The Gluten-Free Breakfast Bars That Keep Oh She Glows’ Angela Liddon Fueled All Week

Oh She Glows Angela Liddon
Photo: Angela Liddon

If your weekdays are jam-packed, you know how crucial it is to meal prep. Oh She Glows blogger Angela Liddon feels your pain; the influential vegan blogger just released her new aptly named book, Oh She Glows Every Day, full of quick, easy plant-based recipes that could fit in to even the most hectic of schedules. But, meal prep is still required.

Photo: Penguin Random House
Photo: Penguin Random House

Because Liddon doesn't talk the talk without walking the walk, she's taking over the Well+Good Instagram this Sunday, September 18 to show exactly how she meal preps for the week. Not only will she be sharing her go-to tips, but she'll also be showing in real time what she eats on an average weekend day. (Now's the time to find out if famous food bloggers eat beautiful meals on the reg!)

Here, she's giving up the goods early for one of the foods she'll be whipping up on Sunday: strawberry oat crumble bars. Liddon has a habit of making a whole batch of the bars on Sunday so they're ready to eat during the week. Get the recipe below—and then follow Well+Good's Instagram on Sunday to learn more of her meal-prep tips and busy-schedule hacks.

Keep reading for Angela Liddon's strawberry oat crumble bars, featured in her new cookbook Oh She Glows Every Day.

Oh She Glows Breakfast Bars
Photo: Angela Liddon

Strawberry Oat Crumble Bars

These delicious “anytime” bars are vegan, lunchbox-friendly, gluten-free, and made with a refined sugar-free strawberry-vanilla chia seed jam. (With the chia jam, the bars will be lightly sweet; if you use store-bought jam, they’ll be much sweeter.) It’s hard to resist gobbling them up once you slice them, but I actually find that they taste better the following day, after the flavors have had a chance to meld in the fridge overnight. I also recommend making the chia jam in advance, so it has time to cool in the fridge before you begin making the recipe.

Once chilled, the bars firm up (thanks to the coconut oil), but at room temperature they soften and will virtually melt in your mouth while you eat them! Either way, you are going to go crazy over the roasted sunflower seed “cookie” crust. Enjoy these as a quick breakfast with tea or coffee, as an afternoon snack when you need a boost, or warmed up for dessert with a scoop of ice cream.

Serves 12 to 16

For the strawberry chia seed jam:
3 to 4 cups frozen mixed berries
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
Dash of fine sea salt
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp pure vanilla bean powder, or 1 large vanilla bean, split lengthwise and seeds scraped out
Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

For the bars:
1 1/4 cups strawberry-vanilla chia seed jam or store-bought jam
1 cup hulled sunflower seeds
3 cups gluten-free rolled oats
1/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 cup virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
3 Tbsp brown rice syrup
1 Tbsp sunflower seed butter

For the chia seed bars:

1. In a medium pot, stir together the berries, maple syrup, and salt until combined. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat and cook for five to seven minutes, until the berries have softened (they will release a lot of liquid during this time).

2. Reduce the heat to medium and carefully mash the berries with a potato masher until mostly smooth. The jam will still look very watery at this point, but this is normal.

3. Add the chia seeds and stir until combined. Simmer over low-medium heat, stirring frequently (reducing heat if necessary to avoid sticking) for eight to 15 minutes more, until a lot of the liquid has cooked off and the mixture has thickened slightly.

4. Remove from the heat and stir in the vanilla extract, vanilla bean powder, and lemon juice (if using). Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate, uncovered, until cool, at least a couple of hours. For quicker cooling, pop the jam into the freezer, uncovered, for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes. The chia seed jam will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to two weeks. It also freezes well for one to two months.

For the bars:

1. If desired, roast the sunflower seeds: Preheat the oven to 325°F. Spread the seeds over a large rimmed baking sheet in an even layer. Roast for nine to 12 minutes, until lightly golden in some spots. Remove from the oven and set aside.

2. Increase the oven temperature to 350°F. Line a 9-inch square pan with parchment paper, leaving some overhang, which will make it easy to lift out the bars later.

3. In a food processor, combine the sunflower seeds, oats, and salt and process until you have a coarse flour.

4. In a small pot, melt the oil over low heat. Remove from the heat and whisk in the maple syrup, brown rice syrup, and sunflower seed butter until combined. Pour the wet mixture on top of the oat mixture in the food processor and process until the mixture comes together, 10 to 15 seconds. The dough should feel quite heavy and oily, and there shouldn’t be any dry patches. If there are, process for five seconds more. If for some reason it’s still too dry, try adding water, a teaspoon at a time, and processing again until it comes together.

5. Set aside 1 1/4 cups of the oat mixture for the topping. Crumble the remaining oat mixture over the base of the prepared pan in an even layer. Starting at the center, push down with your fingers (you can lightly wet them if they stick) to spread out and pack down the crust. Press the dough down tightly. Even out the edges with your fingertips. Prick the crust with the tines of a fork nine times to allow steam to escape.

6. Prebake the crust for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool for five minutes. (If the crust puffed up while baking, gently press down on it to release the air.) Spread the jam in an even layer over the crust. Crumble the reserved 1 1/4 cups oat mixture evenly over the jam.

7. Bake, uncovered, for 14 to 18 minutes more, until the topping is lightly firm to the touch. The topping will not turn golden in color—it will remain the same shade as it was before baking. Let cool in the pan on a cooling rack for 45 to 60 minutes, then transfer the pan to the freezer for 30 minutes until completely cool. Lift out the slab and slice it into squares or bars. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for several days, or wrapped up and stored in the freezer for four to five weeks.

Reprinted from Oh She Glows Every Day by arrangement with Avery, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2016, Glo Bakery Corporation

Want more ideas on what to eat on days when you're crazy busy? All these meals can be made in 15 minutes (or less). And shake up your salad game with these go-to ingredients from 14 wellness influencers.

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