One thing that I find myself really craving but unable to easily find in Istanbul is granola bars. In America, especially when I find myself very busy, I often grab a granola bar, a piece of fruit, and some cut up veggies for lunch on the go. I had always wanted to try making granola bars on my own, but it was not until I moved back to Istanbul that it moved up higher on my to-do list.
These granola bars use ingredients that are easily found in Turkey, but you can be creative with them and add what you have at home (ex: peanut butter instead of tahini paste, almonds instead of walnuts, dried cranberries instead of raisins). I also think they would be great with some dark chocolate chips!
The nuts and seeds give these granola bars a nice crunch, but the overall oat base remains soft and chewy.
If you follow this recipe as it is below and make 10 bars, each one will come in at around 275 calories each (5.6 grams of fiber, 11 grams protein). Most store bought granola bars tend to come in around 200 calories, but that is generally achieved by adding rice-puffs or some other kind of “filler” ingredients that save the granola bar companies money, but don’t offer you any added nutritional value.
Makes 10 bars
2 cups oats
2 tablespoons ground flax seed (optional)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup tahini
¼ cup honey
½ cup soy milk (or other milk of your choice)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup sunflower seeds + more for topping
¼ cup raisins
¼ cup chopped dried apricots
¼ cup chopped walnuts
Optional, about 2 tablespoons sesame seeds for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Prepare a 9x9 inch square pan by lightly coating with canola or sunflower oil.
- In one bowl, combine dry ingredients (oats, flax, cinnamon).
- In another bowl mix together wet ingredients (tahini, honey, soy milk, and vanilla).
- Thoroughly mix together dry and wet ingredients.
- Fold in sunflower seeds, raisins, apricots, and walnuts.
- Using your hands, evenly press the mixture into the pan. Top with sesame seeds and additional sunflower seeds, then press gently so they stick to the of the granola mixture.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until edges become golden brown.
- Allow to cool for 20 additional minutes before cutting into 10 individual bars.
- Store in airtight container, or wrap individual bars to take with you on the go!