I was thinking about feel good comfort food, had a little root around my kitchen cupboards and then Walnut and Banana Oat Bars happened!

  • Something sweet – but not too sweet – yes.
  • Something filling – but not too filling – yes.
  • Something healthy – but tastes a bit naughty – yes.

OK ‘walnut banana oat bars’ are on!

Baked Banana & Walnut Oat Squares, gluten-free vegan by Anastasia, Kind Earth

I want my walnut banana oat bars to hold together nicely

What I am really looking for is something that holds together nicely. A teeny bit of crumbling here and there is fine – adds to the charm. But basically, you want to be able to slice it like a bar.

It’s like a flapjack (UK) or granola bar (USA)

This bar sort of resembles a flapjack in Britain. A flapjack is an oat bar – except this version is way healthier than the traditional golden syrup sort. You might call it a walnut banana oat granola bar if you are in the USA.

How do I make my walnut banana oat bars gluten-free?

I want my squares to be gluten-free… since my gut disapproves of gluten. In which case, I opt for gluten-free oats.

You’ll find that oats aren’t labelled gluten-free. So if this is a important to you, look at the label. If you aren’t bothered then use regular quick or Scottish oats. 

Oats are actually naturally gluten-free, but normally processed with other gluten grains or grown in fields where they are easily contaminated by other gluten grains (a rather surprising 10% contamination is allowed). Read my article here if this concerns you: Are Oats Gluten-free or Not?

Baked Banana & Walnut Oat Squares, gluten-free vegan by Anastasia, Kind Earth

Oats are surprisingly nutritious

Off the bat, they offer up a good dose of…

  • Manganese (essential for blood-clotting, healthy metabolism of fats & carbohydrates, and blood sugar regulation)
  • Phosphorus (needed for bone health and body maintenance and repair)
  • Magnesium (for muscle and nerve health, strong bones and energy production)
  • Copper (for making red blood cells, a healthy immune system and iron absorption)
  • Iron (for haemoglobin production in red blood cells, which carry oxygen to the whole body – pretty essential tbh)
  • Zinc (needed for DNA & protein synthesis and healing wounds) 

Baked Banana & Walnut Oat Squares, gluten-free vegan by Anastasia, Kind Earth

Oats also are abundant in beta-glucan. This dissolves partially in water and forms a gel-like substance. Beta-glucan is important because it has been shown in studies to reduce LDL cholesterol, to reduce blood sugar levels, whilst also encouraging beneficial bacteria in the gut. 

Who knew!

Baked Banana & Walnut Oat Squares, gluten-free vegan by Anastasia, Kind Earth

Oat Squares - Banana & Walnut Style - Healthy Vegan

Yield: 12 squares
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

A healthy, delicious vegan oat sweet treat. No refined sugar, sweetened with maple syrup and banana. Use gluten-free oats if you want it to be GF.

Ingredients

  • 100g broken walnuts (¾ cup)
  • 150g ground oats (1¼ cup)
  • 150g rolled oats (1⅓ cup)
  • 1 banana (medium sized)
  • 100ml rape seed or coconut oil (⅖ cup)
  • 75ml maple syrup (⅓ cup)
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Measure the dry ingredients and place in a mixing bowl.
  3. Blend the banana, oil, maple syrup and almond extract together with a hand blender or jug blender.
  4. Mix the dry and wet ingredients together thoroughly.
  5. Line a baking dish (approximate size: 21cm x 16cm or 8 x 6 inches) with parchment paper.
  6. Place on a medium to top shelf in the pre-heated oven.
  7. This should take about 25 minutes until baked and gently tanned on top.
  8. Take out and allow to cool before slicing. If you slice when hot, it is likely to crumble a bit more.
  9. Enjoy and let me know how you get on in the comments below.

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Baked Banana & Walnut Oat Squares, gluten-free vegan by Anastasia, Kind Earth