May I offer you a slice of this almond butter + strawberry jam breakfast bar?
As I mentioned on Instagram the other day and probably on Snapchat too, these breakfast bars are one of my favorite blog creations this year. What started out as a random idea just a few weeks back quickly transformed into something altogether awesome.
Let’s just say if a fruit crumble, an energy ball, and a granola bar had a baby, this would be it. And if my childhood memories serve me correctly, their overall flavor is reminiscent of a nutritious version of that bizarre (yet delicious) strawberry pretzel salad made popular by the 1980s. The use of the word “salad” here always confused me. I mean, really? This “salad” (i.e., a layered concoction of strawberry Jell-O, cream cheese, and pretzels) is a dessert in a Jell-O mold’s clothes, if I’ve ever seen one. But to each her own.
If that last flavor comparison gave you a case of the 80s flashback weirds, don’t worry, I’ve got your back. Just take a long, peaceful glance at this stack of goodness and all will be well once again. . .
See, it’s all peace, love, and vegan breakfast bars up in here, am I right?
These bars are an updated, breakfast-friendly, oil-free remix of the no-bake cherry chia crumble bars I shared last summer (a year ago yesterday, actually). They’re packed with dietary fiber, protein, potassium, manganese, copper, Vitamin E, and blood-sugar balancing biotin. They do contain a small amount of coconut sugar (about 1/3 cup total) and pure maple syrup (2 tablespoons). If that’s not your breakfast jam (pun unintended), opt to enjoy them as a subtly sweet snack or feel-good dessert instead.
The no-bake crust is made by pulsing together a combination of ground rolled oats and raw almonds, almond butter, dates, coconut sugar, and sea salt. Upon first glance (see upper left and right photos), the crust appears altogether crumbly but when pressed, it easily compacts and holds together (see lower left and right photos).
I love that this no-bake crust isn’t dense, chewy, and heavy like most raw or no-bake vegan crusts. Rather, its texture is sturdy yet light like a baked crust, and its flavor reminds me of graham cracker crust. A win-win.
While the crust sets in the freezer, you’ll whip up a batch of 15-minute strawberry jam.
Bring frozen strawberries (they work better than fresh in this recipe), a bit of filtered water, and a drizzle of maple syrup to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12 minutes, or until the berries break down into a sauce (a little assistive mashing with the back of a fork is welcomed).
Then, stir in a tablespoon of ground chia seed (see recipe notes for how to make your own) and continue to heat for another minute or two to thicken.
The finished strawberry jam looks like this. . .
If you can multitask a bit, I recommend preparing the crumble topping while the jam simmers—it comes together in 5 minutes or less.
Simply mash together almond meal, rolled oats, almond butter, coconut sugar, and sea salt until you have medium-size crumbles (see upper right photo ↓).
Slather the jam over the crust, sprinkle the crumble on top, and return the pan to the freezer for one hour, or until the bar is set firmly enough to slice.
Once the bar is set, remove it from the pan and slice like so. . .
Then, serve them up. . .
Store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freeze them for up to two weeks.
If you refrigerate them, you can enjoy them straight away. However, if you freeze them, let them sit at room temperature for 15 minutes or so before sinking your fork (or teeth) in. I hope you enjoy these bars as much as I do!
No-Bake Almond Butter + Strawberry Jam Breakfast Bars
These no-bake vegan, gluten-free bars are an updated, breakfast-friendly, oil-free remix of these no-bake cherry chia crumble bars. They're packed with dietary fiber, protein, potassium, manganese, copper, Vitamin E, and blood-sugar balancing biotin. They do contain a small amount of coconut sugar (about 1/3 cup total) and pure maple syrup (2 tablespoons). If that's not your breakfast jam (pun unintended), opt to enjoy them as a subtly sweet snack or feel-good dessert instead.
The no-bake almond butter crust is made by pulsing together a combination of ground rolled oats and raw almonds, almond butter, dates, coconut sugar, and sea salt. Unlike most no-bake crusts, which tend to be dense and chewy, this crust is sturdy yet light. Plus, its flavor reminds me of graham cracker crust. A win-win. It's topped with a naturally sweetened strawberry chia jam.
No-Bake Almond Butter + Oat Crust
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
- 3 tablespoons filtered water
- 1/2 cup raw almonds
- 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup natural unsalted almond butter (thoroughly stirred before measuring)
- 1/2 cup pitted and packed medjool dates (about 6 large dates)
- 1/4 cup coconut sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 pound (453g) frozen strawberries
- 2 tablespoons filtered water
- 2 tablespoons pure maple syrup or to taste
- 1 tablespoon ground chia seed*
Almond Butter Crumble Topping
- 1/3 cup raw almonds
- 1/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
- 2 tablespoons natural almond butter
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
No-Bake Almond Butter + Oat Crust
Line a 9x9-inch square pan with parchment paper or use a 9x9-inch silicon pan.
In a small bowl, whisk together the ground flaxseed and water. Set aside for 5 minutes to thicken.
Add the almonds and rolled oats to a food processor and process for 15 to 20 seconds, or until a coarse meal forms.
Then, add the flaxseed mixture, almond butter, dates, coconut sugar, and sea salt, and process for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the mixture begins to clump together and hold its form against the wall of the food processor. It should be sticky enough that it holds together well when pressed between your fingers but is able to easily crumble back to its original form. If it isn't sticking together when pressed, add more pitted dates, 1 at a time, and continue to process until it holds together as described.
Scoop the crust mixture into the lined pan and use your hands to press it evenly into the bottom. Then, use the back of a large metal spatula (see above photos) to press and firmly compact into a smooth, even surface.
Freeze for 30 minutes to set.
Meanwhile, prepare the strawberry jam. In a medium saucepan, stir together the frozen strawberries, water, and maple syrup over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer, uncovered, for 12 minutes, or until the strawberries begin to break down into a sauce, stirring occasionally. If needed, reduce the heat to low during the last few minutes of cooking to prevent scorching.
Turn off the heat and use the back of a fork to thoroughly mash any remaining pieces of fruit. Then, stir in the ground chia seed, turn the heat on low, and cook for another 1 to 2 minutes, or until it begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Remove the pan from the heat and transfer to the refrigerator for 5 to 10 minutes to cool slightly**. Set aside.
Almond Butter Crumble Topping
While the strawberry jam is simmering, make the crumble topping. Add the almonds to a food processor and process for 1 minute, or until ground into a fine meal.
Transfer to a small mixing bowl and add the rolled oats, coconut sugar, almond butter, and sea salt. Use the back of a fork to mash the almond butter into the other ingredients until thoroughly combined into medium-size crumbles (see above photos).
Spoon the strawberry jam over the crust and use a spatula to gently smooth into an even layer. Then, sprinkle the crumble topping evenly over the surface and use a spatula to gently pat the topping down to compact it a bit.
Freeze for 1 hour, or until set well enough to slice.
Grasp the edges of the parchment paper and carefully lift the entire bar out of the pan (see ***notes for tips if using a silicon pan). Place on a cutting board and slice into 12 to 16 bars.
Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
*Use a coffee grinder or high-speed blender (e.g., Vitamix, Blendtec) to grind your own chia seed. Add about 1/4 up whole chia seed and grind or blend for 15 to 30 seconds, or until ground into a fine powder.
**If the filling is too thick after cooling, add more filtered water, 1 tablespoon at a time, until desired texture is reached. If the filling is too thin after cooling, add in more ground chia seed, 1 teaspoon at a time, until desired texture is reached.
***If you're using a silicon pan, run a knife along the edges to separate the sides of the bar from the pan. Then, very carefully pop the bar out, peeling the pan away from it, and transfer to a cutting board. If you're having trouble removing the entire bar, then simply slice it while in the pan and remove the individual bars.