A little Carrot Cake-like, these Carrot Coconut Granola bars are a healthy snack made with oats, walnuts, flax seed, shredded carrots and coconut. Gluten-free, dairy-free, naturally sweetened with applesauce and honey, and with a vegan option!
Carrots are my new favorite thing.
A little weird, huh? I hated carrots growing up, raw or cooked, it didn’t matter. But, then I roasted them recently and they were AMAZING.
Did you grow up with any vegetables that you thought you hated?
So now I like carrots and sweet potatoes. WHAT?! I’m still not a fan of peas though 😉 or at least yet, haha!
With my new obsession with carrots, and my love of stuffing healthy stuff into my baked goods, I took my Maple Pecan Granola Bars and switched up a few things for a veggie filled snack.
These Carrot Coconut Granola Bars are gluten-free, dairy-free, with an easy vegan option, and naturally sweetened with applesauce and honey (or maple syrup). If you’re looking for a snack with healthy carbs, these granola bars are it!
So let’s get into the details to make these Carrot Cake Granola Bars a snack success.
First, be sure to use certified gluten-free rolled oats and oat flour if you need to. For this recipe you can also make your own oat flour (by blending up oats in a food processor or high powered blender for several minutes) or you can use store bought.
Next: Walnuts! You can use any nuts in place of these if you have a walnut allergy. You can also leave them out entirely if you just don’t like nuts or don’t have any in your pantry like you thought you did (don’t you hate that?!).
These bars are sweetened with applesauce and honey (or maple syrup). Be sure that you use applesauce that’s fresh and hasn’t been sitting in your fridge for a while, or they won’t be as sweet. You can use sweetened or unsweetened applesauce, either one works here. I use both, it just depends on what I have on hand.
Vegan friends: These bars are super easily made vegan by swapping out for a flax egg and using maple syrup instead of honey. Just be sure you make your flax egg (1 tbsp ground flax seed and 3 tbsp water) ahead of time so it has time to sit and gel similar to an egg.
For an easy and fast way to shred your carrots, I recommend using a food processor. Peel your carrots prior, and shred up about 3 large carrots for 3/4 cup of shredded carrot total.
Lastly, what kind of coconut to use? I would say use whatever kind you typically use. You can use sweetened coconut or unsweetened coconut, and both work fine in this recipe. Just don’t use large coconut chips! Again, I use whatever shredded coconut I have on hand. This recipe is pretty forgiving!
Be sure you spread your granola bar mixture across your pan evenly, in one smooth layer, so it bakes evenly.
And, bake these bars a little longer than you may think is necessary. If you bake them closer to 30 minutes they will be stronger and easier to hold. Just keep checking them every few minutes to make sure they don’t get too dark!
So, maybe you love carrots, or not? Either way, hopefully these lightly sweetened Carrot Coconut Granola Bars with hints of cinnamon and nutmeg will hit the spot for you like they did for me! 🙂
- 3/4 cup rolled oats (certified gluten-free)
- 1/2 cup oat flour (certified gluten-free)
- 1/2 cup walnuts, finely chopped
- 2 tbsp flax seed, ground (optional)
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp nutmeg
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 cup coconut oil, melted
- 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup, if vegan)
- 1/4 cup applesauce (sweetened or unsweetened)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 egg (or flax egg, if vegan)
- 3/4 cup shredded carrot (about 3 large carrots)
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut
To begin, preheat your oven to 350 and line a 9×9 pan with parchment paper, with two sides sticking out for easy removal.
To a large mixing bowl, add your dry ingredients and stir them together (oats, oat flour, walnuts, flax seed, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt).
To a small mixing bowl, add your coconut oil, applesauce and honey and whisk them together. Next add your vanilla and egg and whisk them in until all your wet ingredients are well combined.
Pour your wet ingredients into your dry ingredients and stir them together. Lastly, fold your carrots and coconut in, till everything is well incorporated.
Spread across the bottom of your pan, in one even, thin layer. Bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes, or till the edges are gaining some color and the bars feel solid and baked through when you gently push on them.
Let cool entirely, then remove from your pan and place onto a cutting board. Cut them out into bars or squares, and however many you prefer. I recommend 12 granola bars.
In an airtight container in the fridge these bars will last about a week. Alternatively, you can put each of them in a ziploc bag into the freezer and they will last about a month then.