Vegan granola bars are crunchy snacks shaped into a bar that do not use any foods derived from animals. Common ingredients include oats, puffed rice grains, dried fruit, and nuts. Any combination of foods may be added to the base binding ingredients depending on the taste preferences and dietary restrictions of the cook, and the availability of foods in the pantry. Recipes for these granola bars are available in bake and no-bake versions.
A vegan diet consists primarily of foods derived from plants. Like vegetarians, vegans prefer not to eat any food that came from an animal, like meat. They also choose not to eat any animal bi-products, such as eggs, milk, butter, honey, and cheese, among other dairy food items. Many vegans refuse to use any animal products in their daily lives as well, and abstain from using leather, furs, and cosmetics that may contain animal oils. The recipes for vegan granola bars are designed to fit into this lifestyle, as well as provide a small source of protein and fiber.
The base ingredient used in most vegan granola bars is oats. Some recipes may call for rolled oats, while others use instant. The oats are often combined with puffed rice grains to create a light but substantial binding base for the additional foods used. Dried fruit, nuts, chocolate chips, and seeds are common choices for additives in this type of food.
Liquid sweeteners, nut butter, cinnamon, and sweet extracts can be added to the recipe. These ingredients balance out the savory flavors of the nuts and seeds, and enhance the somewhat basic tastes provided by the oats and puffed rice grains. They can also be used to make the vegan granola bars more appealing to younger appetites. Basic recipes can be found in vegan and vegetarian cookbooks, as well as through Internet searches. They may be modified to suit any taste and appetite, as well as dietary needs.
These bars may be baked in the oven, or when using nut butters as a binding agent, can be allowed to set on a cool countertop. No-bake vegan granola bars tend to be chewy in comparison with their baked counterparts. The mixture should be pressed firmly into the baking dish prior to setting or cooking to ensure that all ingredients are adequately compacted. If too much air remains in the mixture, the edges of the bars tend to crumble and do not hold their shape well.