Yummy (secretly healthy) Granola Bars by Pastry Chef Nikol Nakamura, Tulalip Resort Casino.


School has started for most schools, so I wanted to come up with a tasty but healthier version of a granola bar. Many store-bought versions are filled with preservatives and added sugar. I’ve limited the amount of sugar and added textural elements like nuts, rice cereal, and seeds to make it more balanced and less guilty for snacking whether it is for a grab and go breakfast, bag lunch, or afternoon snack.

It quickly comes together and makes quite a few for the whole school/workweek.  


Makes a half sheet baking pan (dairy-free, and possibly gluten-free and nut-free)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees F.


3 1/4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats

3/4 cup crispy rice cereal

2/3 cup whole wheat pastry flour or oat flour*

5 tablespoons brown sugar

1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds (optional)

2 tablespoons flax seeds

1 tablespoon chia seeds

1 tablespoon sesame seeds

3/4 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 tea sea salt

2/3 cup honey

1/3 cup coconut oil, melted

2 teaspoons vanilla extract 


  • Line a 9x13 inch baking pan with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, stir together all of the dry ingredients. Stir together the honey, melted coconut oil, and vanilla extract together and stir over oat mixture until evenly incorporated.
  • Transfer mixture to the prepared baking pan and press firmly down into an even layer, and bake for 20-25 minutes or until lightly golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and use the flat bottom of a small pan or a dish to press down on the granola bars for a second time. Cool slightly and then invert the pan (while still warm) onto a cutting board and cut into the desired size, whether it is the shape of a bar or other forms. By cutting the bars while they are still warm will produce cleaner cut lines.

Pastry Chef’s “Tricks of the Trade”

  • For a gluten-free option, you can replace the whole wheat flour with oat flour. To make it, use a food processor to grind rolled oats into a fine flour. It’s my understanding that rolled oats are naturally gluten-free, but depending on gluten sensitivity, a gluten-free whole wheat flour could also be used as a substitute.
  • When melting the coconut oil, we also found it convenient to heat the honey along with it for easier flow and blending of the liquids.
  • Use available cookie cutters for fun shapes that kids will visually enjoy more.


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