The name of the game this week: healthy, portable, cutlery-free, security scan-safe snacking that tastes better than anything you’ll find in an airport.
One of the recent recipe requests I got was from a reader named Marie. She asked for a few sweet but healthy snacks she could pack for an upcoming trip, and her ask couldn’t have been more timely.
As luck would have it, while my LA trip had to be postponed, it just so happens that I’ll be off to Chicago next month. (Not for vacation though – it’s to geek out at an email marketing conference.) I figured it would be a great time to test out some new homemade granola bars, and regardless of whether you’re hopping on a plane, I think you’ll like these too!
If you’ve made any of my previous granola bars, it probably won’t take long to realize that I like to use the same base recipe and tweak the mix-ins depending on the flavours I’m craving. In these DIY Fruit and Nut ‘Birdseed’ Bars, the name says it all – we’re going wild on the fruit, nuts and seeds! Pumpkin, chia, hemp, sunflower, sesame – so many healthy fats, fiber, skin-nourishing vitamin E, not to mention awesome texture and flavour, too.
I used almond butter as one of my binding ingredients, but if you prefer, you can swap this for another fairly neutral-tasting nut butter (not peanut) or sunflower seed butter. The version I made with tahini didn’t quite stick together as well, but could be used in a pinch.
Regardless of your nut butter choice, these beauties are super convenient for travel (even if that’s just on your daily commute), and require zero baking time. Simply mix, press them in a pan, freeze to set, then chop them into bars. They also freeze well when individually wrapped and stored in a sealed container. Double batch? Sounds like a good idea to me!
DIY Fruit and Nut ‘Birdseed’ Bars
Don’t get caught hangry: These easy DIY Fruit and Nut ‘Birdseed’ Bars are must-haves on your crazy days. (They’re also healthier and far more delish than store-bought granola bars!)
- Prep Time: 15 mins (+ freezing)
- Cook Time: 0 mins
- Total Time: 15 mins
- Yield: 8-10 bars
- Category: snack
- Method: no-bake
- 1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 1/2 cups brown crispy rice cereal
- 1/4 cup EACH raw cashew halves or pieces, slivered almonds and pumpkin seeds
- 2 tbsp EACH chia seeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seeds and sesame seeds
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- pinch of sea salt
- 1/3 cup chopped dried fruit (I used dried cranberries and apricots)
- 1/2 cup brown rice syrup
- 1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey, if not vegan)
- 1/3 cup natural organic almond butter
- 1 tsp vanilla
- Line a pan (about 8×8″) with parchment paper to prevent sticking. Let the parchment hang over the edges so that you can use them as handles later. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients except the dried fruit.
- In a small saucepan over medium heat, stir together the brown rice syrup, maple syrup and almond butter until warm and smooth.
- Once the consistency of the wet mixture is thin, switch off the heat and stir in the vanilla.
- Slowly pour the wet ingredients into the dry bowl, stirring well to incorporate and coat as much of the dry ingredients as possible.
- Finally, stir in the dried fruit.
- Press the granola into the lined baking pan in an even layer, spreading it into all four corners. (It helps to use the back of a flipper to ensure the layer is as smooth and flat as possible.)
- Set the pan in the freezer for 2-3 hours and allow the dough to firm up. (They’re easiest to cut when they’re semi-frozen.)
- When ready, slice with a sharp knife and wrap individually. Store in the fridge, or freeze in a sealed container.
A few more travel-friendly picks: