S and I share many traits. We both prefer staying in to going out and partying. We have ambitious Goodreads goals. We appreciate a solid pun. But one point of difference is our tolerance for meal repetition. Although I have no problem with leftovers in general, I need diversity in my meals. Eating the same thing for lunch or dinner every day bores me. S, on the other hand, has been known to make a giant pot of his favorite cold noodle dish on a Sunday and eat it every. single. day. for lunch throughout the week. Me? I’m bored by Tuesday. When a series of events led to him having Chipotle for lunch three days in a row a few months ago, he could’ve kept going for the next week. Me? I’m good with a monthly Chipotle fix.
When it comes to breakfasts, I have marginally more tolerance for repetition. But lately I’ve become bored with overnight oats, my typical summer staple. Well… “bored” is too weak a word for my feelings. “Repulsed by” is too strong, but it’s somewhere between the two poles. The finer distinctions of my current dislike aside, I wanted to make myself a substantial breakfast that would fill me up like oats do but would not require me to eat from a jar. (I’m so over that for now.) Determined to use the quickly browning bananas on my kitchen island, I gathered inspiration from my Blueberry-Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies and my Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal.
The result? Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars, a satisfying breakfast you can eat with your hands—no jar required! My poor reviled oats take on new life in a dense, satisfying square sweetened ever so lightly with brown rice syrup. A few tablespoons of almond butter add filling protein and fat, but the nut-free among you could switch to soy butter with no major flavor changes. I left mine bare, but you could dress up your bars with chocolate chips, chopped nuts, or dried fruit. (And if you have a sweet tooth, consider adding a tablespoon or two of dark brown sugar to the wet ingredients—I prefer less-sweet breakfasts, but I know not everyone does!)
Banana-Oatmeal Breakfast Bars
Makes 9 servings
- 1 C whole-wheat pastry flour
- 2 C old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 t baking powder
- 2 t cinnamon
- 1/2 t salt
- 1/2 t nutmeg
- 2 medium-large very ripe bananas
- 1 C unsweetened non-dairy milk (I used almond)
- 1/4 C brown rice syrup
- 2 T almond butter
- 2 T ground flax
- 2 t vanilla extract
- Optional add-ins: chocolate chips, chopped nuts, dried fruit
Preheat the oven to 375˚ and prepare an 8″ x 8″ baking pan. I typically use coconut oil, but any oil or spray will do.
In a large bowl, mix the flour, oats, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, and nutmeg. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mash the bananas very thoroughly—they should be very liquid-y. Add the almond milk, brown rice syrup, almond butter, and vanilla extract and whisk to incorporate fully. Add the ground flax and give the liquid mixture a last stir.
Pour the liquid mixture into the dry ingredients and stir to combine using a wooden spoon or plastic spatula. Pour into the prepared pan and place in the oven. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick or metal testing tool comes out clean. Cool for at least 10 minutes and then cut into squares… and enjoy your jar-less breakfast.