These muesli bars are kind of like granola bars, but are only mildly sweet and have a softer texture to them. They are hearty and chewy with just the right amount of crunch from the seeds. In fact, they taste very much like a dense banana bread. They are vegan, grain-free, nut-free, and have no added sugar.
There are two types of bananas – unripe and ripe.
My sister won’t eat a banana unless the peel is still greenish, at least at the tips. When bananas turn dark yellow, forget it. She just throws the whole bunch away because she can’t even stand the smell. My husband, on the other hand, thinks that unless a banana is bright yellow, it’s too sour. My 4-year old won’t even touch a banana unless it has a few brown spots because it’s not sweet enough (or at least that’s what she tells me). Madness.
I wonder if there’s the best time to eat a banana or if it just depends on one’s personal taste. I prefer overripe bananas because then I get to use them in baking. Fruit and vegetable purees are very fun to bake with. Almost anything can be pureed to use as a binder in baking, but the most common options are apple sauce, bananas, pumpkin puree, sweet potato puree, and zucchini puree.
Fruit purees are particularly great in baking because they provide a lot of sweetness. This is what they call “having your cake and eating it too,” right? (In this case, it’s muesli bars).
Tips for Making Muesli Bars
I have made these muesli bars countless times and always use different ingredients. It’s a very flexible and forgiving recipes. The only thing you’ll need to follow is the ratio of ingredients.
The sweetener and a binder here are bananas. They don’t provide any lift but are quite light in volume. If you don’t like bananas, this recipe is probably not for you because the bananas do impart a slight banana flavor to the muesli bars.
The bulking ingredient here are quinoa flakes. They have the same mild, slightly nutty flavor that quinoa does and a light texture, making the muesli bars softer than if you used other flakes. That being said, you can substitute quinoa flakes with any flakes you like – oat, buckwheat, amaranth … anything goes.
Finally, the add-ins. I used sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, hemp seeds, and dried fruit. I also like to add spices, such as cinnamon and vanilla. If you love chocolate, add chocolate chips. If you’re trying to limit your sugar intake, replace the dried fruit with coconut flakes. Not a fan of seeds? Substitute them with nuts.
My daughter is 4 years old and she makes these muesli bars herself. Yes, the recipe is that easy. All you have to do is mash the bananas, add all the other ingredients, and mix until well combined.
The one tip I would have is to work as quickly as possible. Bananas contain an enzyme called polyphenol oxidase, which reacts with oxygen and causes the bananas to discolor. If you take your time, the granola bars will turn out quite dark. Fortunately, polypenol oxidase is less active when heated. So, if you work quickly and put the muesli bars in the oven in a few minutes, the bananas won’t really change their color.
The bars do tend to stick, so I always use parchment paper to line the baking dish. Really pack the mixture down and smooth out the top. Bake the muesli bars until firm and golden brown on top. The bars do firm up even more as they cool, so wait at least 30 minutes before you cut them.
More Muesli Bar Recipes
I love granola bars. I probably make them more than any other snack or dessert. I actually think of granola bars in categories.
First, there are these muesli bars, which are comparable to breakfast bars. They are only slightly sweet with lots of ingredients I would normally eat for breakfast – quinoa flakes (or oats), seeds, dried fruit, bananas …
Then there are energy bars – dense, sweet, with lots of high-energy foods, such as dates, nuts, and nut butter. They provide a quick source of energy or even a meal replacement.
And finally, we have granola bars, aka candy bars – sweet, snappy, and crunchy. They are more of a dessert than a healthy snack, which is not a bad thing as long as you’re treating them that way.
Tools You’ll Need
1. Knife Set (6 Pieces, Utopia, Stainless Steel) | 2. Cutting Board (24″x 18″, Michigan Maple Block, Maple) | 3. Mixing Bowls (Set of 3, Pyrex, Glass) | 4. Baking Dish (3 Quart & 2 Quart, Pyrex, Glass) | 5. Measuring Cups (Set of 6, Bellemain, Stainless Steel) | 6. Measuring Spoons (Set of 6, 1Easylife, Stainless Steel)
Nutrition Refined is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites — at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support!
- Mash the bananas. Add the bananas into a large bowl and mash until smooth
- Mix all the ingredients. Add the quinoa flakes, seeds, dried fruit, and vanilla into the large bowl with the bananas and mix to combine.
- Bake. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C. Transfer the mixture into an 8 x 8 inch/20 x 20 cm parchment paper-lined baking dish and press firmly into an even layer. Bake the muesli bars until firm and lightly golden around the edges, about 25 minutes. Allow the bars to cool completely, then cut into 12 even bars.
- Store. Leftover muesli bars keep well in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 10 days. For longer term storage, freeze in an airtight container with a piece of parchment paper in between each muesli bar (so they don't stick together as they freeze) for up to 3 months.
*Another great brand I use is GoGo Quinoa, which I believe is only available in Canada.
**Nutrition information is approximate and may contain errors. Please, feel free to make your own calculations.
This recipe has been adapted from Oh She Glows.