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Fruit and Seed Bars

Fruit and Seed Bars

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Food allergies are a serious problem in this country -- nuts being a particular culprit. Most schools in our area (and many around the country) have banned nuts all together, regardless of whether or not the kids are known to have nut allergies. Thankfully, safety measures like those or having designated nut-free areas in school cafeterias help protect the ever increasing number of America's allergic children, but it can make life difficult for busy moms who rely on protein-filled snacks for their kids that are made with nuts. I can't imagine how challenging it must be for parents who deal everyday with food allergies, so I've been spending a lot of time developing recipes which use protein and nutrient-rich seeds as an alternative to nuts.

I think these bars deliver the goods: sunflower seeds are packed with protein and Vitamin E, pumpkin seeds with magnesium, and flax seeds with an off the charts amount of omega-3 fatty acids. Add in all of the other healthful ingredients in this recipe, and these fruit and seed bars are just as sweet, crunchy, healthy, and delicious as any nut-filled protein bar you'll find in stores. Even if you or your kids don't have a food allergy, try making a batch of these bars. My guys can't seem to get enough of them. And, it's a treat that most schools will be happy to welcome.

Photo by Maren Caruso

Fruit and Seed Bars  (Makes 20 Bars)

  • Prep Time: 2 mins,
  • Cook Time: 25 mins,
  • Rating:
    Rate this recipe
Food allergies are a serious problem in this country -- nuts being a particular culprit. Most schools in our area (and many around the country) have banned nuts all together, regardless of whether or not the kids are known to have nut allergies....

Ingredients

  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup raw pumpkin seeds (also known as pepitas)
  • 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds
  • 1 cup dried fruit (blueberries, raisins, currants, cranberries and/or cherries)
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1/2 cup sunflower butter

Preparation

  1. 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. 2. In a food processor, pulse the first 6 ingredients until finely chopped (it’s ok if there are few coarsely chopped pieces).
  3. 3. Add the honey and sunflower and pulse until starting to combine.
  4. 4. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 9 inch pan, greased then line with parchment and press down into the pan until completely even.
  5. 4. Bake for 25 minutes.
  6. 5. Let the bars completely cool before cutting with a serrated knife into bars.
  7. 6. Serve.
  8. *Cool, place in Ziploc bags, label and freeze. Defrost to room temperature and enjoy!
Fruit and Seed Bars

Nutrition Information

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Comments






  1. Pingback: Our favorite homemade granola bar recipes - Cool Mom Picks

  2. Martha

    February 5, 2014 at 10:35 pm

    These have become a staple in my household and our favorite after school snack. I will never buy another box of granola bars!

  3. aprilgaietto

    October 15, 2013 at 7:59 pm

    These taste really good. They were messy to make though! But worth the mess. I didn’t add pumpkin seeds though. I just added more sunflower seeds

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  6. Sabrina

    August 13, 2013 at 10:24 pm

    Another wholesome, delicious recipe. Thank you Weelicious!

  7. Jamie

    August 12, 2013 at 1:40 pm

    I am assuming these can be stored in the pantry for about a week (if they last that long!) or do they need to be in the fridge? These taste so good! Thanks for another great recipe.

    • catherine

      August 12, 2013 at 1:41 pm

      Yes, about a week on the counter. No need to refrigerate!

  8. Wendy

    August 9, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    Hi – A trick for cutting these without crumbling – place them in the fridge and let them cool/congeal for a few hours. Once completely cold, you should be able to cut them without crumbles.

  9. Tamara

    August 6, 2013 at 7:36 pm

    What a great way to use up dribs and drabs of nuts, seeds, raisins etc that are lying around the snack drawer! I swapped chia for flax because that’s what I had and added some chocolate chips just because I was feeling magnanimous. Baking as I type. Hope the kids like them tomorrow!

  10. Christine Squires

    August 6, 2013 at 1:04 pm

    My daughter LOVES the ‘on the go oatmeal bars’ so I am sure she will LOVE these as well! Thank you once again!

  11. Seanna Marceaux

    June 13, 2013 at 7:50 pm

    Here is that fruit seed bar I made. I made another batch substituting a couple of nuts etc. They are great!

  12. Jeanette

    June 4, 2013 at 9:23 pm

    My son is allergic to coconut (**sigh. Allergies suck). Do you think omitting it would be ok? Should I substitute something something else for the coconut?

    • catherine

      June 5, 2013 at 2:32 pm

      You could just leave it out and the bars should still be fine!

  13. Kristina

    May 7, 2013 at 3:24 pm

    We loved these but, it would be helpful to tell the reader to grease and line the pan earlier in the instructions, prior to giving the instruction to pour the ingredients in….didn’t make a huge difference but the first batch would have been prettier!

    Looking forward to your lunch book this summer!

    K

  14. maurine

    April 13, 2013 at 7:33 pm

    Wow…I actually logged on to email you and see of you could make these! My son had a bar from The Good Bean company and he loved it. Wobderif you could use roasted chickpeaa in this the way they did?

  15. cheryl

    December 2, 2012 at 7:07 pm

    sdf

  16. Laura

    September 3, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    These are absolutely delish. Thank you for another great recipe for the entire family.

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  18. Linda

    August 13, 2012 at 10:58 am

    I think I will try these with tahini instead of sunflower seed butter. I always have tahini. Anybody try that sub yet? Wondering if it will mess up the flavor, tahini is strong. Thanks for the recipe. I was looking to make my own Kind bars…. those are expensive!

  19. Rainey Daye

    August 9, 2012 at 10:42 am

    What can be used in place of the honey? Cause we have peanut and honey allergies here.

    • catherine

      August 9, 2012 at 11:33 am

      You could use agave or brown rice syrup!

  20. Katie

    June 11, 2012 at 7:22 pm

    Thanks so much for the info! Like everyone almost who visits your site, my family and I love almost all of your recipes! You are genius! Bless you for sharing!

  21. catherine

    June 11, 2012 at 7:17 pm

    For most people it just has to do with allergies. For my family we always have peanut and almond butter in the house, as well as often having sunflower butter and making our own pumpkin seed butter! I use a variety of nut and seed butters because they have different flavors! :)

  22. Katie

    June 11, 2012 at 4:31 pm

    Question since so many of you are so knowledgeable. When I was doing my own research on nuts, I found that peanuts are actually pretty darn high in protein, even higher than almonds. I do on occasion get almond butter, but I have been reassured that with no allergies in this house, I won’t be replacing my peanut butter. Is there some other reason except allergies that everyone has made the switch? Do it have to do with mono or polysaturated fats maybe?

  23. catherine

    June 8, 2012 at 11:48 am

    That will depend on your blender. The ingredients could get stuck under the blade, or near it and it wouldn’t chop up everything on top. You could try doing it in batches! You said you have a handheld blender. Do you mean a stick or immersion blender? I think that would work well to get the seeds and fruit all chopped up, and then maybe mix in the honey by hand. I hope it works!

  24. Lorelei

    June 7, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Since I don’t have a food processor, would it be crazy to try this with my blender? I have a stand up blender and a hand held.

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  26. Gary

    February 20, 2012 at 9:51 am

    yes.. the bars were so delicious!

    But after baking and cooling them down completely, the bars were crumbly while cutting.. I used a glass baking dish for baking. And I’m wondering if that needed extra baking time than what’s mentioned?
    I will try in a metal pan next time and see if that holds up the bars any better.

    • catherine

      February 20, 2012 at 5:35 pm

      Yes, usually with glass you need to extend the baking time by anywhere from 5-10 minutes!

  27. Jen

    January 28, 2012 at 7:15 pm

    These bars were absolutely delicious! I substituted peanut butter for the sunflower butter and slivered almonds for the flax seeds. Also, I only had an 8×8 pan so I needed to bake them a bit longer. Thank you for this wonderful recipe! The variations are endless.

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  29. lezlie

    October 9, 2011 at 5:16 pm

    Yum! No coconut for me & used almond butter instead of sunflower butter. After food processed dry stuff I mixed in the honey & butter with my hands. Turned out great, not much breaking apart as I cut it with a large pizza cutter. Kids loved them too!

  30. lezlie

    October 9, 2011 at 5:14 pm

    Yum! No coconut for me & used almond butter instead of sunflower butter. After food processed dry stuff I mixed in the honey & butter with my hands. Turned out great, not much breaking apart as I cut it with a large pizza cutter.

  31. M

    October 2, 2011 at 12:38 am

    Are these suppose to be soft or crunchy? I cooked mine longer then you said and they still seemed soft (maybe undercooked). Should I try cooking them longer or at a higher temperature to make them crunchy?
    The flavors are wonderful. Thanks for all the great recipes. My toddler loves making them with me.

  32. Amanda

    September 14, 2011 at 8:56 pm

    Where do you find dried fruit,pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and coconut that are NOT processed on the same equipment as tree nuts? My daughter is allergic to tree nuts and I have a hard time finding dried fruit, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds and flake coconut that she can have. these sound great!!!

    • Cydni Tavarez

      August 6, 2013 at 4:07 pm

      Check out mygerbs.com. They have seeds and dried fruit free of allergens.

    • Geeta

      September 26, 2011 at 3:02 am

      I find several of these products at Whole Foods, Peanut Free Planet (website), and sometimes I find the Enjoy Life brand of nut free trail mix at my local Vons. Once I find brands that work for us, I can sometimes order them cheaper from online sellers. Good luck. It’s tough finding safe foods for our kids, but they are out there!

  33. Sunily

    August 14, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Seed and fruit bars!

  34. Melanie

    July 24, 2011 at 1:29 pm

    Once again an amazing recipe! I made these this morning so that I would have a quick go-to for between meal snacks. I used peanut butter, dried apricots, dried blueberries and raises. They are rich and filling! Thank you!

  35. Kirsten C.

    October 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

    I actually heated the honey and sunflower butter together in a pot on the stove until it was soft and well-combined, then added it to the other ingredients. I was concerned it wouldn’t combine easily so I put it all into a mixing bowl (after pulsing the seeds, oats, dried fruit) and got my bare hands in there to mix it all up. It worked great and was a great stress relief at the same time! The bars turned out great but I immediately thought I’ll try them with mini dairy-free chocolate chips next time. A bit of candied ginger would be good too if you don’t mind a teeny amount of added sugar.

    • Kirsten C.

      October 8, 2010 at 10:53 pm

      Oh yeah…and I toasted the seeds first too! Added a really nice flavour to the bars. Delicious!

  36. Megan

    October 6, 2010 at 8:01 pm

    Hi there, I absolutely love these bars, thanks so much for the recipe. I posted about them on my blog, I hope you don’t mind. I’ve linked it back to your site of course.
    http://megans-kitchen.blogspot.com/2010/10/fruit-and-seed-bars.html

  37. Kimberly

    September 5, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I just made these and had the same problem with them falling apart. I think the recipe has an error. In #3 you say the honey and sunflower mixture – when do you mix it and how – in a bowl or heat in on the stove like you do in your granola balls? The parts that had the butter/honey were stuck together but the parts that weren’t mixed well didn’t. Am I missing something here? Thanks.

    • catherine

      September 7, 2010 at 1:06 pm

      Sorry for the confusion, did not mean to say mixture. You really need to pulse all the ingredients so they are chopped fine, then you add the honey and sunflower evenly throughout the ingredients and keep pulsing until it comes together ( you may have to open the lid and with a spatula scrape down the sides and keep pulsing again) The mixture will eventually come together – you have to be patient so you can allow the dry ingredients to soak in the honey and butter. When it is done cooling, cut them in with a serrated knife and serve :)

  38. Daisy

    August 26, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    Thanks for posting these!! I can’t wait to make them. The littlest one has food allergies and loves some specific (pricey) allergy-friendly bars we get at Whole Foods, but these would be great and much less expensive!!

    Question… We already have ground flax seed on hand. How much would we use in place of the 2T flax seeds?

    • catherine

      August 30, 2010 at 1:58 pm

      Just use 1 Tsp :)

  39. Susan

    August 18, 2010 at 1:30 pm

    I had the same issues as one of the posters above- the bars never seemed to glue together in the pan and even after they cooled, it still all fell apart like granola. I am pretty sure I followed the recipe to the letter. I was really looking forward to these too.

    • catherine

      August 18, 2010 at 4:51 pm

      I tested these 3 times and they worked well for me, I will be testing them again tomorrow and see what tips I can add so they can work better for everyone :)

  40. Michelle

    June 26, 2010 at 7:16 am

    Do you use unsweetened dried fruit in this recipe? I saw Trader Joe’s had unsweetened dried blueberries and cranberries but wasn’t sure if they would change the flavor of the recipe.

    • catherine

      June 28, 2010 at 3:33 pm

      Yes they are unsweetened :)

  41. Shanna

    June 19, 2010 at 9:54 pm

    I am really blown away at the amount of food allergies kids have these days compared to when I grew up. Is it because parents introduce certain foods too early?

    I made these the other day and since no one in my house has any food allergies of any kind I used raw almond butter in place of the sunflower seed butter and the dried fruits I used were blueberries, cherries, cranberries and chopped turkish apricots. These are a HUGE hit with my almost 2 year old as well as myself and husband.

    Also I seem to never be able to find certain dried fruits like cranberries or blueberries without added sugar. I soaked and rinsed mine for a while making sure they didn’t rehydrate but to try to get some of the sugar off. It seemed to help a little. Not sure where I can find dried fruit without sugar added, even whole foods has them with sugar added.

    This is a keeper recipe though! Thanks!

    • Whitney

      October 20, 2010 at 2:23 pm

      Ditto again on the “doing everything right” and still ending up with food allergies. I nursed exclusively for 6 months, introduced things VERY slowly and my son still has allergies to dairy, eggs, peanuts and tree nuts. Oh, and no family history of allergies either. In fact, my husband grew up on a dairy farm! I’m on board with the “too many antibacterials” bandwagon causing these allergies. A little dirt and germs is a good thing!

    • Daisy

      August 26, 2010 at 8:20 pm

      For a while, our Whole Foods had cranberries sweetened with apple juice…but it was the same amount of sugar, if not more. I would love to find some without added sugar, too…

      Also, about the food allergies. I’m not sure why really. But I do know that we took ALL of the protective measures we knew of with allergies…not introducing solids until 6 months, waiting even more than 4 days between new foods, holding off on allergenic foods until much later, breastfeeding (still as a toddler), making ALL of his baby food from scratch and from organic foods…and he still ended up with food allergies! My mother has TONS of severe food allergies – not sure if that played a role, even though dr.s say it only matters if the parents have allergies (and we don’t, though I might have a gluten sensitivity).

      I wonder all the time how he has them… If he didn’t, I would probably be wondering the same thing you said about giving foods too soon b/c I think it’s a common problem, but I know that played no role in it for us. Sometimes you can do it all right and still have problems.

      • Laurie

        November 9, 2010 at 8:09 am

        I have twin boys – obviously they were exposed to the same things in utero and I fed them the same foods as infants and toddlers. One has allergies and the other doesn’t – not sure that we should feel guilty about the food allergies.

      • christy

        October 5, 2010 at 8:32 pm

        Same thing for us, Daisy! Followed all the rules and even drove an hour to Whole Foods once a week to buy organic food to make his baby food…..still allergic to nuts:(

        The only difference is I do have food allergies. Brings mom guilt to a whole new level:(

  42. Jen

    June 17, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    my 20 month old helped make these bars and she LOVES them! I used cashews instead of sunflower seeds because that’s what I had, and they still turned out great.

  43. Jenny

    June 13, 2010 at 8:45 pm

    Bob’s red mill makes gluten free oats, as do many specialty companies.

  44. Celeste

    June 13, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    Any alternative to Oats? My son is gluten-free.

    • ani

      July 11, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      besides GF oatmeal you could also try quinoa flakes. Natural food stores carry them as well as Whole Foods.

  45. Kathy

    June 12, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    is there an alternative to sunflower seed butter? My daughter is allergic to nuts, sunflower seeds, in addition to egg, dairy, corn, sesame… BTW, i love your recipes!

    • Susan

      August 24, 2010 at 3:27 pm

      Soy Nut Butter!!! It’s all we use in our nut allergic house..

    • catherine

      June 14, 2010 at 3:11 pm

      You could use another nut or seed butter but since she is allergic, I don’t know. Can she have soy nuts?

  46. Zazie

    June 11, 2010 at 2:10 pm

    I just made these and they taste great, but they fell apart when I tried to cut them. What did I do wrong? Did I not bake them long enough?
    Great recipe though. I’ll be making them again. Hopefully my 2 1/2 year old likes them as much as I do.

    • catherine

      June 11, 2010 at 3:47 pm

      Did you allow them too cool completely before cutting into them? Make sure you combine all the ingredients well.

  47. Sarah

    June 10, 2010 at 7:14 pm

    These are delicious! I took them out of the oven about 30 minutes ago and couldn’t wait until they cooled completely – they smelled so good I had to try them warm. :) The only change I made was to use almond butter as I’m not concerned about nuts and had it on hand. They are way better than store-bought bars. I think my little guy is going to love them. Thanks for a great recipe!

  48. Hannah

    June 9, 2010 at 2:43 pm

    I just want to thank you for the attention and consideration to allergy-friendly recipes. I have frequented your website since my twin boys were starting on solids (they are now 2) and modify as many recipes as I can for them (allergies to milk, soy, nuts and egg). Your recipes are usually a big hit! I would love to see more recipes like this! Thanks so much for making my life a little easier as I try to feed my very allergic children nutritious, tasty food.

  49. Bria

    June 7, 2010 at 10:19 pm

    What is the reasoning behind greasing the pan then lining with parchment? I’ve baked both ways but never done both at the same time…

    Thanks!

    • catherine

      June 8, 2010 at 3:55 pm

      They come out much easier, so you can lift the paper and cut them on the board.

  50. Melissa

    June 7, 2010 at 7:15 pm

    My Target actually sells sunflower butter! And most of my food stores are also carrying soynut butter, which is a big hit with my daughter (who is allergic to nuts). Good luck!

  51. Angela

    June 7, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    My Kroger has sunflower butter. It’s located in the whole foods area. It’s kind of like a peanut butter but very yummy :)

  52. Joy

    June 7, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    Could I use something other than Sunflower butter if i can’t find it? No trader joe’s around here…

    • Susan

      August 24, 2010 at 3:26 pm

      My local Super Target has sunflower butter and soy nut butter..we have a peanut allergy in our house so I do soy nut butter and it tastes great in granola bars…I make a very similar recipe to this one but I do add almonds and a splash of molasses…yum!

    • catherine

      June 7, 2010 at 3:23 pm

      You can use almond butter or peanut butter, as long as there is no allergy.

      • HOlly

        July 25, 2010 at 5:01 pm

        I think Whole Foods carries Sun Butter. I’ve seen it more recently even at some Super Targets as well as some local grocery stores here in CO.

  53. Jodie

    June 7, 2010 at 11:10 am

    I can’t wait to make these TODAY. My son is obsessed with granola bars, but they all have so much sugar. Thank you!

    I don’t know where Shallena lives, but in CA, Trader Joe’s has Sunflower Butter.

  54. Michelle

    June 7, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Any alternatives to the coconut flakes? (I am not a coconut fan.)

    • catherine

      June 7, 2010 at 3:20 pm

      I would just add half cup more of dried fruit. You can just not put them in.

  55. Shallena

    June 7, 2010 at 10:46 am

    Where do you get sunflower butter? This isn’t something I have found in any of the stores here. Also, do you ever post nutritional info..calories, carbs, protein, fiber etc?“

    • Kanan

      August 8, 2013 at 9:14 am

      Shallena, you can get the nutrition info about practically most food ingredients on this website: http://nutritiondata.self.com/ enter the food name in field labeled the same.

      Catherine, your recipes are awesome and am really happy to have discovered your website. Can’t wait to try these bars.

    • annemarie

      May 17, 2011 at 8:19 am

      if you have a natural foods isle in your store check there. usually on the shelf above the almond butter

    • Laurie

      November 9, 2010 at 8:02 am

      Some Targets also carry it now!

    • catherine

      June 7, 2010 at 3:19 pm

      You can get sunflower butter at any health foods store like whole foods or trader jo’s or any other store.

  56. Ann

    June 7, 2010 at 7:50 am

    Do these freeze well?

    • catherine

      June 7, 2010 at 3:18 pm

      If they are stored properly, yes. But I have not tried it.