Recipe: Gluten Free and Vegan Oat Bars with Chia and Berry Jam

oat bars

Our newest family favourite, These gluten free, oat bars with homemade berry + chia jam are on our batch prep list for sure! We are always coming up with new options for breakfast and school because well, the way we enjoy culinary crafting and kitchen dancing could be compared to the way some enjoy Disneyland, yup! Aaaaaand finding something school friendly (i.e nut free here in Toronto), and yet fresh, nutrient dense and affordable can be a challenge. I find purchasing individual ingredients and making fresh options for and with my daughter is what works best for us.

If you haven’t yet noticed, freshly grated apple is a staple in our baking. It serves as a great binding agent, especially when foregoing eggs, and adds an abundance of nutritional value! We choose fresh apples as opposed to apple sauce as, 1, they are less expensive and 2, they are fresh and their nutritional benefits are present in the recipes. When using applesauce, even if homemade, these apples have been boiled down and have lost some of their value, and when added to a baking recipe, lose even more when heated again. And you know what they say? Yup, an apple a day…and my daughter loves crunching on the peeled apple skin, and right under that skin is where so much of that antioxidant rich goodness can be found! Apples are rich in dietary fibre, Vit C, phytonutrients, B Vitamins, Calcium, Potassium and Phosphorous, and they are absolutely delicious!

Sidenote for Mamas wanting to get their youngins to eat the whole fruit: I was never one to peel the skin for my daughter when she was wee. In fact she never wanted cut up fruit, only whole and with the skin on, yes, even as a tiny tot! She would eat the skin off apples, peaches, nectarines and leave the middle! The key is to choose thin-skinned apples, like gala or honey crisp as opposed to the likes of say spartan apples that tend to have a thicker, tougher skin.As for chia jam, ah the health benefits of chia are abundant and making this jam was so much fun, easy to involve kids in, and got our home smelling amazing!
Rich in antioxidants, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, soluble fibre and calcium to name a few, chia seeds are great for our bodies inside and out, as eating them has proven to have a beautifying effect on the hair, skin and nails too!

For the berry + chia jam: 
-1.5 cups mixed frozen berries
– 2 tbsp chia seeds

Cook berries on med-low, and mash with a fork after about 10 min. Turn off heat but keep on burner and add 2 tbsp chia seeds and set on the windowsill to cool, and then put in fridge.

berry chia jam

For the dough: 
-1 cup ground gf oats
-1 cup tigernut flour
-1/2 cup unsweetened coconut shreds
-1 apple peeled and finely grated
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1/4 tsp Himalayan sea salt
-2 tsp cinnamon
-1/3 cup room temp (more on the liquid side) coconut oil
-3 tbsp coconut sugar

Preheat oven to 350, combine all ingredients, divide into 2 balls, 1 ball made out of 3/4 of the dough leaving the rest for topping, press the greater half into parchment lined baking dish (we like it thin and spread into 2 glass baking dishes), bringing edges up a bit to nicely cup the jam when added. Prick with a fork and bake for about 15 min. Take out of oven, spread jam over top and crumble remaining dough on, and bake for another 7-10 minutes. Baking time may differ depending on thickness you go for so keep an eye on it as you go! Enjoy!
** Side note, gluten free oat flour can be finicky so make sure to let them cool before cutting them up!

Kamila is a Holistic Life Coach and independent Mama living in Toronto Canada with her 7 year old daughter. Passionate about personal and environmental health and wellness, they strive to live in alignment with Mother Nature and love to spread the word about holistic living and all things DIY, from homemade toothpaste to gluten free, plant based cooking and a zero waste lifestyle. 

Instagram: @our_holistic_haven