RECIPE: Tropical Oatmeal Bars (Oil-free and Sugar-free)

I was never a fan of baked oatmeal aka boatmeal. I guess I never really liked the texture of baked oatmeal compared to the chewy creamy goodness of a hot bowl of oatmeal. But, ever since I’ve tried Weelicious Oatmeal-on-the-go Bars, I’ve never looked back. I’ve made her recipe so many times, since they make the perfect grab-and-go breakfast, and they even keep for up to 4 months in the freezer!

After dabbling around in the kitchen, and perfecting my own version of healthy oatmeal bars, I’ve finally come up with my own recipes — these healthy goodies you are about to be introduced to. This batch of oatmeal bars were my best creation yet, they even received a seal of approval from my dad!

These bars taste and look brilliant, if I may say so myself. The vibrant red goji berries add to the tropical vibe, while the sweetness of the mango transports you to a lovely summer day lazing by the beach.

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Close your eyes. Oh wait don’t. If not you won’t be able to read this.

After you’ve made these, close your eyes when you taste them. You’ll experience something like this:
The tantalizing smell of cinnamon wafts across the living room. The bars are ready! You leap up and hurry to the oven, opening the oven door carefully to release the hot steam. Ahh, browned to perfection. Better take it out of the oven to cool. Yes, great, it’s cool, now slice it up quickly. Snap a few quick photos. No, no time for that. Let’s just dig in.

On first bite, you taste the sweetness of the dried mango the moment it makes contact with your tongue. Mmmm. Then the chewiness of the baked oatmeal gets to you. Just like a candy bar. The sweet goji berry is determined not to be forgotten, and the rich flavor bursts through the oatmeal like mini fireworks. Oh, it’s not over. The sweet mango is back again, complementing the goji berries this time. You smile. You’re back on the beach, one hand holding a freshly opened coconut as the cool sea breeze blows across your face. Ahh. Sheer bliss.

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I rarely use flash, but it was late at night when I baked this, and the lighting was horrible. Not all was lost though, since the flash really helped to bring out the colour of the mangoes and goji berries. I mean, look at how those little gems are studded all over the oatmeal bars, they are like sunny jewels buried in the sand.

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My favorite way to eat these are cold, right out of the fridge. That’s when they are chewy and cool, almost like a dessert. If you freeze them, be sure to take them out to thaw in the fridge 24 hours in advance so that you can taste the flavours.

oatmealbars

Tropical Oatmeal Bars
Makes 18-24

Ingredients

  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups milk (any kind of milk, not flavoured milk though) 
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup goji berries 
  • 1/2-3/4 cup dried mangoes (chopped up)
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp honey or agave (sweetener of choice)

Preparation

  1. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees celsius/375 F
  2. Mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, stirring the dried fruits in at the end
  3. Pour the oatmeal mixture into a 7×11 baking dish lined with baking paper (no mess!)
  4.  Bake for 30 minutes or until thickened and golden.
  5.  Cool, cut into squares and serve.
  6. After the bars have been fully cooled, you can pack them into individual servings in small ziploc bags to pack in the freezer. About 3 bars in each bag. These will keep for up to 4 months!
    Before consuming them, allow to defrost in fridge for 24 hours.
  7. Refrigerating the bars will make them last up to 5 days.

Switch things up!

  • Sub the dried fruits with any other dried fruits of your choice
  • Add a mashed banana in for added sweetness and moisture
  • Throw in an additional 1/2 cup – 1 cup of some nuts, seeds, dessicated coconut, chocolate chips… anything you like really!
  • Add some peanut powder or black sesame powder to make it even more flavorful
  • More honey or agave can be added to suit your tastes

These bars are so healthy (Oil-free, butter-free, sugar-free and can be lactose-free and gluten-free if you make the necessary substitutions) there is no reason not to make them. They are ideal for lunchboxes too. Pack a couple of these with some veggies sticks + hummus and some fruit and you’ve got a good lunchbox for your fussy eater. Even a glass of milk with these would make a nutrition packed breakfast to kickstart your day!

Hope you liked this recipe 🙂

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