Fruit and Seed Bars

Fruit and Seed Bars

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

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Fruit and Seed Bars (Makes 20 Bars)

Prep Time: 2 mins Cook Time: 25 mins

egg free

nut free

dairy free

gluten free

Ingredients

  • 1 Cup old fashioned oats
  • 1/2 Cup Raw Pumpkin Seeds (also known as Pepitas)
  • 1/2 Cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 Tbsp 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. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. In a food processor, pulse the first 6 ingredients until finely chopped (it’s ok if there are few coarsely chopped pieces).

3. Add the honey and sunflower and pulse until starting to combine.

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.

4. Bake for 25 minutes.

5. Let the bars completely cool before cutting with a serrated knife into bars.

6. Serve.

*Cool, place in Ziploc bags, label and freeze. Defrost to room temperature and enjoy!

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Hi, I’m Catherine. Mama of three. A Kentucky girl living in California. Here’s what I know: all kids can be great eaters and mealtime must be easy. My passion is creating simple, healthy recipes that can be enjoyed by the whole family.

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71 comments

  • Ann

    Do these freeze well?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

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

      leave a comment

  • Shallena

    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?``

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

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

      leave a comment

    • Laurie

      Some Targets also carry it now!

      leave a comment

    • Annemarie

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

      leave a comment

    • Kanan

      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.

      leave a comment

  • Michelle

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

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

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

      leave a comment

  • Jodie

    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.

    leave a comment

  • Joy

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

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

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

      leave a comment

    • Susan

      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!

      leave a comment

  • Angela

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

    leave a comment

  • Melissa

    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!

    leave a comment

  • Bria

    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!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

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

      leave a comment

  • Hannah

    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.

    leave a comment

  • Sarah

    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!

    leave a comment

  • Zazie

    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.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

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

      leave a comment

  • Kathy

    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!

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

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

      leave a comment

    • Susan

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

      leave a comment

  • Celeste

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

    leave a comment

    • Ani

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

      leave a comment

  • Jenny

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

    leave a comment

  • Jen

    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.

    leave a comment

  • Shanna

    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!

    leave a comment

    • Daisy

      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.

      leave a comment

    • Whitney

      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!

      leave a comment

  • Michelle

    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.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      Yes they are unsweetened :)

      leave a comment

  • Melanie

    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!

    leave a comment

  • Sunily

    Seed and fruit bars!

    leave a comment

  • Amanda

    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!!!

    leave a comment

    • Geeta

      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!

      leave a comment

    • Cydni Tavarez

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

      leave a comment

  • M

    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.

    leave a comment

  • Lezlie

    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.

    leave a comment

  • Lezlie

    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!

    leave a comment

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  • Jen

    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 8x8 pan so I needed to bake them a bit longer. Thank you for this wonderful recipe! The variations are endless.

    leave a comment

  • Gary

    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.

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

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

      leave a comment

  • Garden Of Life Raw Protein

    <strong>garden of life raw protein...</strong>

    [...]Fruit and Seed Bars | Weelicious ??? - Fast, Easy &amp; Fresh Homemade Home Made Baby Food Babyfood Recipes, Toddler Food and recipes for the entire family![...]...

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  • Lorelei

    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.

    leave a comment

  • Catherine

    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!

    leave a comment

  • Katie

    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?

    leave a comment

  • Catherine

    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! :)

    leave a comment

  • Katie

    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!

    leave a comment

  • Rainey Daye

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

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

      You could use agave or brown rice syrup!

      leave a comment

  • Linda

    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!

    leave a comment

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  • Laura

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

    leave a comment

  • Cheryl

    sdf

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  • Maurine

    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?

    leave a comment

  • Kristina

    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

    leave a comment

  • Jeanette

    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?

    leave a comment

    • Catherine

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

      leave a comment

  • Seanna Marceaux

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

    leave a comment

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  • Aprilgaietto

    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

    leave a comment

  • Martha

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

    leave a comment

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  • Dorothy

    In the video Catherine says to add Flax Seed Meal to the mix but in the written recipe it shows flax seeds. Which is correct? Does the meal help keep it from being so crumbly?

    leave a comment

    • McCord

      I usually use whole flax seeds, but either one works just fine! :)

      leave a comment

  • Kim

    I didn't use a food processor and kept all the seed whole. I used only a half cup of oats and substituted crunchy raw almond butter for the sunflower butter (no nut allergies in my family.) I baked it for 35 minutes and it came out perfect! Looking forward to having it with morning coffee!!

    leave a comment

  • Robin

    Made theses for the first time today and they were amazing! These will be a staple for my son's school snack!

    leave a comment

    • McCord

      So glad they were a hit!

      leave a comment