I’m sure we’ve all done it. We’ve all that “ah ha” moment with some new food or meal we are going to start eating to get healthy. That food item that will revolutionize our entire day of food preparations and make us feel better, lose weight and sleep like a baby. Right?! You’ve done that too?! Well a few years ago my “ah ha” moment was steel cut oats. I was going to make a big batch of oatmeal Sunday nights before the work week began and scoop out of it daily for my ‘eat at work’ breakfast. I was going to add things like nuts and raisins and cinnamon and almond milk. I was going to be feeling amazing and saving precious time nightly not making my ‘make ahead meal’. It was going to change my life.
So of course I march off to Costco and buy myself the biggest bag of steel cut oats I could find. I mean, this was going to be a thing so I was going to need a lot. That weekend I made my first big batch of steel cut oats. I scooped out a portion and packed up my lunch. I’m pretty sure that was the last “big batch” of steel cut oatmeal I’ve ever made. I just couldn’t get into it. I don’t actually really like oatmeal. The big bag of steel cut oats was put away. But not forgotten.
I hate wasting food. I hate wasting food to the point that I will get pretty creative just to use up whatever is lurking in the fridge or cupboard. So this bag of oats haunted me. But if you’ve had steel cut oats you know they’re not the same as rolled oats. Tossing some into cookies or muffins just won’t work out the same way. I needed to find a way to use these up. So I hit the internet. I was surprised at how little there was for steel cut oat bar recipes then but I finally found one that sounded delicious, healthy and would probably be successful.
So I gave it a try. They turned out great! I ate them. Used up my oats and lost the recipe. Then a few months back, while trying to think of a filling “on-the-go” snack to make, I remembered those delicious bars. It was back to hunting down the recipe I had used. It took some time before I found it. I have tweaked it to my liking and have been making these oat bars weekly for months now. Success with steel cut oats! The reason why I want to share this with you is that these bars are 1, healthy, 2, very simple to put together, and 3, can practically sub in for a meal. They are that filling! Now I’ll stop boring you with all this chat and get to the good stuff.
Steel Cut Oat Bars
- 1/4 C coconut oil
- 1/4 C honey
- 1/4 C peanut butter
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 C quick cooking steel cut oats
- 1/2 C chocolate chips
- 1/4 C ea. ground flax, hemp hearts
- 1/2 C dried cranberries*
- 1/2 C raw pumpkin seeds*
- 1/4 C shredded coconut*
In a mixing bowl, stir together all dry ingredients and set aside.
In a small pot mix coconut oil, honey, peanut butter and vanilla. Heat on medium-low heat until it begins to simmer, stirring constantly. Once heated, quickly mix into dry ingredients.
Stir mixture until chocolate chips melt. Press into a 9×9 square pan and refrigerate for 2 hours or overnight.
Cut into 10 bars.
*note – can be subbed for similar nuts, dried fruit etc.
I really recommend giving these a try! Especially if you already have some steel cut oats hiding in your pantry. It always amazes me how full I am after eating one! And they are perfect for those moments when it’s 4 pm and you haven’t eaten since breakfast and you’re wrapped up in something you don’t want to put on pause! Grab a bar and continue on. I’m serious! They work that well! It’s always a good idea to have a healthy, simple snack option to keep those hands out of a bag of chips.
If you are interested in another use for the giant bag of steel cut oats you are probably about to buy, try mixing half a cup into my bread recipe (here) to boost the nutrition and fiber!