Grain-Free Nut and Seed Energy Bars

There’s no gluten, dairy, or processed sugar in these energy bars. In fact, no grain at all. My son spends a lot of time in the woods and wanted me to come up with something that could withstand being tossed in a backpack, but he didn’t want any sweetener or grains. (I know. I think he was a changeling, I really do.) I lobbied for a small amount of honey to make the bars sturdier but kept it to a minimum. And do you know what? These are good! Really good. The chia and honey work together to glue all the yummy nuts and seeds together. I also added some dried cranberries and blueberries.

For my first attempt, I used a three-seed mix of chia, hemp, and flax. There wasn’t enough chia to hold it all together well, so I tried again, added more chia, and got it right.

Baking times may vary a little, depending on how thin you spread the mixture, and on your oven. My oven doesn’t hold heat once it’s turned off. It has a fan that blows the heat out, which is a little annoying when I try to make meringues or crackers (things that I want to dry out slowly). So you may have to play with the timing a bit. I also wanted these pretty dry and crunchy; you can give them a shorter bake time if you want them softer.

You’ll probably want to hit a natural-foods market for ingredients. The recipe uses quite a variety, and you can usually buy small amounts in bulk there. Of course, once you’ve tried these you may go back for larger quantities.

Nuts, seeds, fruit, and honey

Grain-Free Nut and Seed Energy Bars
Makes 20 large bars
  • 1 cup water
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup sesame seeds
  • ¼ cup pumpkin seeds
  • ½ cup flax seed (or flax/hemp combination)
  • 4 cups chopped nuts (I used walnuts, pecans, almonds)
  • ½ cup dried fruit (I used cranberries and blueberries)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
  1. Heat oven to 325 F. Cover a large baking sheet with an 11½ x 16" Silpat (or parchment)
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the water and honey.
  3. Add seeds and let the mixture sit for 10 minutes. It should get thick.
  4. Add nuts and fruit and stir well.
  5. Spread evenly on the prepared baking sheet, It will tend to get thicker in the middle, so try to smooth it out so the edges are the same thickness.
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip the bars over. (Either place another silpat and a baking sheet on top and flip the whole thing over, then cut into desired sizes - or cut into bars and flip each one over. Return to oven.
  7. Reduce heat to 250 F. and bake for an additional hour. Without opening the door, turn off the oven and let the bars sit until cool. (They should be firm. If not, you can bake for additional time at 250 F.)

Stir seeds into water and honey. Let them thicken up!

Add nuts and fruit and stir well

Spread evenly onto silpat or parchment

You may want to have another baking sheet ready. After it’s baked for 30 minutes, it needs to be flipped over. You can place another baking sheet on top and flip (then cut bars and put it back in the oven) or cut bars and flip each one over before returning to the oven. Whichever seems easiest to you. I’m a “flip the whole mess over at once” kinda gal.

See? Wasn’t that easy? Now you can have a healthy snack whenever you need a pick-me-up. Put this on your calendar, because you won’t see something like this on my blog very often.



My Kinda Bars

My Kinda Bars watermark verticalThis relentless sweet tooth of mine has discovered the thrill of a snack that’s actually pretty healthy! I love Kind bars, but find it hard to fork over the money for them, so of course I had to try to make my own.

I tried lots of different methods, but ultimately (of course) went with the one that had the most steps. It just turned out so much better it was worth the extra time. By tossing my nuts and cereal in boiled syrup and then baking it like caramel corn, the bars glued together perfectly and didn’t have a pool of crunchy sugar on the bottom.

Not that I have anything against a layer of crunchy sugar…but you might.

I used honey and pure organic maple syrup when making these, since both are a little lower on the glycemic index than processed sugar. If you’re watching your sugar intake and want to go lower, you can substitute brown rice syrup for the maple syrup. I’ll be making them with maple sugar soon, but realize that not everyone has easy access to that – so this was my compromise.

Nuts, raisins, and puffed rice are held together with just enough sweet syrup to do the job. That’s it! I think these are perfect for those moments when you are in a rush and have to grab and go; you’ll be amazed by how satisfying and filling they are.My Kinda Bars watermark hoirz

Oh, and in case you make these and think that hiding them in the freezer will keep you from munching uncontrollably, fuhgeddaboudit. They’re delicious frozen. I know this.

This particular recipe is for maple Kinda bars. If you are using a maple flavoring like Mapleine, you may be able to cut the amount of flavoring back to one tablespoon, but I used pure maple extract, which doesn’t seem to be as strong, so it took two tablespoons for a mild maple flavor.

Adjust these any way you like, as long as you keep the basic ratio of four cups of nuts to two cups of cereal. Cashews are very good, as are hazelnuts (if you like them.) I’m not a fan.


  • If you don’t love maple, use vanilla instead. A dash of cinnamon is nice, too.
  • I have a distrust of parchment, so I butter mine before pressing the mixture into the pan, just for insurance. If you have more faith than I, you can skip that step.
  • Press the mixture into the pan firmly. One way is to place a piece of parchment over the top and press with your hand. If you aren’t willing to risk pain, you might want to wait a few minutes for it to cool down.
  • Cut when the bars are solid but still slightly warm. This will keep them from crumbling at the edges.
My Kinda Bars
Yields 18 bars measuring approximately 1½-inches by 4½-inches or 27 bars measuring approximately 1½-inches by 3 inches.
  • 1½ cups chopped almonds
  • 1½ cups chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 2 cups chopped unsweetened rice puff cereal (not krispy cereal...puffed.)
  • ½ cup raisins
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • ⅓ cup pure maple syrup (or brown rice syrup)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil (more for greasing baking pan)
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons pure maple extract (or 1-2 tablespoons maple flavoring like Mapleine.)
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  1. Heat oven to 250 F.
  2. Prepare a large rimmed baking pan or cake pan by greasing with coconut oil. Prepare a 9X13 baking pan by lining with buttered (or you may use coconut oil) parchment.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the nuts, raisins, and cereal.
  4. In a medium pan on medium heat, bring the honey, maple syrup, coconut oil, and salt to a boil. Turn down slightly to maintain a gentle boil and cook for 4 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Remove from heat and stir until the bubbles are gone. Add the flavoring and baking soda and stir briskly.
  6. Pour hot mixture over nuts and cereal in the bowl and stir until combined.
  7. Pour into the large greased pan and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes.
  8. Spread baked mixture into parchment-lined pan and press firmly. You may want to cover with a sheet of parchment and press again with your hands.
  9. Cool until solid but still slightly warm. Lift out, using parchment, and cut into strips.
  10. Store in an airtight container, layered with waxed paper or parchment. These freeze well, too!
Chopped rice puffs help the bars hold together better.

Chopped rice puffs help the bars hold together better.

Combine chopped nuts, raisins, and rice puffs.

Combine chopped nuts, raisins, and rice puffs.

Use the good stuff! (Or brown rice syrup if you prefer.)

Use the good stuff! (Or brown rice syrup if you prefer.)

Cook the syrup.

Cook the syrup.

Lightly spoon into greased baking pan and bake.

Lightly spoon into greased baking pan and bake.

Press firmly (!) into lined pan.

Press firmly (!) into lined pan.

Cut into bars - whichever size you prefer.

Cut into bars – whichever size you prefer.

My Kinda Bars very close watermarked

If you know me at all, you know that my mind is already going a million miles an hour, thinking of variations that I would love.

  • Peanuts, almonds, and raisins drizzled with dark chocolate.
  • Pumpkin seeds, pecans, walnuts, dates, and pumpkin pie spice (with a handful of oats perhaps?)
  • Cashews, almonds, pecans, with a cup of dark chocolate covered raisins stirred into the baked mixture before it’s pressed into the pan.

I’m certain you have some great ideas, and I’d sure love to hear them!