! 7 ingredients and naturally sweetened!

These bars DO indeed taste like a raw brownie.
They require just 7 ingredients.
They’re no bake, aside from toasting your oats and nuts (an optional step).
They’re loaded with antioxidants, fiber, protein and healthy fats.
They’re incredibly satisfying.
They’re perfect for breakfast, dessert or a quick snack.
They’re freezer-friendly.
They’re uber chocolatey.
They’re really just kind of perfect.

Brownie Granola Bars - 7 ingredients, naturally sweetened and SO DANG DELICIOUS

So what do they taste like? Supreme awesomeness. They’re

Rich
Dense
Moist
SUPER chocolatey
Nutty
Oaty
Slightly crunchy
Perfectly sweet
Mega filling

I did have one for breakfast and found it quite filling. But for the most part I ate these as a healthy dessert. I’d go to the freezer, break off 1/3 and snack. Then repeat for the next 30 minutes until it was gone. Self control comes in waves, people, especially with these bars.

Healthy 7-ingredient BROWNIE Granola Bars! Loaded with oats and nuts and naturally sweetened. You MUST try this recipe!

You MUST try these bars and let me know what you think! Tag a photo (#minimalistbaker) on Instagram or @minimalistbaker on Twitter so I can see how lovely yours turn out. Happy brownie making!

Easy Healthy BROWNIE Granola Bars! Just 7 ingredients and naturally sweetened. Perfect for on-the-go breakfast or post-workout snacks!

4.9 from 15 reviews
Healthy Brownie Granola Bars
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
7-ingredient granola bars that taste just like a raw brownie! No baking required besides toasting the nuts and oats – an optional step. Simple, all naturally-sweetened and so delicious.
Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast, Snack
Cuisine: Vegan, Gluten Free
Serves: 12
Ingredients
  • 1.5 cups rolled oats (GF for gluten free eaters)
  • 1 cup raw nuts, roughly chopped ( I used 1/2 cup almonds, 1/2 cup pecans)
  • 1 cup raw walnuts
  • 2 cups pitted dates, soaked for 10 minutes in warm water, then drained
  • 3/4 cup cocoa or cacao powder
  • 1/4 cup natural salted almond butter (or peanut butter)
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar, maple syrup, or honey if not vegan
Instructions
  1. Optional step: Toast your oats and pecans in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes or until slightly golden brown. Otherwise, leave them raw – I prefer the toasted flavor.
  2. Process walnuts in a food processor until a loose meal is reached. Remove from bowl and set aside.
  3. Add dates and process until small bits remain (about 1 minute). It should form a “dough” like consistency. (Mine rolled into a ball.)
  4. Add walnut meal and cocoa or cacao powder back in with the dates and process to combine.
  5. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl and add the (toasted) oats and nuts and stir to combine. You may have to use your hands to really incorporate the mixture well.
  6. Next, warm honey and almond butter in a small skillet over medium heat for 2-3 minutes until combined and pourable. Pour over brownie mixture and then thoroughly using a wooden spoon. (I opted to put plastic bags on my hands and mix that way to better incorporate the mixture.)
  7. Once thoroughly mixed, transfer to a 9×13 dish (or similar size pan) lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper so they lift out easily.
  8. If using a 9×13, ONLY USE 3/4 of the pan so they have the proper thickness. Otherwise they’ll be too thin. Cover with parchment or plastic wrap and press down firmly to even out the top. Freeze for 15-20 minutes to harden.
  9. Lift bars from pan and chop into 12 even bars (or more if you prefer). Store in an airtight container in the freezer or fridge to keep them extra fresh. They will get a little sticky when left out at room temp.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bar Calories: 352 Fat: 20g Saturated fat: 2.2g Carbohydrates: 41g Sugar: 25g Sodium: 3mg Fiber: 7.4g Protein: 8.2g

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Comments

    • Dana Shultz says

      Thanks friend! I’m surprised I had time to style these without eating them all ;D (no seriously)

  1. says

    Raw brownies are so amazing, aren’t they? I think everyone in my family can agree that the best brownies I’ve made are raw + vegan. (which is awesome!) These brownie bars look incredible. Like, seriously. Perfect.
    Pinning!

  2. says

    Argh, I feel for you there. One of the things I really can’t stand is wasting food, so its an absolute nightmare when I screw up a recipe and have to throw it away! (Not that it happens often, but still. xD) Especially since its only ever really with oven/batch-based things that it happens, so high quantities of good ingredients are wasted… Not to mention the money and time. But I guess chucking the result and washing your hands of it is better than forcing yourself to eat it just out of guilt/to get rid of it and trying to create the delusion that it tastes ok… that’s nasty and I’ve sworn never to do it again. XD

    I love the idea of combining chocolate brownies and granola bars! These look so rich and delicious, and not dry in the slightest, which is the one thing I’m sometimes less keen on with granola bars:D

  3. says

    Where do you buy your dates? I found that in Washington state it’s not that easy to buy them, or maybe it’s just my amazing searching skills… I know they sell them at winco idk if you know winco but it’s kinda low quality store, not sure if I should buy them there.. Or it doesn’t matter?

  4. Sher says

    re: dates question above
    I am in Oregon and have bought dates at Fred Meyers and Haggens Grocery stores no problem. Freddies even has them in the bulk section!

    My question is…
    I have always wondered about eating oatmeal RAW
    is that ok?
    hard to digest?
    or good and fiberfull etc
    idk :)

    • Dana Shultz says

      Sher, good question! To be honest, I’m probably not qualified to answer a question about digestion. If you’re worried about consuming them raw, definitely toast them up for easier absorption. I prefer their flavor/texture this way anyway. Hope that helps!

      • Sher says

        Thanks Dana :)
        PS I just LOVE your photos…all of them!
        sometimes I don’t have time to read everything but I ALWAYS look at all the pictures :)

  5. says

    I’ve made something like this before, but I have to say, yours look so much better! I love the texture you have going with the larger nut chunks. And pecans and oats, too? Yum! Thanks so much for sharing.

  6. says

    I’ve never made granola bars! These look like a hearty, delicious snack. Re: yoga pants, Old Navy makes amazing yoga pants and you can get them for $15 a piece if you buy them at 30% off. I might own six pairs…

  7. April says

    I saw this recipe, got excited/started drooling, already had all needed ingredients, so went ahead and made these last night! I cut them this morning and ohhhh my goodness. Total yumfest. I’m glad I took your recommendation of toasting the oats & pecans – the flavor it adds is awesome! I used an 8×8 pan and ended up cutting my bars thin and got a ton out of this recipe. My almond butter was raw unsalted so I threw in some sea salt (& sprinkled some on top before I froze). Great recipe! Y’all def need to make. This will be seen again in my kitchen for sure. Perfect amount of crunch, chocolate and toasted oatiness. Glad this “mistake” happened!

    • Dana Shultz says

      I get mine at Aldi’s for super cheap (deglet nour), and for medjool Trader Joe’s has great quality ones in the refrigerator section. Most health food stores carry them, too.

      • says

        It’s also great to get dates at an Arabic grocer. Typically, dates from the gulf are vacuum packed and soaking in their own juices! The come out gooey, completely caramelized and incredibly sweet. They are perfect for recipes because they don’t require soaking and you can use half the amount :-) making these bars now and the “batter” tastes ridiculous!

  8. says

    These look seriously amazing Dana. How is it possible that something so super-deliciously indulgent can also be healthy? You’re a miracle worker, my friend! Definitely trying these xx

  9. Katherine B says

    Yumm, these look great and I’ll have to try making them! I bet you could grind up some raw oats and coat the outside of the bars in them so they don’t get as sticky!

  10. Katie M says

    I made these a couple of days ago, and I have almost single-handedly finished the whole batch! ;) This recipe is absolutely delicious, very customizable (I didn’t have pecans or almond butter, so I used chopped almonds and peanut butter, and it turned out great!), and so nutritious because of the raw cacao powder.
    However, I am aware that medjool dates are particularly high in calories and (natural) sugar. I wonder if mashed bananas could be used in replacement of the dates?

  11. says

    Wow! Absolutely delicious. I’m sure they would have been even better if I didn’t rush through reading the recipe (I was trying to get the noisy stuff done before nap time). In my haste, I toasted all of the nuts and oats together, and then still rushing I poured the entire baking sheet into the processor and processed the oats, the walnuts, the pecans and the almonds. As I was pressing them into the pan, I finally noticed “hey that doesn’t look like a granola bar- it almost looks like a Larabar” I quickly reread the recipe, and of course I immediately saw my mistakes. Well, mistakes aside this is delicious! I’ll definitely be trying your recipe again, the CORRECT way, once this batch has been devoured, which should be in a couple of days. Thanks again!

  12. says

    These bars are DECADENT! I have made them a few times, and most recently substituted 1/4 cup of the cocoa powder for chocolate protein powder. They were just as delicious! They always get rave reviews, and I love making them for/with my clients. Thanks for a keeper!

  13. Amanda says

    Awesome! Bars are in the freezer… ate some of the mixture before pressing it into bars and was very impressed. What a perfect consistency. I’m a pretty avid bar maker (eat them before the gym), and am super excited about these.
    About the digestibility thing… I’m not too strict with the “no raw grains” etc., stuff, but in this case instead of using rolled oats I used buckwheat groats that I had sprouted and dehydrated previously. I do this often and keep them stored for recipes like this after dehydrating. I do this with nuts too (sometimes). You could always soak and rinse your rolled oats to promote digestibility, but it might make your bars mushy without dehydrating after. I haven’t tried! Or, just go along with eating raw stuff as long as your body feels ok :)

    • Dana Shultz says

      thanks for sharing! I don’t cook with buckwheat much but will look into it more, especially the sprouting thing. Interesting info!

  14. says

    oh.my.goodness! Thank you so very much! I made these heavenly bars yesterday, and actually have to talk myself out of the entire kitchen! The pull is strong!!

    Everyone loves them – friends, neighbors, my husband, everyone! It was hard letting any go, but I knew I had to, or some serious damage would be done in the wee hours…

    Thank you!

    I want one…or all that remain…now!

    ; )

  15. PatrickGSR94 says

    Just made these and they are sooooo yummmmmyyyyyy!!!!! :-)

    I didn’t have quite enough dates left on hand (after making the 5-ingredient bars last time hah) and also didn’t have quite enough nuts on hand. I used only about 1 cup of oatmeal to try to match the amount of dates and nuts, and also less cocoa powder. I did add dried apples and dried cranberries in, though. I also added in 1 scoop of protein powder for a little extra punch. Then I used the regular amount of peanut butter and honey. I was trying to keep it from being too dry and crumbly which was my problem on the 5-ingredient bars. I think it came out just perfectly. I put it in a 9×9 dish and into the freezer for 20 minutes, and they all cut perfectly. I got maybe 10 or 12 bars out of it. Much better than the store where you only get 5 per box!

    • Dana Shultz says

      Any other moist dried fruit should work, raisins and dried cherries being the best options. Hope that helps!

  16. Amanda says

    I made these and they turned out great although mine was a slightly different version. I forgot to buy walnuts so I didn’t have them in my recipe. I used the oats to make the “meal” since I didn’t want the whole oats in there anyway.

  17. says

    Hello! I made your chocolate chip almond butter granola bars last night and they are so good! My question about this recipe is whether you used sweetened or unsweetened cocoa powder. Thanks in advance!

  18. says

    This was perfect! I substituted the pecans with cashews because I don’t like pecans and I used dark chocolate cocoa powder. I’m having a tough time trying not to eat them all in one sitting! They taste amazing!

    My podcast “Common Room” is going to feature your bars on our next episode. We are doing a feature on ‘space food’ so I needed something that was nutrient rich (high protein, fat) yet tastes good and could stay together in low/zero gravity. These sounded perfect! And they are! Thanks!

  19. Ziya says

    Hello and thank you for this awesome recipe ! :D
    I can’t wait to make these bars but as I’m French, my English is quite bad haha so I guess I’ll have to translate the whole recipe ! Anyway, these bars seems sooo tasty and really nutritious. Thank you once again !

  20. says

    These sound delicious! Unfortunately I’m a broke college student with no access to a food processor or blender. Do you have any suggestions for how I could adapt this for a simpler kitchen?

  21. Jackie says

    Hi there!

    I make my own vegan granola but have never taken the time to make my own granola bars (why? I have no clue! it’s all the same amount of work!). I came across this recipe on Buzzfeed and it is GOLD! Thank you SO much for sharing it! Now, I make my own **vegan** granola bars all the time, thanks to this recipe!

    I’m a university student, so eating healthy and making sure I’m not just grabbing the easiest (and unhealthiest) food during crunch-time (i.e. exam time!) is so important! This recipe is a godsent and I even make more batches for friends :)

    FYI, I use coconut milk and almond butter as the binder, and add a little bit of hand-ground chai-tea mix to give these bars a Christmas-y taste :) YUMMY!

    Thanks again for creating these!

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