Chia almond butter bars made from almond butter, oats, coconut, dark chocolate and pecans are the perfect no-bake, chewy granola bar.
When you're craving a sweet treat, but not something too sweet, these chia bars are the perfect fix. Packed with creamy almond butter, crunchy pecans, coconut, dark chocolate and chia seeds, these chewy bars are equal parts dessert and healthy snack.
Maple syrup holds the bars together and delivers just the right amount of sweetness. The rest of the bar ingredients swirl together into a creamy, chewy, crunchy blend of deliciousness that also delivers some protein, fiber and healthy fats.
Why This Almond Butter Bar Recipe Works
- Easy to make, just mix and chill (no baking)
- Lightly sweetened with maple syrup - no refined sugar
- Almond butter adds a naturally sweet, nutty flavor
- Bars hold together well and have a dense chewy, crunchy texture
- Endless variations, add what you love!
Ingredient Variations & Substitutions
You can change these chia bars based on what you have on hand, or based on your favorite flavor combinations.
To insure that the bars hold together, keep the amount of nut/seed butter (1 cup) and maple syrup/honey (½ cup) the same.
Almond Butter: Almond butter bars have a rich nutty flavor. The natural sweetness of almonds makes almond butter perfect for granola bars. However, any type of nut or seed butter can be used. If you're looking for nut-free bars, try my nut-free granola bars made with sunflower butter, or tahini granola bars with cherries and vanilla.
Maple Syrup: Honey can be used in place of maple syrup and holds the bars together really well. Keep in mind that honey has a distinct "honey" flavor and will make the bars taste slightly sweeter.
Oats: Use regular or certified gluten-free old fashioned oats, also called rolled oats. They work better in these bars than quick oats.
Pecans: Nuts are optional, but they add a really delicious crunch to these otherwise soft and chewy bars. I love pecans, but you can use any type of nut you want. Just make sure the nuts are chopped in small to medium pieces. Roasted nuts have more flavor and crunch. You can lightly toast the nuts yourself or use store-bought roasted nuts.
Coconut: Either you love it or you hate it, right? I haven't tried leaving out the coconut, but you could probably skip this ingredient and the bars will be just as good.
Chia Seeds: If you take out the chia seeds, these obviously wouldn't be chia bars anymore, but you can do so if you like. You can also substitute in sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds or sunflower seeds.
Chocolate Chips: To me these are essential because I'm a chocolate lover. I love using really dark chocolate (or even unsweetened chips) but my kids prefer semi-sweet chocolate chips. However, you can use dried fruit instead.
- Mix together oats, pecans, coconut, chia seeds, chocolate chips and salt
- Mix together almond butter, maple syrup and vanilla. Warm briefly in the microwave.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients
- Pat the granola bar batter firmly into a parchment lined 8x8 pan
- Chill 1 hour, then cut
How to Toast Oats, Nuts and Coconut
Toasting the oats, pecans and coconut is an optional step before making the bars. However, it does make the bars taste extra good. Toasting brings out a richer, toasted flavor in all three ingredients. It also changes the texture, making each ingredient crunchier.
To toast any of these three ingredients, preheat the oven to 350 F. Spread the oats, nuts or coconut out evenly in a sheet pan. For oats, bake 10 to 12 minutes, until very lightly browned. Nuts and coconut toast faster, in as little as 8 to 10 minutes. Use your nose as a guide; when you smell a sweet, toasted flavor they're done. Use a timer and check the oven a few times - these ingredients can go from lightly toasted to burn very quickly.
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