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
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 medium-sized ripe bananas, mashed (200g or 1 cup)
- 1/4 cup (60 ml) maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 Tbsp almond butter***
- Make the jam:
- Add the 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 the 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 the 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 (80 g) 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, baking powder, and salt, mixing well.
- Add the mashed bananas, maple syrup, and vanilla extract, mixing until everything is well combined and a sticky dough is formed.
- Transfer the dough to your prepared baking pan, using a spatula to ensure that it is evenly distributed. Spoon the chia jam over top, and use a spatula to spread it evenly, making sure to only go within 1/4 of the edge to prevent the jam from burning. Drop the almond butter in small dollops across the entire surface of the jam, and use a toothpick to swirl it around a little.
- Bake the bars for 30-35 minutes until the top has set. Remove them from the oven and allow them to cool in the pan for about 20 minutes before removing and cutting into bars.
* You can easily sub out strawberries for your favourite fruit. Or use 3/4 cup store-bought jam if you don’t want to make your own. ** Make sure to use certified gluten-free oats if you need these to be gluten-free. *** Feel free to use peanut butter if that’s what you have on hand, or use a soy-nut butter to make these nut free. Also, either smooth,crunchy, natural, or no-stir work fine. If you’re having trouble getting your nut butter to spread, melt it in the microwave for 30 seconds prior to dropping on the bars.
Keywords: AB&J, almond butter and jelly, banana bread, banana bread bars, breakfast, chia seed jam, gluten-free, healthy, PBJ, recipe, snack, vegan