This palm oil free vegan bars recipe requires a healthy mix of nuts, dried fruits, oats, and honey. Mix, bake, cool, and cut. That’s all you need to do!
There are dozens of snack bars on grocery store shelves. However, when you read the labels, you’ll find many granola, protein, and snack type bars contain palm oil. Sometimes you’ll see Palm Oil or Palm Kernel Oil on the label. Other times it will be hiding in derivatives such as Glycerin, Glycerine, and Tocopherols.
In addition, Natural Flavors in granola bars often are sourced from palm oil. We know one nature-promoting and healthy-seeming brand of bars that has Glycerin from Palm Oil making up their Natural Flavors. Because it was in trace amounts, the Glycerin was able to hide in the general term: Natural Flavors.
This is why choosing Palm Oil Free certified products is so important. This is labeling by a third-party qualifying agency. It’s the same idea as a product with Vegan labeling and/or Gluten Free labeling. It guarantees the product is 100% palm oil free. Orangutan Alliance and the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme are two organizations which certify products in the United States and across the world.
Baking at home
I’ve been spending a lot more time in the kitchen and have been learning to bake more things since my son can’t eat anything with palm oil. He has a palm oil allergy / intolerance. Because of this, we bake all of our desserts from scratch. We buy less processed foods. Overall, we work very hard to not buy anything with palm oil because of the environmental concerns and to be in solidarity with my son.
I like making this palm oil free vegan bars recipe because it’s filled with protein and fiber. They aren’t processed. Using gluten free oats makes them GF as well. Everyone in my family can eat them.
Many vegan products include palm oil. Many palm oil free products aren’t vegan. Here we combine the best of both in our palm oil free vegan bars.
I am by no means a skilled baker, yet these bars are easy to make. I like making homemade vegan protein bars in batches and freezing them so we always have an easy breakfast, snack, or something filled with protein ready to grab and go. They are forgiving to make. See below for substitution ideas.
Vegan bar recipe without palm oil
Table of Contents
Baking tray (8×8 preferred)
½ cup each:
- Dates pitted and roughly chopped
- Raw honey
- Almonds halves
¼ cup each:
- Walnuts, roughly chopped
- Pistachios, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
Pinch of nutmeg powder
Pinch of cinnamon powder
- Preheat the oven at 275 degrees F and grease a small baking dish with olive oil.
- Process dates and honey in a blender until the mixture is thick and paste-like in consistency.
- Transfer mixture into a bowl and add all the remaining ingredients to it.
- Mix everything well until nicely combined.
- Transfer this granola mixture into the baking pan, flattening so it’s somewhat even.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the oven, cool it to room temperature, and then refrigerate it overnight.
- Cut it into small squares or bars and enjoy!
Tips and Substitutions
Like with many homemade nutrition bars, you can be flexible with ingredients. You’ll also want to be sure whatever ingredients you choose are palm oil free.
Choose local honey to support local and to be sure you are getting unprocessed, unfiltered, pure honey. If you buy honey in stores, look for brands local to your area or state. Choose raw and organic honey when possible. Regular honey in grocery stores is often processed
This vegan bars recipe requires a healthy mix of nuts, dried fruits, oats, and honey. Nuts are a staple in our pantry. They are easy to grab when we feel like we want to eat something but don’t know what to grab. They also one of our favorite snacks without palm oil. Nuts are a rich source of vitamin E, magnesium, healthy fats, and fiber. They also contain proteins, which help a great deal in satiation.
When choosing nuts, the only additional ingredient should be salt. You can also choose unsalted. There shouldn’t be additional ingredients. If you don’t like or don’t have almonds, pistachios, and walnuts at home, you can substitute other nuts. You can also use peanuts.
You can pulse them in a food processor rather than chopping them yourself. Do this before you add the dates. You want to be sure to chop them without grinding them too fine. Pulse them and remove them.
Sometimes with dried fruit, manufacturers add palm oil to increase shelf life. Be sure the dried fruit you use only contains that fruit. You can use raisins, dried apricots, cranberries and more. Adding figs will also be tasty though they may thicken the bars if you add too many. You can add coconut flakes as well. The dates and the other fruit make these bars a bit chewy while the nuts provide the crunch.
Be sure to buy gluten free oats if you want to make a gluten free vegan protein bar. While oats by nature are gluten free, they are typically processed in facilities that manufacture gluten-containing foods. So if you avoid trace gluten or “may contain” wheat, etc., make these with gluten free oats.
We’ve had good luck with McCormick spices. They haven’t made my son react; he reacts to even trace amounts of palm oil.
For cinnamon, we only use Red Ape Cinnamon because they have certified it Palm Oil Free from the International Palm Oil Free Certification Trademark Programme. You can buy it on their website or on Amazon. This cinnamon is amazing!
You can omit the cinnamon and/or the nutmeg if you don’t have them or if you don’t like the taste. These spices add to the flavor of the bars but you won’t miss them if you don’t use them. You can also substitute with pumpkin pie spice.
While many baked goods and desserts contain palm oil, palm oil derivatives, and/or shortening, this vegan bar recipe uses a light coating of organic olive oil and only to coat the pan. You can also substitute with avocado oil. In addition, you can use coconut oil but it will have a stronger flavor.
Storing vegan bars
It’s easy to double the recipe and make a double batch for convenient indulging later on. After cooling and cutting the bars, seal them in freezer bags or containers. I’m looking into and considering getting a vacuum sealer to make these in bulk and freeze them without worrying about freezer burn. It will be a way to store them air-tight for longer. I’d use it to batch cook other foods as well and also to save leftover fruits and vegetables for later use.
The best thing about making homemade bars is you know you are using real ingredients. While many companies nowadays are being more transparent and using real ingredients — and promoting them, like RXBAR and Larabar — the vast majority contain chemicals and palm oil. Choose bars with the least amount of ingredients.
You should recognize all of the ingredient names. To paraphrase Larabar, the companies should use food to make food. See our list of granola bars without palm oil.
No matter the branding and advertising, it’s important to know snack bars are not created equally. Baking at home and making homemade bars is a way to use healthy, real ingredients. In this way, you won’t worry about them being filled with added sugar, questionable nutritional value, and being processed.
Using this vegan bars recipe has also been a way to involve my kids in the kitchen. Together, we make desserts without palm oil from scratch. We make pancakes and waffles from scratch for breakfast without palm oil.
Vegan bars recipe that’s palm oil free
Many vegan foods aren’t palm oil free. A big reason for this is manufacturers use palm oil to create mouthfeel. They use palm oil to replace animal products in a lot of foods. As an example, shortening is typically vegan; however, it contains palm oil. To compare, consider butter. Real butter is not vegan but it’s palm oil free.
One spectacular thing about these vegan bars is they are palm oil free. Vegan and palm oil free foods help minimize the impact on the earth. The problem with palm oil that many vegans may not realize is that developers destroy rainforests to make room for palm oil production. They deforest areas and clear them to plant palm oil plantations. This means the wildlife living in the rainforests not longer have a habitat. Deforestation is one of the issues affecting the environment across the globe.
In addition, there may be some palm oil health concerns as well. Palm oil has a high content of saturated fats, which are culprits in heart diseases, as per scientific research.
These palm oil free vegan granola bars are fast and easy to make, filling, and packed with nutrients. We do our best to eat healthy foods. Instead of surfing grocery store shelves for the “healthiest kind” of palm oil free bars, sometimes it’s easier to buy healthy ingredients to prepare these super easy, delicious, and natural bars.