Gluten Free Granola Bars with Cherries and Pumpkin Seeds

More and more people are discovering that they have food allergies, intolerances, and/or sensitivities.  There are several theories as to why this is, but the bottom line is that if you are one of those people, changing what you eat (or don’t eat) can really improve your health.

Due to a significant wheat intolerance, I have followed a wheat free and gluten free diet for the past 15 years.  About 5 years ago, I developed an intolerance to almonds, so I’ve had to eliminate those from my diet too.  Working around each of these has its challenges, but improved health is more important to me than any food that I’ve given up.

The upside to my food intolerances is that it has forced me to really pay attention to what I eat.  Many processed foods contain wheat, so I’ve learned how to eat a diet that focuses more on whole foods.  Keeping almonds out of my diet requires a little more vigilance as many “healthy” foods (both in grocery stores and in restaurants) contain almonds.

One food that is particularly challenging for me is granola bars.  Most packaged products contain wheat and/or almonds (plus a bunch of added refined sugar and oil).  However, it’s really convenient to keep a bar or two in my bag as a healthy snack on busy days.  So I learned how to make my own.

The recipe I’ve included below is gluten free (if using GF oats) and nut free.  However, these bars could easily be made with a variety of other ingredients – chocolate chips, raisins, nuts, seeds, different spices, puffed rice cereal instead of millet, nut butter, etc.  Let me know what other variations you come up with!

I’ve kept the added sugar to a minimum and added sunflower seed butter to help them stick together and provide some healthy fat.  I’ve also used oat milk, but you could substitute another non-dairy milk.  Honey could be used in place of brown rice syrup too.


  • ¾ cup quick oats (I used Bob’s Red Mill GF Oats)
  • ¾ cup puffed millet cereal
  • 1¼ cups oat flour (or 1½ cups oats ground in a food processor for homemade oat flour)
  • ½ cup roughly chopped dried cherries
  • 3 tbsp. roughly chopped pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tbsp. maple syrup
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tbsp. oat milk (or other non-dairy milk)
  • ¼ cup sunflower seed butter
  • 2 tbsp. brown rice syrup



  1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Line an 8-inch x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper (or spray lightly with cooking spray).
  3. Roughly chop the dried cherries and the pumpkin seeds.

Making the Granola Bars

  1. In a medium bowl, combine the dry ingredients (oats, puffed millet, oat flour, dried cherries, pumpkin seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt).  Stir well to combine all ingredients.
  2. In a separate small bowl, combine the wet ingredients (maple syrup, oat milk, sunflower seed butter, and brown rice syrup).  Stir until completely combined.
  3. Add the wet ingredient mixture to the bowl of dry ingredients.  Stir until fully combined.
  4. Place the granola mixture in to the baking dish and press down until evenly distributed throughout the dish. 
  5. Using a sharp knife, pre-cut the bars into the size/number you prefer (I cut into 9 bars).  This will make them easier to remove from the dish once cooked.
  6. Bake the bars for 25 minutes.
  7. Remove the dish from the oven and let cool completely.
  8. Once cool, remove the bars and place in an airtight container.

This recipe came from the plantstrong life, my plant-based living blog.  Feel free to visit me over there for more easy and healthy recipes like this!

And if you want help learning how to include more healthy foods in your diet, how to eat well in spite of food allergies, and/or how to improve the ergonomics in your kitchen after an injury, I can help!