Healthy Blueberry Crumble Bars are made with wholesome ingredients and are easy to make. Soft and chewy bottom, gooey, jammy center and a crispy crumble topping make these blueberry crumb bars perfect any time of day! Delicious breakfast bar? Oh, I’m so in!!
Jammy in the center, crispy on top….and held together with a tasty, chewy bottom….oh yeah, I’ll take two please!
This easy recipe for blueberry bars is loaded with with gluten-free whole grains and nutrient rich blueberries for a healthy recipe that you can take to every picnic, pot-luck and gathering.
No sugar breakfast bars….or delicious vegan dessert, you decide!
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Health Benefits of Blueberries
- VItamins A and C: good for younger looking and brighter skin.
- They’re loaded with antioxidants for protection against disease.
- Lots of fiber, to support digestion.
- Blueberries help fight inflammation.
- They promote heart health.
- Studies show they may enhance memory and cognition.
- Blueberries are high in fiber and low in calories….making them a terrific choice for weight loss.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- BLUEBERRIES: High in fiber, low in calories….yes please! You can substitute with any berries you have or cherries. Chopped up stone fruit like nectarines, peaches or plums are also delicious in this recipe. Oh and if you don’t have any fresh blueberries, go ahead and sub some frozen berries….which makes this a year round option. YAY!!
- DATES: The perfect natural sweetener for the jammy inside of these bars, dates are filled with fiber so no blood sugar spike! Buy dates with the pits still in, they will be more moist. It is easy to remove the pit before using.
- CHIA SEEDS: Not only do they help the center blueberry jam gel without cooking or cornstarch, but chia seeds have an abundance of Omega 3s, protein, fiber, and minerals.
- LEMON JUICE A bit of citrus for some zing.
- ROLLED OATS: A fiber rich whole grain that is naturally gluten-free. I use sprouted oats for an easy to digest source of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. I like to use Thrive Market Organic Oats or One Degree Organic Sprouted Oats. Whatever brand you use, be sure they are non-GMO and glyphosate free.
- ALMOND FLOUR: Make sure to get super fine, blanched almond flour (rather than almond meal) for best results. For a nut free version, you can substitute coconut flour.
- GROUND FLAX SEEDS: This nutritional powerhouse ingredient (protein, fiber, healthy fats) helps bind the dough together without having to use any animal products. Ground chia seeds will also work well, if you need a sub.
- APPLESAUCE: I always keep individual servings of applesauce in my pantry for baking. It’s a great ingredient for oil-free and vegan baking. Look for brands that don’t have any added sugar. If you don’t have any applesauce, use an apple or a pear and process in your blender until smooth.
- MAPLE SYRUP: I don’t really have a sweet tooth, so I found these bars plenty sweet with ⅓ cup maple syrup. Hubby liked it better when I used ½ cup….know your audience and you do you!
- ORANGE JUICE: A great way to add moisture and natural sweetness at the same time! If you don’t have any orange juice, you can use water with 1 Tablespoon additional maple syrup.
- VANILLA EXTRACT: Skip if you’re not a fan. No sub needed.
- CINNAMON: It has anti-viral, anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties….plus antioxidants and anti-inflammatory effects….all that and it gives the illusion of sweetness too.
- BAKING POWDER: Will become activated by the applesauce and orange juice to help the dough rise.
How to make perfect Blueberry Bars
This healthy blueberry recipe is super easy to make…but you will need to decide if you want a thicker or thinner bar. For thicker bars, use a square baking pan, for thinner, use a 9 x 13 baking dish. Either way, the directions are the same, it’s just a pan size difference….and a little bit different baking time.
First you’ll prepare the jammy blueberry filling. Start by adding the blueberries, lemon juice and dates to the bowl of a food processor. Scrape down side and process again.
Next, you’ll stir chia seeds into the blueberry mixture to create the jammy filling for the blueberry crumb bars.
Set aside the jam to gel while you prepare the dough for the base and topping.
Rinse out the food processor and add in rolled oats, almond flour, ground flax, baking powder, cinnamon, salt, apple sauce, orange juice, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Process until thoroughly mixed, scraping down the sides several times to be sure all the oats are well incorporated.
Now you are ready to assemble. Here’s what it will look like in a square pan, using both blueberries and one chopped nectarine for added moisture and flavor.
- Scoop all but 1 cup of batter into prepared pan.
- Use an offset spatula to smooth dough into pan evenly.
- Spread blueberry jam onto dough.
- Evenly distribute berries and, if using, chopped fruit.
- Patch together remaining dough onto fruit.
- Bake for 40 minutes (square pan).
AND….here’s a little peek into the same process with a rectangular pan. See how the ingredients are “stretched” to be thinner.
It’s the same process if you use a rectangle pan. Hold aside 1-1 ½ cups of the dough. Spread the rest into the bottom of a parchment lined baking dish. Use an offset spatula to smoothly spread dough into corners so it’s even throughout pan. Spread the blueberry jam you set aside over the dough. Evenly sprinkle fresh berries over jam. Cobble together the remaining dough for the crumble top.
Next, you’ll bake the cumble bars in a preheated 350 degree oven. For a square pan, the bars will be thicker and the cooking time is 40 minutes. The thinner bars cooking in the larger rectangle pan will only take 30 minutes to bake.
Let the bars cool completely before cutting. I usually put the baking dish into the fridge for a few hours or overnight to make this task less messy. Also, you will get a cleaner, less gooey cut if you let them cool first.
Why you will love this easy recipe:
- You bought too many blueberries at the farmers market (guilty…EVERY. SINGLE. TIME!).
- Making beautiful food that tastes incredible…and just so happens to be healthy too….is what you’re all about!
- You want to make something ahead that will freezes well and can be taken out when needed.
- You’re going to a BBQ or potluck and you were asked to bring dessert.
- Guests are coming this weekend and you want to serve something tasty and unique for breakfast.
- It’s loaded with wholesome, plant based ingredients that you’re familiar with.
- You’re kids are always looking for a tasty snack.
- It’s EASY….everyone always LOVES IT…and, let’s face it, you just want to make things that people like.
Debra’s Pro Tips
- The dough will be sticky. Wet your hands, or your offset spatula to make it easier to spread into the pan.
- Refrigerate a few hours, or overnight, to make cutting into bars easier.
- No orange juice? No problem….substitute with water and 1 additional Tablespoon maple syrup to equal the sweetness.
- Cut into individual pieces before freezing so you can grab just what’s needed and leave the rest in there.
- Sprinkle a combination of blueberries and fresh raspberries onto the jam for a super patriotic dessert. Awesome for 4th of July, Memorial Day, Labor Day, or Veteran’s Day.
- When blueberries are in season, make a double (or triple) batch and freeze for later use.
- Use frozen berries to make these any time of year.
- Serve for breakfast….and bask in the glory, while patting yourself on the back for making a healthy option.
Absolutely! Defrost in a colander to make it easier to blend the blueberries into jam for the center of the bars. Using berries that were flash frozen at their peak of ripeness doesn’t change the nutritional value and makes this healthy dessert possible all year round.
This easy recipe for blueberry crumb bars is a great choice because it uses 3 cups of blueberries.
Still more blueberries?
Oh, my favorite problem to have! I seriously ADORE blueberries and they’re so healthy too, I try to eat some every day. If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll often see a photo of my oatmeal bowl, loaded with blueberries in my stories. Here are a few more of my favorite ways to use blueberries:
- Blueberry Tart
- Lemon Poppyseed Muffins with Blueberries
- Fruit and Berry Crisp
- Baked Oatmeal
- Grain-free Blueberry Muffins
Blueberry Crumble Bars
- 3 ½ cups old fashioned oats
- 2 ½ cups super fine almond meal*
- 2 Tablespoons ground flax
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup unsweetened apple sauce*
- ½ cup orange juice
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3 cups blueberries divided
- 1 Tablespoon lemon juice
- 4 dates
- 3 Tablespoons chia seeds
- Optional: 1 nectarine chopped
- Preheat oven to 350 and line 9 x 9* or 9 x 13 baking pan with unbleached parchment.
- Set aside 1 cup blueberries. Combine remaining 2 cups blueberries, lemon juice, pitted dates in food processor. Scrape down sides, process again. Transfer to small bowl and mix in chia seeds. Let sit to gel while preparing dough.
- Rinse out the bowl of the processor and then add in oats, almond meal, flax, baking powder, cinnamon and sea salt. Pulse to combine. Then add in orange juice , apple sauce, maple syrup and vanilla extract. Process. Scrape down sides and process again until well combined and smooth. Batter will be pasty.
- Set aside 1 ½ cups of dough and add the remaining dough into the prepared baking pan. It will be pasty and sticky. Use an offset spatula or your fingers to smooth dough into corners, pressing down for a firm fit. Wet the spatula or your hands to make this process easier.
- Spread blueberry “jam” evenly over dough. Sprinkle blueberries over jam and chopped nectarines, if using.
- Scoop the remaining dough out onto blueberry mixture. It’s OK if it’s not totally covered, just be sure it’s evenly spread over the surface.
- For square pan, bake for 40 minutes, rectangle pan bake for 30 minutes. Crumble is done when top is lightly browned and set.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool in pan before cutting into squares or bars.