These fruit and grain bars are free of processed sugar and full of flavor. They make a great snack on the road when healthy options are hard to find, and they are also one of the least messy treats you can give the kids in the car.
Makes 9 bars.
3 cups rolled oats
1½ cups chopped pitted dates
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
1½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract (optional)
¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1½ cups dried unsulfured apricots
1 cup water, or more as needed
Grated zest of ½ orange
- Preheat the oven to 350°F.
- Combine the oats, dates, applesauce, vanilla (if using), and cinnamon in a food processor, and process until the mixture forms a cohesive ball. Remove the dough from the processor and press two-thirds of it into the bottom of a nonstick 9-inch square baking pan. Bake for 10 minutes, then set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine the apricots, water, and orange zest in a small saucepan and cook over medium-low heat until most of the water has evaporated and the apricots are tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer the apricots and any remaining water to the food processor and puree until smooth and creamy, 3 to 4 minutes.
- Spread the apricot puree over the cooled crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the apricot puree and bake for another 10 minutes. Let cool to room temperature before cutting into 9 bars. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
You can replace the apricots with dates for a different flavor. Add 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon and use 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract instead of the orange zest.
Del Sroufe’s passion for cooking began at eight years old and never faded. In 1989, he went to work for one of Columbus’s premier vegetarian restaurants, the King Avenue Coffeehouse, where he honed his craft as a baker and chef. Sroufe opened Del’s Bread, a vegan bakery, before beginning a vegan meal delivery service in 2001, serving eclectic, plant-based cuisine to Columbus residents. During this time, he developed what became a very popular cooking class series, sharing many of the delicious recipes he had created over the years.
Sroufe is the author of Better Than Vegan, The China Study: Quick & Easy Cookbook, and The China Study Family Cookbook, as well as Forks Over Knives—The Cookbook, a vegan cookbook companion to the acclaimed documentary Forks Over Knives.