Baked Carrot Cake Oatmeal Bars
Welcome to the new love of my life …
This has quick become one of my favorite go-to breakfast or snack options. It is hearty, dense and moist. It really is soothing on both the digestive & nervous system. Essentially, it is just jazzed up baked oatmeal that are cut into bars with some extra fruit, veg and spices added in there to make it taste super nommy and satisfying. If you’re looking for something light and fluffy this is not the recipe, some of my other recipes like the carrot cake muffins might serve you well in that regard! But this recipe was inspired by my need to eat denser, more nourishing, grounding foods to keep me sustained throughout my University days. It is like a hearty bowl of oatmeal, but in a bar. Having said that, it is a nutrient-powerhouse dish. Filled with only nature’s goodness. These bars are high in whole food based starches provided by the oats - and this is because when I eat higher amounts of whole food carbohydrates I feel energised and as though I have stamina to power me through the day because my body has a slower-release energy source.
This recipe is lower in fat than most baked goods which tend to rely on the use of oil for moisture and texture - but in this recipe the use of homemade 5-minute apple sauce is what provides the moisture. However, I do love my sources of healthy plant based, whole food fats so in order to get in those extra nutrients I’ve added some sources healthy fats which provide an array of amazing nutritional benefits. AND, to be honest, they’re just delicious! I mean who doesn’t like pumpkin seeds ammi right?
If you use gluten-free oats then this recipe is gluten-free. It is also refined-sugar free, dairy-free and oil-free. They are literally PERFECT for taking with you for busy days - to school, work, UNI, or wherever it is you may need to be. Personally, I often find it hard to take a satisfying enough breakfast with me without having to prepare a whole “thing” every night or early in the morning. And I really struggle to eat anytime before 10AM. I then end up getting hungry & cranky late morning because simply taking fruit with me on-the-go no longer keeps me satisfied and sustained. When I get cranky and hungry or “hangry” I end up not being able to give my best to myself or the people around me. But these beauties are the perfect solution to that issue.
I love how these bars make me feel. They make me feel really satisfied without feeling heavy. They make me feel grounded and calm. That is the magic of plant based foods, folks! Especially foods whose innate energetic properties themselves are soothing for the energy systems within us. Our bodies are professionals at breaking down and using natural plant based foods for effective energy use - because the underlying energetic composition of the natural world is what is mirrored in our own biology and underlying make-up. This is a firm belief in Ayurveda: we are smaller mirrors of the macrocosm. And as such, it makes sense that our bodies, minds and souls THRIVE on eating whole, natural, un-refined foods that reflect the elemental nature of all that is naturally in existence!
On that note, I am working on an Energy of Food post (still) where I delve deeper into the understanding of the energetic properties of certain foods from both an Ayurvedic & Macrobiotic perspective. But for now, suffice it so say that grains and complex carbohydrates (in this case the oats) and plant based healthy fats (like the walnuts, flax & chia seeds in this recipe) are all very grounding foods. Grounding, stabilising and nourishing BUT ALSO up-lifting. They are also so up-lifing because of the no-refined fats.: I am not bashing fats at all - in fact, I am a big believer in eating sources of fats that are nutrient dense and nourishing and I really believe incorporating these healing sources of fats is one of the most balancing ways of eating and supporting yourself. But, what people often don’t realise is that things like olive oil - albeit healthier than say, sunflower or canola oil, are still a heavily processed source of 100% refined fat. So often if I eat something too high in fat (especially if that source is refined fats like oils) I end up feeling depleted, lethargic and dense. So, essentially, the starch in this recipe gives you sustained long-standing energy; the perfect combination between being grounded and energised, without the feeling of being “thick” or “heavy”. But that fats that are within the recipe provide an energy of “slow down, breathe and re-align —> centre yourself” which can be increasingly difficult when your energy is needed at multiple levels and places every day.
My top recommendation for this recipe is to put a thin layer of natural peanut butter (or nut butter of choice) on the top when eating it as the “icing” with a small pinch of salt (key component!) and a small drizzle more of maple if you would like it sweeter. Simply keep them in the fridge and eat on demand!
· 1 cup jungle oats (or quick cook oats)
· ½ cup rolled oats
· ½ cup grated carrot
· 1/3 cup grated apple
· 1/3 cup mashed banana
· 1/3 cup apple sauce
· 1/4 cup honey/maple syrup/brown rice syrup
· ¼ cup soy milk
· 1 flax egg (1 tablespoon of ground flax + 3 tablespoons of water; mix and set aside)
· 1 tsp chia seeds
· 2 tsp cinnamon
· ¾ tsp fine sea salt or another good quality salt (like Himalayan salt)
· 1 tsp finely grated ginger
· 1/8 cup pumpkin seeds
· 2 tablespoon chopped dates
· 1 tablespoon coconut flakes for topping
· 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts for topping
1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
2. Make your flax egg by placing 1 tablespoon of ground flax into a small mixing bowl with 3 tablespoons of water. Mix well and let it set for a few minutes while you continue with the recipe.
3. Place your one cup of quick-cook oats in the food processor and grind until you get oat flour. Add this into a big mixing bowl along with everything else (except for the toppings) and mix well.
4. Line a small-ish baking tray with parchment paper, add the mixture and top with your favorite toppings: mine were coconut flakes & walnut bits. Place into the oven for 40 minutes on 180. NB NOTE: this time will vary according to the size of the baking tray you use and your individual oven. To help with understanding the size of my baking dish it made 6 big breakfast bars or 8 smaller ones that were about 4cm tall each.