Healthy blueberry bars sweetened with dates, a bit of maple syrup, and delicious frozen blueberries are an easy, gluten free, real food recipe that will become your go-to for snacks and breakfasts.
This recipe is sponsored by the Oregon Blueberry Growers. Some links in this article are affiliate links and if you click on them I will receive a small commission at no cost to you.
I love those fruit and oat bars that you can make (similar to this) or buy (like Clif bars) for afternoon snacks with tea.
The problem is they usually contain enough sugar to make them more of a dessert. And while I'm not trying to go sugar free, I do try to reduce my regular sugar intake any way I can.
I wanted to have a healthy snack, or even quick breakfast option, that I could feel good about, so I set out to create a healthy, low sugar, great tasting bar with one of my favorite fruits - blueberries!
After four tests, the final result is a blueberry bars recipe that tastes wonderful, provides a boost of protein and fiber, and keeps the sugars to a minimum.
And the sugars that are included are the naturally occurring sweetness from dates, maple syrup, and the blueberries themselves.
They are amazing with tea in the afternoon, and we've enjoyed them along with an egg for breakfast with coffee.
Frozen Blueberries To The Rescue
You can make these bars anytime of the year as long as you have some blueberries in your freezer! Hopefully picked at the height of the season from one of our local Oregon U-Pick Farms or one near you.
If you didn’t get to the u-pick fields this year, don’t worry! Frozen Oregon blueberries are also available in the freezer section of your local grocer.
The benefit of using frozen blueberries in this recipe is the moisture from the berries helps bind the bars - and the sweetness of the blueberries spreads throughout them.
Healthy Blueberry Bars Recipe
- Frozen blueberries
- Rolled oats (divided)
- Almond flour
- Butter (or coconut oil)
- Maple syrup (or honey)
- Walnuts, pecans, or other nut
- 8x8 baking pan, glass or metal (Note: a 9x9 will make the bars much thinner)
- measuring cups and spoons
- 5-cup or bigger food processor (this is the one I have)
- parchment paper
For this recipe it's best if the blueberries are slightly thawed. To do that, simply measure the berries into a bowl before starting to make the recipe and let them sit out at room temperature while continuing.
I like to line the 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving extra on 2 sides to act as handles to remove bars because it makes it so easy to cut the bars. Alternately, you can grease the pan and cut the bars in the pan after they've cooled.
The food processor makes this recipe so easy and quick! Use it first to grind the nuts for the topping.
Remove the nuts from the bowl for later and then add 1 cup of the oats, grinding them fine, almost into an oat flour.
Add the remaining dry ingredients, pulse, and then add the dates, butter, syrup, and vanilla. Pulse until the dates are chopped before adding the egg and then the remaining oats.
Toss the thawing blueberries into the food processor and pulse a few times. The mixture will turn purple in areas, but should still have some whole and half berries remaining.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing down to spread evenly. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and press lightly down to help adhere to the bars.
Bake for about 20 minutes, let cool completely, and then cut into bars.
Two Options for Cutting Blueberry Bars
You have two choices for cutting the bars. You can cut them like I show here in 16 small squares (the nutrition information in the recipe is based on 16 bars), which is a good snack size.
Or you can cut them into longer bars, cutting once down the middle and then the opposite way 6 times to create 12 longer bars. This is a good shape for breakfast bars with a nutrition analysis of 149 cal, 18g carb, 4g protein, 8g fat, 3g fiber, and 8g sugar.
What makes these blueberry bars healthy?
Blueberries, of course! In addition to being delicious, blueberries are powerful disease fighters, carrying four essential nutrients, including fiber, vitamin C, vitamin K & manganese. They are a rich source of antioxidants, and help pump up your immune system.
While the bars are chock full of more good-for-you real foods - oats, almond flour, dates (which have antioxidants, too), eggs, and nuts - they are also low in sugar.
Typical bars like this (usually the crumb versions) contain 18-27 grams sugar and 250-400 calories - for one small square. For the same size bar, this recipe has a little over 100 calories, 3 grams protein, 2 grams fiber, and only 6 grams of natural sugar.
For a store bought comparison, an oatmeal raisin walnut Clif bar (which I think these blueberry bars resemble) has similar protein and fiber, but more than double the calories and 21 grams of sugar. Not to mention a lot more ingredients.
Homemade wins again!
Can I make this recipe using a blender?
I've only used the food processor, so I can't say for sure. I know you could use a blender, if that's all you have, to grind the oats and then the dates (separately) and then just mix all the ingredients in order in a bowl. You'll have to experiment with that.
How do you store the blueberry bars?
You can keep the blueberry bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for about a week. When frozen, the bars will last up to 3 months.
Pro Tip: Wrap the bars individually (or in reusable snack bags) and keep in a larger container in the freezer for quick grab-and-go breakfasts and snacks.
Can I make these dairy free? Vegan?
To make these dairy free, use the coconut oil option.
For vegan bars, you will need to experiment with an egg substitute that will still help to bind the bars together, like a flax seed substitute. I haven't tried it, so if you do and it works well, let us know in the comments!
Healthy Blueberry Bars
- 8x8-inch baking pan
- 7-cup or larger food processor
- 1 cup frozen blueberries, thawed slightly
- 1/3 cup nuts, walnuts, pecans, almonds, cashews
- 1 ¾ cup rolled oats, divided
- 1/2 cup almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup quartered dates
- 2 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 large egg
- Measure the frozen blueberries into a bowl and let them sit on the counter while proceeding with the recipe.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees and line an 8x8-inch baking pan with parchment, leaving extra on 2 sides to act as handles to remove bars (alternately, you can grease the pan and cut the bars in the pan).
- If you need to chop the nuts finely, add them to the bowl of a food processor and whir until fine. Remove them to a bowl for later.
- Into the food processor, measure 1 cup of the rolled oats and whir until fine to make oat flour, about 15 seconds. To the oat flour add the almond flour and salt and pulse a couple times to mix.
- Add the dates to the mixture in the processor and pulse until roughly chopped. Add butter or oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and egg. Process about 15 seconds until mixture starts to come together. Add remaining 3/4 cup of oats and pulse about 10 times to mix.
- Toss the thawing blueberries into processor and pulse a few times. The mixture will turn purple in areas, but should still have some whole berries remaining.
- Scrape the mixture into the prepared pan, pressing down to spread evenly. Sprinkle with the chopped nuts and press lightly down to help adhere to the bars.
- Bake 20 to 25 minutes until just starting to brown around the edges. Place pan on a wired rack to cool completely before cutting (or set in the freezer for about an hour to hurry it along).
- Cut the bars into 16 regular square bars or cut once down the middle and then the opposite way 6 times to create 12 longer bars.
- Store in the fridge for 1 week and freeze for up to 3 months.
More Blueberry Recipes to Try
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