No-bake, low oxalate protein bars are easy to make and yummy!  They are high protein, high fiber and unfortunately high fat, so be careful how many you eat if fats are a problem for you.  What I really like about these bars is that they fill my kids up and keep them full until the next meal.  They also provide me with an easy, on-the-go breakfast choice if I need to get out of the house quickly.  These work well in an insulated lunch box, a cooler, or in your backpack when the weather is cool, but be careful about leaving them out too long in the summer or in a well-heated building.  They depend on refrigeration to keep their shape and pleasant texture.  Too much heat and they will melt into a gooey (yet still tasty) mess.

No-Bake Low Oxalate Protein Bars

1 ½ cups quick oats or rolled oats (GF)
½ cup ground flax seed
1 cup whey protein powder (or use rice or pea protein powder)
½ cup flaked coconut
¾ cup raisins (or dried cherries or apples)
2 tablespoons pumpkin seeds
½ cup honey (or agave nectar)
½ cup plus 2 tablespoons Sunbutter brand sunflower seed butter
3 tablespoons butter or coconut oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1-3 tablespoons water

Combine the oats, flax seed, protein powder, coconut, raisins and pumpkin seeds in a bowl and mix well.  Put the honey, Sunbutter, butter and vanilla in a separate glass or ceramic dish and microwave on high for about 30 – 45 seconds until the butter is melted and the Sunbutter is gooey.  Stir the Sunbutter mixture until it is well combined.  Add the Sunbutter mixture and the oat mixture and stir until the oats are well coated.  It should have a crumbly, somewhat dry texture that barely holds together when you press it (like the oatmeal topping of an apple crisp).  Add the water a half tablespoon at a time, stirring well each time, until you get a mixture that will hold together more like playdough (still a little dry but could be rolled into one big ball that would stay together).  It usually takes about 2 tablespoons water.

Press the oat mixture into a 9 X 9 inch baking dish OR other convenient dish with about the same dimensions (you could press it directly into a convenient-sized Tupperware).  I often use a Pyrex glass baking dish with a plastic lid.  For easy removal, line the bottom of the pan with plastic wrap plus enough to double back over the top as a cover after you’ve pressed the oat mixture into it.  Put the dish into the refrigerator and let chill overnight or for at least four hours.  Cut into 18 bars (4.5 x 1 inch each).  Transfer into an air tight container (or wrap in the plastic wrap) and keep refrigerated for up to two weeks (Maybe three?  I’ve never had them that long, but there’s nothing in here that doesn’t keep a long time in the refrigerator).

Makes 18 bars.

Oxalate Note:  Each low oxalate protein bar has about 8 grams protein (when made with whey powder), 3.5 grams fiber, 8 grams fat and 5 mg. oxalate.  Rolled oats (11.1 mg. oxalate/half cup), Sunbutter (6.1 mg. per 2 tablespoons), ground flax seed (6.6 mg./half cup) and pumpkin seeds (5.2 mg. per 2 tablespoons) are medium oxalate.  All other ingredients are low or very low oxalate.

Variations:  I’ve been fooling around with this recipe for months and although every combination I’ve tried has been tasty, it’s really hard to get a good, pleasant consistency with even a slight variation.

If you want less sugar, you may remove 1 – 2 tablespoons honey without too much trouble.  You can also use some liquid Stevia in place of the water.  Do not replace the honey with applesauce  unless you want a really sticky (yet still tasty) bar.

If you want less fat, you may leave out 1 – 2 tablespoons butter OR 1 -2 tablespoons Sunbutter and still have a decent bar.

If you want less oxalate, try substituting roasted chestnuts for the pumpkin seeds or try substituting ½ cup coconut for ½ cup oats.  You may also leave out 2 – 3 tablespoons of Sunbutter, although you may have to add an extra tablespoon of butter.

If you can handle more oxalate, then you may substitute 3 – 4 more tablespoons of Sunbutter for the butter, or you may add up to 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds.

The raisins, pumpkin seeds and coconut are interchangeable with other dried LO fruit (try apple, cherry or banana), roasted chestnuts or coconut (about 1 cup total of these add-ins).  I’ve also had luck increasing the protein powder by another fourth cup.

Do not replace the butter or coconut oil with other cooking oils.  The solid nature of these oils when refrigerated is what makes this recipe work.

Other Diets: No-bake low oxalate protein bars may also be appropriate for gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, vegetarian, and controlled carbohydrate diets with the appropriate ingredient choice.

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