Vegan, Gluten-free Granola Bars

Every year, a day before the Hindu month of Shravan, Mrs. B takes the day off, no matter what (she takes a lot of other days off as well, but that apart). On this day, I imagine, like most people of her fisher folk community, she indulges in a spread of the choicest non vegetarian fare that she wouldn’t spend on ordinarily, drinks (almost) to the point of falling unconscious in the gutters (that’s where the name Gatari comes from, apparently; “gataar” means “gutter” in Marathi). I can’t imagine Mrs. B getting drunk—she’s quite the practical kind. Not that a day of reckless abandon would bring her any harm—it’d probably do her a lot of good, considering the pain she bottles up in her heart every day.

During Shraavan, most non-vegetarians give up their favorite foods and go on what I think of as a detox diet. Since Shraavan is the month of heavy rains and rough seas, one’s metabolism is sluggish and the seas are dangerous. Also, marine life goes into breeding, and it is believed that not eating seafood during this period will ensure a greater catch for the coming months. Whatever the reason, scientific or otherwise, I think it is a good excuse to bring in a little period of detoxification and penance. And I don’t mean only food-wise.

I have been hooked on to food forums on social media—there’s just so much to learn! Cooking techniques, food cultures, histories, food photography—it’s like an endless workshop that you don’t want to walk out of. I’ve just been doing my bare-minimum to catch the deadlines and the parking myself in these forums all day. (Apart from, you know, being mum-wife-cook.) What has been suffering, however, is stuff that I need to do for myself—my writing, my diet and exercise routine, my time for myself (I’ve had this urge to go back to some therapeutic block printing but I’ve just not got down to it yet) and stuff like that. Shopping, even (for non- food photography props stuff)! So, starting tomorrow, the first day of Shraavan, I am going to make a humble and sincere effort to give up on indulgences of all kind for a month. No non-vegetarian/fried/sweet food so that I am in greater control of my body. No active social media presence so I get to focus on my writing and other activities. I will continue to write here, though—it’s the one place that gives me strength to get through the week!

And with that noble thought in mind (can you see my shining, shimmering halo?) I’ll leave you with a recipe for these fantastic granola bars. I made them last week when I realized I had run out of my chikki stash and not being a chocolate person, I really needed something for when my sugar levels drop. All diabetics must always have  something sweet on them. I had a bit of a scare last week when I was busy supervising some electrical work being done in the house and almost skipped two meals. Once the workers left the house, I felt so dizzy, I almost blacked out—had to eat copious amount of sugar to feel in control again. Anyway. Point is, doesn’t hurt to keep something sweet readily available, just in case. This is simple to make, and Avanee loved it too, so it should be a great snack or what they call “energy food” option for kids as well. I wanted to keep the fat to a bare minimum so I added rice bran oil instead of butter, and I am mighty pleased with the results. Here’s the recipe:

Vegan, Gluten-free Granola Bars

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups quick cooking oats
  • 2 cups mixed dried fruit and nuts (I used a combination of chopped almonds, sunflower seeds, chopped dried apricots, raisins, and dried blueberries)
  • 2 tbsp. dessicated coconut
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • ½ cup rice bran (or any other neutral) oil
  • 8 tbsp. golden syrup (or molasses or honey or a single-thread sugar syrup or a combination of these)
  • 2 tbsp. liquid glucose (optional; if you don’t have this, just add a little extra sweetener. The liquid glucose helps to make the granola bar crunchy)

***Note: Apparently a lot of oats come adulterated and are not entirely gluten-free. Please make sure you buy the gluten-free oats if you are gluten-intolerant.

Method:

  1. Place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and combine using a spatula.
  2. Grease and line a baking sheet (I used a 9*13 inch rectangular sheet) with parchment.
  3. Press the granola mixture onto the sheet using a silicone spatula or flat spoon to even it out.
  4. Bake in a pre-heated oven (middle rack) at 180 degrees centigrade for about 25 to 30 minutes or until evenly browned.
  5. The mixture will still be soft when just of the oven. Using a knife, carve out the squares or rectangles that you want at this stage but don’t try to remove them from the sheet. Allow to cool completely. Cutting out the shapes at this stage will make removing them easier when they’re hard and cool.
  6. Store in an airtight jar or box.

Comments (8)

  1. chinmayie @ love food eat July 17, 2012 at 10:24 pm

    Loved reading about Shravan Saee. I know what you mean about not having time for yourself! I am so busy being mommy – wife – cook – blogger + homeschooler that I am almost never just myself! What helps is how little I am interested in beauty care, clothes, shoes, outings or entertainment. My home and blog keeps me very happy. But my husband keeps planning something for myself because he feels like I need to get a life! lol..
    Good luck on eating lite. I am sure you’ll enjoy it and feel a lot better about your body by the end of it. Of course granola bars like these will help you a lot! They look fantastic!

  2. Nandita July 17, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    I so loved these bars Saee!! And the photographs are amazing I loved the second photograph a lot 🙂

  3. Anjali July 17, 2012 at 11:06 pm

    Saee I have everything except apricots will use dates instead and try these out. Need them from my sweet creavings.Thanks. All the best for your Shravan vrat.

  4. baker in disguise July 18, 2012 at 3:57 am

    i couldnt stop giggling about the shravan bit… there was a race at home to eat meat and eggs before shravan started… at other times.. we’ll happily stay away fro meat.. but suddenly told to abstain.. and there’s a craving for meat all of a sudden!!! :)) love the granola bars.. always good to have aroudn the house!!!

  5. Snigdha July 21, 2012 at 5:54 am

    I’ve always stayed away from the oven, but this recipe seems so simple that I’m hoping to plug it in over the weekend. Wish me luck! 🙂

  6. Ahalya August 1, 2012 at 10:18 pm

    God Bless YOU! All Vegans look at you proudly! 🙂

  7. VMS June 30, 2013 at 3:01 am

    Can I use canola oil instead of rice bran? I tried the recipe but it didn’t come out of my butter paper and also was oily?

    • admin July 1, 2013 at 2:55 am

      You could definitely try using Canola oil and reduce the quantity of oil by 1/2 a cup. Also, try using parchment instead of butter paper–it will come away easily.

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