For the strawberry chia jam:
- 2 cups (350 g) frozen strawberries*
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup
- 2 Tbsp (14 g) chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
For the banana oat bars:
- 2 cups (160 g) rolled oats, divided**
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed (200g or 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
Make the jam:
- Add strawberries and maple syrup to a medium saucepan set over medium heat. Heat until the berries begin to release their liquid, about 5-15 minutes depending on whether or not they were thawed first. Bring to a boil, stirring occasionally, until berries begin to break down and thicken, about 5 -10 minutes. Use your spoon to break them apart further if desired.
- Stir in the chia seeds and vanilla, continuing to cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the jam to cool. It will continue to thicken the longer it sits, which is why I usually like to make it the night before I’m planning on making these bars.
Make the bars:
- Preheat oven to 375F (190C) and prepare an 8×8 (20x20cm) baking dish by lining it with a sheet of aluminum foil or parchment paper, leaving a few inches of overhang on the sides to allow for easy removal. Spray foil with cooking spray and set aside.
- Place 1 cup of oats in a food processor or blender, and process until they resemble a fine flour. Transfer the oat flour to a large mixing bowl, and add the remaining rolled oats and baking powder, mixing well.
- Add the mashed bananas, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, and mix until everything is well combined and a dough is formed.
- Transfer 2/3 of the mixture into your prepared baking pan, using your fingers or a spatula to ensure that it is pressed down tightly and evenly. Spoon chia jam over the surface, and use a spatula or knife to spread it evenly, making sure to only go within 1/4 of the edge to prevent the jam from burning. Sprinkle remaining oat mixture on top, breaking up bigger chunks and pressing down lightly.
- Bake for 30 minutes until the top turns a light golden brown. Remove from oven and allow to fully cool in pan before cutting into bars.
* You can easily sub out strawberries for your favourite frozen fruit. Or use 3/4 cup store-bought jam if you don’t want to make your own. ** Make sure to use certified GF oats if you need these to be gluten-free.
Keywords: gluten-free oat bars, strawberry banana oat bars, strawberry chia seed jam, strawberry oat bars, vegan oat bars