Chickpea Granola Bars

Hello my healthy Sweet-Toothers!  Friday has finally arrived, so it’s Christine here with another STF!  This week I’ve got a great recipe for you that I wasn’t quite sure what to call.  I was leaning towards Everything-But-the-Kitchen-Sink bars, or Anything-Goes bars, but I think my boyfriend Greg summed it up nicely by calling them (with his mouth full) “delicious peanut butter granola bars.”

[christine granola photo]

This idea started at the grocery store when I picked up a box of Quaker chewy oatmeal bars that I was on sale.  I guess Quaker has a good marketing team because I felt totally betrayed when I checked out the back of the box…high fructose corn syrup…partially hydrogenated oil…what?!  I put the bars back on the shelf, determined to make my own better version.

I’ve baked granola bars before, but they always come out rock hard—never chewy.  With a little investigating, it seems the word on the (baker’s) street is that to get chewy bars, you just MAKE granola bars, not BAKE them.

Without baking the bars, the challenge is getting all the elements to hold together.  This called for something sticky!  I was leaning toward maple syrup, but the home-style combo of peanut butter and honey was calling my name.

[chickpea granola photo]As for the chickpeas I threw in the bars, I got that idea from The Sneaky Chef by Missy Chase Lapine.  After my Blueberry Crumble Bar post from Deceptively Delicious, I thought it was only fair I give the competition a try too.  The concepts indeed are similar, but Missy has an interesting recipe for roasted cinnamon sugar chickpeas called “Rattlesnacks.”  She bakes them for an hour to really get them crunchy like soy nuts.  I cut that time in half to make them more suitable for a chewy bar.  I also tossed them in sucanat instead of sugar.  Thanks to Clare in the comments section for introducing me to that sweetener!

Here’s the recipe I developed, but don’t follow it too closely- use any kind of beans, cereal, or dried fruit that you’d like!

Healthy Granola Bar Recipe

[granola bar ingredients photo]1 can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp sucanat or natural sugar
1 1/2 cup oatmeal
1 cup whole grain cereal (like brown rice krispies)
1 cup dried fruit (I used Sunmaid’s variety pack of “Fruit bits”)

1/2 cup natural peanut butter
1/4 cup honey
3 tbs canola oil
1 tbs ground flax seed

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
Mix the ground flax seed with 1/4 cup warm water, set aside to thicken.

Toss the chickpeas in the sucanat and 1 tsp of the cinnamon.  Bake for 10 minutes, stir around in the pan, then back for 10 more minutes.  Add the oatmeal to the pan and bake for 5 more minutes, stirring the oatmeal once.
Stir together the peanut butter, honey, canola oil, and flax paste.
Combine the chickpeas, oatmeal, cereal, dried fruits, and remaining tsp of cinnamon.
Pour the wet ingredients over the dry and stir to combine.
Press the mixture into a greased pan.  My 9×13 casserole dish was just a little too big, so go for an 8×8 if you have it.  Really PRESS and PACK IN the mixture as hard as you can.  Refrigerate until firm, then cut into 24 bars.

[granola bar close photo]

Hope you enjoy these chewy granola bars!  There is a decent amount of protein in them too from the chickpeas and the peanut butter.  The chickpeas are a surprisingly nice addition to the bar- they don’t taste out of place at all.  My boyfriend and I devoured our tray in no time!

That’s it for this week.  By the time you read this post, I’ll be on an airplane on my way to Destin, Florida!  Finally my sweet, sweet summer vacation has arrived!  Cross your fingers for no hurricanes!

See you next Sweet-Tooth Friday!
xoxo Christine

For more natural sports nutrition posts and recipes, check out the Running Fuel page.



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  1. LOVE this idea! It’s so different! I also love that you don’t bake the honey, I’ve read conflicting info on cooking honey. Thanks, I will be adding this to my list of things to try!

  2. love your creativity 🙂 definitely giving these a shot! and off to pick up some sucunat… almost did it last weekend!
    .-= Shannon´s last blog ..Summer Eats =-.

  3. These sound fantastic! You’re so creative with your recipes!! Enjoy the vacation 🙂

  4. MMMMMM this looks amazing! 🙂 i think its a must try! Thanks! 🙂
    .-= Lizzy´s last blog ..mmm mmm winner dinner =-.

  5. YUM! I love chick peas and granola bars. Can’t wait to try this!!
    .-= N.D.´s last blog ..How’s the eating been going? =-.

  6. Chickpeas in granola bars? This may have changed my life. Thank you.

  7. P.S. try brown rice syrup for a chewy bar too.
    .-= N.D.´s last blog ..How’s the eating been going? =-.

  8. Chickpeas? I need to try this! Oh how I love sweet tooth fridays. 😀
    .-= Sarah (Running to Slow Things Down)´s last blog ..Cool Mornings =-.

  9. oh gosh, those look so ridiculously delicious

    really interesting recipe, i woulda never thunk to put garbonzos in a granola bar. dont see why you couldnt though 🙂

    i will have to try them out sometime!

  10. These look delish. I can use my raw honey in these, thanks for such a great recipe!
    .-= meatlessmama´s last blog ..Zucchini Pancakes with Heirloom Tomatoes =-.

  11. Thanks for sharing your recipe.
    .-= Jess (Fit Chick in the City)´s last blog ..The Girly Kind =-.

  12. You are too dang creative! Have an awesome vacation!
    .-= Holly (The Healthy Everythingtarian)´s last blog ..Mondo This and That =-.

  13. What a great idea to add chickpeas/beans to the bars – all that added protein!
    .-= Jennifer Z´s last blog ..I am addicted to O.N.E! =-.

    • Thanks Jennifer Z! Yeah I used beans in these bars and my energy bar recipe a couple of weeks ago. They really provide good structure to the bars and totally improve them nutritionally!

  14. Hmm I would have never thought of chickpea granola bars but those look phenomenal!
    .-= Pam (Highway to Health)´s last blog ..Dreary Day =-.

  15. I’ll be trying these!
    .-= Allyson´s last blog ..Minnesota Wins (Minus Metrodome) =-.

  16. This such a great idea to add the chickpeas to a granola bar!!!
    I love my t-shirt!!! thank you!!! check out my post “thrivin” for a shout-out!
    .-= Elizabeth´s last blog ..Thrivin =-.

  17. I am very interested in making these bars. My 1 1/2 year old has discovered that he likes Cliff bars and I would like to make something similar but with less sugar and more love. Are these bars sticky? I know they are designed to be chewy, but are they sticky? I also wonder how cooking them for a bit might change them? I am definitely going to play around with this recipe – maybe almond butter instead of peanut butter and dried cherries for the fruit…. I will post my results.
    Thanks for the recipe! I am a vegetarian runner too and I love this blog! Keep up the good work.

  18. I tried these bars today, and although I LOVE the taste, I could not get them to stick together? I pressed and pressed those suckers! I ended up placing the mixture on sheets of saran wap and rolling them up like logs…maybe after several hours in the fridge or freezer, they will stay put? Any suggestions?

  19. Hey Tammy,

    Let’s see…the bars should be pressed into the pan, then chilled either in fridge or freezer til firm, then cut. I’m not sure if you saw the bit about chilling them before cutting.

    Other than that, the only discrepancy I can think of is your cereal compared to mine- I used multi-grain rice krispies which are “jumbo” sized. Maybe a different size of cereal would affect the ratios? I hadn’t thought of that before. If maybe that’s the case, try adding pb and honey in equal portions about a tablespoon at a time until the consistency is right to hold together.

    Hope this works out for you! Good luck!

  20. Oh one more suggestion would be to chop up dates as the dried fruit in these bars. I think that would provide enough stickiness to hold together better without altering the taste too much.

  21. Hey, there is a good recipe that I use all the time that are chewy and you have to bake them

    I add chopped walnuts and linseed and add less sugar to make them even more healthy but they are healthy enough already.

  22. Thanks for the recipe. I’ve been using Chia seeds in various ways, and was looking for a way of making bars with them. I like the fact that your recipe has chickpeas, and I think I’ll add some chia seeds instead of flax to it. This is something I’ll try this weekend!

  23. Yeah, I saw that earlier – I want to play around with it to see if I can get it to be firmer.

    Great blog btw – lots of useful info for a newer runner!

  24. I bless you greatly, I made this recipe for our prayer group who are doing the Daniel fast and it was a success, they loved it. I made another batch for our church prayer warriors and they loved it. I am now making more for the third time, for the school staff which I’m sure they will love it too. As for me, of course I love it. Since I’m became a vegetarian by medical reasons, it is a wonderful treat. Thank you so much and may God keep blessing you with such a great talent.

  25. healthymom says:

    Very excited to try this tonight! Can you please let me know how to store the bars? Do they need to be refrigerated or are they okay in a tupperware container at room temp. Have you tried freezing? Many thanks for this great idea!

  26. My favorite granola bar! These are so good. Perfect before and after work-outs. Used raisins and dried figs and apricots for the fruit. Yum! Only problem is they are so good I want to eat the whole pan at once 😉

  27. This recipe is so simple and easy, but mine fell apart, too! Maybe because I didn’t cut up the dried fruit, and I didn’t really measure the honey, as I was using the last of it. Otherwise, AMAZING tasting, and according to my calorie counter, only 177 per serving! (Mine made 16 bars.)

  28. Michele says:

    These were really good. Most of mine stayed together, the few in the corners fell apart. i used Kashi cereal because I had some from another granola bar recipe I tried. I will look for brown rice krispies next time. I put these in an 11×7 pan but they were thick because of the cereal. They wouldn’t even fit in an 8×8.

    • Re: Delicious peanut butter granola bars (DPBGBs)

      I was just chomping on some chickpeas and thinking how sweet they tasted. Straight onto this website to see what’s been done about it… SFT came up (natch! 🙂

      Apart from my chickpeas today I brought in some “cakeybiscuits” I made with, flour, ground almonds, choped apricots and cranberries and a packet of instant semolina (not sure if that’s actually vegan – sorry). Some of the flour was white self-raising. Some of it was a lovely (plain bread) flour I buy in the UK from Asda with seeds and grains in. I made a sloppy mixture so it poured easily into a tin and baked it as long as I could stay awake (45 mins?). Switched oven off, went to bed and cut it up next day. I keep it in slabs in the fridge in plastic boxes. If I wrapped it in rice paper it might go in a bento “box” (bag) on a bike for a long ride. Because of the high moisture content it sticks together nicely – I think that might be what’s required to stick the DPBGBs together. Healthymom, if they are “crispy” I think you can keep them in tins. If they are “wet” I think they should be kept in a fridge and eaten within a week.

      Thanks for all your hard work cooking and blogging Christine. Hope you’re getting some running done as well? Best wishes Teri

  29. The link to these says they’re vegan- since they contain honey, they’re clearly not.

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