These healthy zucchini oat bars are healthy enough for breakfast, but indulgent enough for dessert. They’re vegan, gluten free, and perfect for an on the go nutritious treat! Loaded with oats, flax, zucchini, and naturally sweetened with raisins, bananas, and dark chocolate!
Happy Meatless Monday! Whether you follow a plant based diet or not, you’re going to fall head over heals for these healthy zucchini oat bars. They’re meant to be eaten as a dessert, hellooo warm and gooey, melted dark chocolate chunks, but they’re definitely healthy enough for breakfast, hellooo naturally sweetened with bananas and raisins. Now wait! I know. Who actually likes raisins? But trust me. You don’t taste them and you won’t even notice the texture, because they get ground up with the oats. These oat bars are full of good for you ingredients, can be vegan and gluten free, are portable, and can be made in advance. All of these things make them PERFECT for an on the go breakfast for you and the kiddos.
These healthy bars are chock full of good for you ingredients like wholesome oats, nutrient dense flaxseed, and zucchini which is loaded with vitamins and minerals. As I said before, these are definitely healthy enough for breakfast, but I’m telling you that antioxidant rich dark chocolate makes these soooo perfect for dessert.
- Old fashioned oats. Most zucchini bars use flour as a base, but today, we’re using oats that we grind into a “flour” in our food processor before adding in the rest of the ingredients. I love using old fashioned oats instead of flour, because it’s rich in fiber!
- Raisins. Instead of sugar, today, we’re using raisins to sweeten our bars. You could also use dates, but dates are often SO expensive and I’ve found that raisins work just as well for a fraction of the cost.
- Ground flaxseed. This doesn’t really serve a purpose other than a nutritional one. Flax is a great source of healthy fat, antioxidants, protein, and fiber.
- Cinnamon. For flavor! I LOVE adding cinnamon, especially in less sweet, healthier recipes, because I think it adds more flavor and natural sweetness.
- Baking soda. This gives these healthy oat zucchini bars a nice little fluff and rise.
- Salt. I ALWAYS use salt when I’m baking. It amps up the flavor and balances the sweetness.
- Ripe bananas. Along with the raisins, we’re using bananas to sweeten these bars. They also keep these bars super moist and tender. Definitely use a nicely browned banana for maximum sweetness and moisture. If you’re not a banana fan, you could TRY to replace with equal parts applesauce or pumpkin, but I can’t guarantee the results for taste and texture.
- Peanut butter. You could really use any nut butter you like, but I like the taste of peanut butter the best. These help bind the bars, so be sure you’re using an all natural, no sugar added, runny peanut butter for best results.
- Applesauce. Like the peanut butter, this helps to bind the bars. Like the banana, this helps add a subtle sweetness. Be sure to use an unsweetened variety to keep the sugar content low!
- Vanilla extract. For flavor! I LOVE adding vanilla, especially in less sweet, healthier recipes, because I think it adds more flavor and natural sweetness.
- Zucchini. You can’t have zucchini bars without zucchini. Healthy zucchini bars, to me, is definitely a “having your cake and eating it too” moment, because you’re eating vegetables, but you’re also eating dessert. #winning 😉
- Dark chocolate chunks. Adds a little sweetness and a WHOLE lotta yum. You just can’t beat the pools of melty dark chocolate that are created during the baking process. You could use any kind of chocolate you have on hand, but I like a less sweet dark chocolate the best!
How to make
While classic zucchini bars can be laden with sugar, these healthy zucchini oat bars are a healthier twist on the classic! I love that these bars are naturally sweetened with raisins and ripe bananas and bonus: it’s a great way to pack in some veggies.
- Pulse oats and raisins together in the food processor until the mixture looks like flour.
- Add in the flax, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, bananas, peanut butter, applesauce, and vanilla.
- Blend until the mixture looks like a batter and all the ingredients are incorporated.
- Use a spatula to stir in the zucchini and dark chocolate chunks.
- Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-30 minutes.
- Cool, slice, and serve!
You can serve these bars immediately, or keep them at room temperature in a sealed airtight container for up to a week. Any longer and they’ll start to mold, because they’re so moist. These healthy zucchini oat bars are great at room temperature, but I prefer to warm them up in the microwave until the dark chocolate is nice and melty again.
Can i make these vegan?
As long as you use a dairy free, vegan dark chocolate chip, these are already vegan! If you’re not vegan, feel free to use any type of chocolate chip you like.
Can i make these gluten free?
As long as you’re using certified gluten free oats, these are already gluten free! If you’re not gluten free, you can use any variety of old fashioned oats.
How to store
Leftovers will last at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 2 months. For best results, cool the bars completely, slice them into individual bars, wrap in saran wrap, then place into a ziplock baggie or airtight container before storing!
To reheat, unwrap and microwave until warm.
Healthy Zucchini Oat Bars
Equipment for this recipe
- 1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats be sure they’re gluten free, if necessary
- 1/2 cup raisins make sure they’re moist and sticky, if they’re not, soak in warm water for 10 minutes, then drain
- 1/4 cup ground flaxseed
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 very ripe bananas
- 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter use an all natural, runny, no sugar added, just nuts variety
- 1/4 cup applesauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup shredded zucchini squeezed dry
- 1/2 cup dark chocolate chunks plus more for topping, use a vegan brand if desired
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and grease an 8x8 inch nonstick pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.
- Place oats and raisins into a food processor, then process together until the oats resemble a flour.
- Add in flaxseed, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, bananas, peanut butter, applesauce, and vanilla.
- Process until smooth. Scrape down the sides, if necessary.
- Use a spatula to stir in zucchini and chocolate chunks.
- Pour into prepared pan and top with more chocolate chunks.
- Bake in preheated oven for 20-30 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.
- Cool in pan for 15 minutes, then slice into 9 large bars.
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*Note: Nutrition information is estimated and varies based on products used.