I learned something shocking recently.
Not everyone loves overnight oats as much as I do. I know. It’s crazy, right? For one thing, the texture, which I find magically creamy and delicious, is not for everyone. Also, being the winter and all, not everyone is into the idea of a cold breakfast. And perhaps most importantly, I think that my definition of ‘portable’ and ‘on the go’ meals is a bit broader than most.
But there’s hope for you non-lovers of overnight oats who are still looking for a quick, easy, ready-made and on-the-go breakfast. And today hope comes in the form of a delicious and nutritious make-and-freeze breakfast bar.
<-- This means these bars are freezer friendly. Neat, eh?
These bars are pretty much the easiest things. It’s basically a bunch of stuff mashed up and stirred together, then pressed into a pan and baked. The bars get cooled, sliced, and then stored in the freezer where they’ll last for a couple of months.
These bars have:
- Oats --> fiber, protein, complex carbohydrate
- Red lentils --> fiber, protein, complex carbohydrate
- Coconut --> healthy fat
- Hemp seeds --> healthy fat, protein
- Chia seeds --> healthy fat, protein, omega-3’s
- Bananas --> carbohydrate, potassium, natural sweetness
- Coconut oil --> healthy fat
Woah, so much goodness! That combo of healthy fats, protein, and complex carbohydrate means that these bars will fill you up and keep you satiated for a good while.
But we should probably talk about the fact that there are lentils in these bars. The most important thing to know about the lentil <–> bar situation is how much amazing protein and fiber the lentils bring to the table. The second most important thing to know is that you can’t taste the lentils. And if you’re weirded out by the idea of seeing the lentils, there are ways to hide them (see the recipe footnotes for that info).
So if you’re looking for a make-and-freeze solution to breakfasts on the go for your busy life, schedule these into your weekend batch cooking. They’re also great for pre and post workout snacks, and can sustain a day or two of being bashed around in your backpack. Perfect, right?
Oats are rich in indigestible carbohydrates called beta-glutens which help to lower blood cholesterol levels. Oats are also host to a number of phenolic compounds which have antioxidant properties. Due to the high levels of those beta-glucans, oats are also helpful in stabilizing blood sugar. In fact, eating oats in the morning may help keep your blood sugar stable throughout the entire day. Oats are also a good source of dietary fiber and protein. Look for gluten-free oats if you're celiac or have another gluten sensitivity. Lentils are a nutritional powerhouse. They are a great source of dietary fiber,manganese, iron, and protein.
make and freeze breakfast bars
- ¾ cup oat flour
- ½ cup split red lentils
- ½ cup rolled oats
- ½ cup unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ cup hemp hearts
- 1 ½ tablespoon chia seeds
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup dried blueberries
- 3 very ripe bananas mashed (about 1 ½ cups)
- ½ cup almond milk
- ¼ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- Preheat your oven to 350°F / 180°C
- Line a 9x11 pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl mix together oat flour, lentils, rolled oats, coconut, hemp hearts, chia seeds, cinnamon, salt, and blueberries.
- In a smaller bowl, whisk together mashed banana, almond milk, coconut oil, maple syrup, and vanilla.
- Add the wet mixture to the dry, and stir to combine well.
- Press the mixture into the prepared baking pan, and use a spatula or wet hands to spread into a smooth layer.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the edges are golden.
- Remove from the oven and let cool completely in the pan. Slice into 12 bars, and place in a freezer bag separated by squares of parchment paper.
-If you want to hide the lentils, cook the lentils first. Drain and mash them, then whisk them in with the banana. In this case, do not use the almond milk or your bars will be too wet.
Hi. I've made these several times now, the only change being the dried fruit. So I was thinking that I could make them even more nutritious by sprouting the lentils first. Any thoughts on how to treat them i.e. using less liquid as they are sprouted so almost like they were cooked?
Thanks for a great recipe
Hey Perry, I haven't tried this recipe with sprouted lentils, but I imagine that you'd need to reduce the moisture a bit. Probably by not too much though - please let us know how it turns out!
If posting a reipe, shoulen't you include the calories and other nutritional info?
Hi Karen, I don't include calorie counts with my recipes because I prefer a whole foods approach to nutrition, but if you're in need of specific calories and other macronutrient breakdowns there are great online recipe calculators you can use.
Ana @ Ana's Rocket Ship
These bars look so amazing. I can't wait to have a go at them. And the lentils make me feel better about putting chickpeas in my smoothie!!!!
I put beans in my smoothies too! So much better than protein powder. Usually I use black beans in a chocolate smoothie, but I'll toss in white beans or chickpeas from time to time as well. Legumes rule! I hope you give these bars a try soon as well, they're so great stashed away in the freezer 🙂
I cant mix fruits with lentil, is there something else i can use in place of it?
If you can't mix fruit with lentils then I'd leave the lentils out and increase the oats to replace them. You'll also want to leave out the almond milk, in that case, as it's the lentils that really soaks it up. Good luck!
I LOVE overnight oats but my husband hates them 🙂 Love the idea of freezing these bars, how would you defrost them?
I usually just pull them out of the freezer and toss one into my lunch bag, and by the time I go to eat it it's defrosted! But you could also pop them for a quick turn in the microwave, or pull them out of the freezer the night before you'll want one. They don't take long to defrost on their own, though!
Can the coconut oil be left out or something substituted for those who are plant based an don't use oil?
I've not tried the recipe without the coconut oil, so I can't say how they would turn out without it. If I was going to try leaving it out I might add a bit of extra banana or apple sauce in it's place. If you try this please let us know what you did and how it turns out!
These sound great but I don't like cooked banana, any ideas what I could substitute?
Hmmm, good question. I haven't tried this recipe with anything else so I can't say for sure what would work, but I think you could try replacing the mashed banana with 1 1/2 cups of unsweetened apple sauce and see how that works out.
Thank you brilliant idea I will try it 🙂
Great! Let me know how it turns out!
Canned pumpkin is a great substitute for banana.
It is... but the bananas provide much of the sweetness in this recipe, so if you used pumpkin instead be mindful that you'll need to adjust the sweetness somewhere else.
I LOVE me some overnight oats and eat it quite frequently, but I may just have to take a break so I can try these breakfast bars. They look so delicious and I love the idea of the red lentils. I'll give these a go this coming week! Thank you!
I also love overnight oats, but sometimes it's nice to have something quick and easy in the freezer that you don't even need to think about. Give them a try and let me know what you think!
Would plain old cows milk work in lieu of almond milk?
These are great as I can send them to school with the kiddos as they are wholesome and don't have nuts in them.
I haven't tried it, but I don't see why not. Plain old water would probably work too. It's just to provide a bit of liquid for the lentils to soak up.
Linda @ Veganosity
Oh wow, I love that these have lentils in them. This is on my must try list. Pinned!
The lentils are great! You can't taste them, and they bring so much good nutrition to the table.
I would love to make these today however I do not have Hemp Hearts. Can you suggest something I could substitute?
Hi Susan, you could replace the hemp hearts with some other kind of seeds or finely chopped nuts. Walnuts could work well if they're chopped very small, around the same size as hemp hearts.
Intrigued by the idea of the lentils in here + what a great idea to get some extra nutrients in there. I generally tend to be pretty rubbish at breakfast so these bars sound like an excellent solution to that.
These are a really great breakfast. Between the lentils and the hemp seeds there's loads of protein, so such a great and healthy way to have a quick and easy breakfast on the go.
This looks so great! Just to confirm, there's no need to pre-cook the lentils? I adore lentils and have no problem seeing them but just want to make sure I understand the recipe properly 🙂 Thanks for sharing!
Nope, toss them in uncooked. There's enough liquid in the bars that they soak it up and become soft during the baking time.
wow, legumes in a breakfast bar. Very interesting! I'll have to give this a try!
Legumes for breakfast are where it's at! Let me know how you like it 🙂
THANK YOU!!!!!! This hits all of my breakfast needs for busy weekday mornings. Making a batch this weekend:)
Aaaaaaaand I'm getting more lentils into the lady who thought she didn't like lentils!
Exactly! You are so sneaky:)
I love snacky bar type things, especially when they've got a bit of protein, but I've never been big on protein powders. Using lentils is brilliant! I will definitely give these a try.
I'm not into protein powders either, so this is a perfect solution. Between the lentils and the hemp hearts there's a lot of protein up in here!
Hi Katie! These look really great! What do you think of the digestibility of raw legumes such as lentils? Do you believe in the idea that they should be soaked or fermented to increase nutrient absorption and digestibility? Thanks 🙂
Hi Jackie! I think that soaking & cooking definitely increases the digestibility, but these lentils do get cooked in the bars. There's enough liquid that they soak it up while baking and become quite soft.
Hi Katie! I finally had the chance to make these and I think they are really good! Thanks for the recipe! I'm going to stash a bunch in the freezer for when our baby is born in July. They will make a great middle-of-the-night feeding snack 🙂
amy (Wooden Spoon Baking)
So genius! Love the red lentil idea, and freezing is a great solution to spoilage. We've never really gotten into making our own bars because there's so much sweetener in most recipes and my husband won't actually take anything that isn't pre-wrapped out of the house (sigh).
And yes, not a fan of overnight oats here. They strike me as food for invalids or the cooking-impaired.
I do love overnight oats, but I get how some people find the texture unappealing. But these bars tick all the boxes - not too sweet, handy and portable, and full of good stuff. I hope you try them!
These are gorgeous pictures Katie! They look moist and so tidy and so appealing with the coconut and banana x
They're delicious, Deena! I hope you give them a try.
Your breakfast bars are exactly what I'm looking for. I plan to take them on a 5 day canoe trip. Do the bars have to be kept frozen? Can I keep them in a cooler for about 5 days (ice in cooler will last 5 days) ?
You could keep them in an air tight container refrigerated for about a week, or even at room temperature for a few days.