Vegan Caramelized Banana Granola Bars

February 23, 2020
Article by Vegan Richa

These easy healthy Vegan Banana Nut Granola Bars are packed with deep caramelized banana flavor & are made with only a handful of ingredients. No refined sugar! Pack them for an amazing plant-based office snack, sweet breakfast on the go, or for road trips with hungry kids. Jump to Recipe 

Bananas – aren’t they just an amazing fruit? Eaten alone they are a satisfying snack, nature’s candy. But they also do wonders when added into baked goods. They can take the place of sugar, eggs, and fat in many healthy vegan treats.

And then there is the whole world of caramelized bananas. Lately, I have been on a caramelized banana kick. Have you tried my Chia Pudding with Caramelized Bananas or my French Toast with Caramelized Bananas? So good!

In this granola bar recipe, we are taking full advantage of all banana superpowers – we use it for texture, flavor, AND sweetness.

Caramelized Banana & Nut Granola Bars – your new favorite vegan snack:

The caramelized banana gives these vegan granola bars a deep banana flavor and a delightful sweetness and acts as a binding agent at the same time – no need for butter or eggs.

Despite the fancy-sounding name, these are super easy to make. To caramelize the bananas all you do is bake them on a sheet pan until they get golden and gooey.

Then you process all that caramelized goodness with some healthy oats, nuts, dates and a pinch of cinnamon in a food processor, mix it all up, and press the mix into a pan. Then bake for a few minutes, and you’ve got yourself a tray of freshly baked vegan banana granola bars! You’ll have a hard time not devouring all of them in one day.

a stack of vegan caramelized banana & nut granola bars against a black background

These vegan banana nut granola bars get their sweetness from baked caramelized bananas and dates! So they have no added sugar, plus you can whip them up in just a few minutes. They’ll take care of your grab-and-go breakfasts, healthy after-school snacks, and sneaky dessert.

Unlike most store-bought granola bars, the sweetness in these bars is not overpowering and there is just enough to satisfy a mid-afternoon craving.

Ingredients for making Vegan Banana Nut Granola Bars:

  • I use a mix of nuts – walnuts, cashews, almonds, pecans. Use whatever you have in your pantry.
  • Gluten-free oats – Old fashioned rolled oats. Use certified gluten free if needed.
  • Bananas – ripe or very ripe. The baked caramelized bananas help to hold everything together and combined with the dates they give these vegan granola bars that divine chewy sweetness.
  • Dates act as a glue and provide some natural sweetness without having to add any refined sugar.
  • Ground cinnamon adds some warming spice to these bars.
  • Don’t skip that quintessential pinch of salt that brings out the sweetness and makes these just taste so much better.

Tips and Substitutions for making Vegan Granola Bars:

  • You could add some vanilla essence and maybe some freshly grated nutmeg to add a little extra dimension.
  • Make sure you allow for them to cool completely before you cut into them, otherwise the bars may fall apart.
  • These would taste pretty great with shredded coconut or pistachios as well.
  • If you are a fan of dried fruit, feel free to add some raisins, cranberries, dried cherries or apricots.
  • If you find yourself craving a little more sweetness you could press a handful of vegan chocolate chips into the dough right before baking.
  • For a nut-free version, you can simply use a mix of seeds instead of the nuts and add in some dried fruit for variety.
  • I baked the bananas in the oven but you can also cook the bananas in a skillet with 2-3 tbsp non-dairy milk until they are starting to caramelize.

How to make Vegan Banana Granola Bars

overhead shot of sliced bananas roasting on a baking sheet

Bake the sliced banana at 375  F for 15 mins, reduce temperature to 350 F.overhead shot of a white casserole dish with ingredients for making vegan banana granola bars

Now add the nuts and oats to a casserole dish and put in the oven to toast for another 15 mins. Let cool and dial down the oven to 300F.

nuts and oats being added to a food processor

Pulse the nuts and half of the oats first.

chopped nuts and oats in a small food processor

Like so!

dates and bananas being added to oats and nuts in the container of a food processor

Then add dates along with the caramelized banana and pulse to break down the bananas a bit.

overhead shot of dates and rolled oats in a food processor ready to be combined to make vegan granola bars

Add cinnamon, salt, the other half of the oats and pulse.

granola batter pressed into a square baking pan

Press this mix into a parchment paper-lined lined brownie pan using wet hands or a spatula.

overhead shot of unbaked vegan banana granola bars in a metal baking pan

Bake at 300 F for 20 mins.

overhead shot of vegan banana granola bars on a sheet of baking paper ready to be cut

Cool, slice and store them (see tips below).

Make a batch and keep these babies handy, I know you and your family will love them!

How to store these Vegan Banana Granola Bars?

These can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. Alternatively, store them at room temperature for about 5 days.

More healthy vegan grab-and-go snacks:

More healthy vegan banana recipes from the blog:

Vegan Caramelized Banana Granola Bars

These easy healthy Vegan Banana Nut Granola Bars are packed with deep caramelized banana flavor & are made with only a handful of ingredients. No refined sugar! Pack them for an amazing plant-based office snack, sweet breakfast on the go, or for road trips with hungry kids.

Prep Time10 mins

Cook Time50 mins

Total Time1 hr

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack

Cuisine: American, Vegan

Keyword: banana granola bars, banana oatmeal bars, vegan granola bar recipe

Servings: 12 bars

Calories: 159.63kcal

Author: Vegan Richa

Ingredients

  • 4 bananas , sliced into 1/2 cm thick slices
  • 1.5 cup (216 g) nuts , mix of walnuts cashews, almonds, pecans
  • 1 cup (81 g) oats
  • 6 (6 ) dates
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • cinnamon

Instructions

  • Place sliced bananas on a parchment lined baking sheet. Add oats and nuts to another baking dish. Bake the sliced banana at 375 deg F (190 C) for 15 mins, Reduce temperature to 350 deg f (180 C) then add the nuts and oats to the oven and bake for another 15 mins. Let cool.

  • Alternatively, you can cook the bananas in a  skillet with 2-3 tbsp non-dairy milk until caramelizing.

  • Add the toasted nuts and half of the oats to a food processor. Pulse to break the nuts into a coarse meal, then add dates along with the caramelized banana, and pulse to break down the bananas a bit. Add cinnamon, salt, the other half of the oats and pulse again until a dough like state.

  • Press this mix into a parchment lined brownie pan and bake at 300 F (150 C) for 20 mins.

  • Cool, slice and store refrigerated for up to 2 weeks.

Notes

  • You could add some vanilla essence and maybe some freshly grated nutmeg to add a little extra dimension.
  • Make sure you allow for them to cool completely before you cut into them, otherwise the bars may fall apart.
  • These would taste pretty great with coconut or pistachios as well. 
  • If you are a fan of dried fruit, feel free to add some raisins, cranberries, dried cherries or apricots. 
  • If you find yourself craving a little more sweetness you could add a handful of vegan chocolate chips.
  • For a nut-free version, you can simply use a mix of seeds instead of the nuts and add in some dried fruit for variety. 

Nutrition

Nutrition Facts

Vegan Caramelized Banana Granola Bars

Amount Per Serving (1 bar)

Calories 159.63 Calories from Fat 69

% Daily Value*

Fat 7.65g12%

Saturated Fat 1.18g7%

Sodium 51.25mg2%

Potassium 294.63mg8%

Carbohydrates 21.05g7%

Fiber 2.52g11%

Sugar 8.05g9%

Protein 4.34g9%

Vitamin A 25.17IU1%

Vitamin C 3.5mg4%

Calcium 12.81mg1%

Iron 1.5mg8%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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