These oatmeal chocolate chip bars are soft, moist, slightly chewy, super satisfying, and perfect for serving up as breakfast, a snack, or dessert! The recipe uses all simple pantry-friendly ingredients and is gluten-free, dairy-free, vegan, and contains a top-secret healthy ‘hidden’ protein-rich ingredient no one will guess!
Soft Gluten-Free Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
Oatmeal chocolate chip bars are a breakfast option that tastes indulgent and will satisfy your sweet tooth. They are slightly chewy, gooey, chocolatey deliciousness in every single bite, yet are much healthier than they look. So, when you’re feeling bored of oatmeal and baked oatmeal, then why not try something a little bit more exciting?
Whereas traditional oatmeal chocolate chip cookie bars contain eggs, butter, and tons of refined sugar – this recipe is gluten-free, egg-free, dairy-free, refined-sugar-free, and generally healthier than most oatmeal chocolate bars. Luckily, they also taste delicious, are protein-rich, use simple ingredients, and result in soft grab-n-go healthy oatmeal bars that you can enjoy for breakfast, snacking, or dessert!
High Protein Healthy Oatmeal Bars
Besides my stuffed granola cups and chocolate granola bars these chocolate chip oatmeal bars are on top of my list. Oh, and did I mention they have a secret protein-rich ingredient?! Curious? How would you feel if I told you that these baked bars are made extra special with the addition of chickpeas?
Chickpeas not only work as a great egg replacer, but they also provide lovely texture and are neutral enough in flavor to blend into desserts like vegan edible cookie dough (which then became no-bake cookie dough bars) and flourless chickpea brownies and blondies without taking over (I promise)!
These chickpea oatmeal chocolate chip bars are so easy to prep too, mix the ingredients, chuck in the oven, and enjoy as a great breakfast alternative in no time – and no one would guess they’re packed with healthy legumes! Instead, everyone gets to enjoy a delicious treat with the added benefit of extra nutrients and protein none-the-wiser.
In fact, I love adding healthy, nutritious ingredients into my desserts; I’ve made brownies with zucchini, black beans, and even sweet peas. Maybe they should be next on your list!
The Ingredients and Substitutions
- Chickpeas: All you need for this healthy oatmeal bar recipe is a single can of chickpeas, rinsed and drained (or 270 g home-cooked chickpeas). You could also try this recipe with white beans (like cannellini).
- Milk: Use the plant-based milk of your choice. I used coconut milk.
- Lime juice: Or lemon – Use fresh juice for the best results.
- Nut butter: Cashew, almond, peanut butter, etc. For a nut-free version, use coconut butter or tahini (though tahini is slightly bitter). You could use sunflower seed butter, but it can turn the bars green when combined with the leavening agents.
- Vanilla Extract: I recommend using natural vanilla extract (or paste).
- Sweetener: Use the ‘sugar’ of your choice. I used sugar-free Erythritol, which is a keto-friendly sweetener. You could use Xylitol, date sugar, coconut sugar, cane sugar, etc. Adjust the amount used by which sweetener you use (as their sweetness levels vary).
- Oats: It’s best to use instant oats for this recipe or blend rolled oats into a slightly more floury consistency. If you attempted the recipe with rolled oats, your bars would be drier and chewier. Use gluten-free oats, if necessary, to make gluten-free oat bars.
- Leavening agents: I used a combination of baking powder and baking soda which provides a lighter consistency and slight lift to the vegan oatmeal bars.
- Chocolate chips: Use your favorite dairy-free chocolate chips, e.g. sugar-free ones. Or follow the recipe of my friend “Dee” from Green Smoothie Gourmet to make your own homemade vegan chocolate chips with just 3 ingredients.
- Salt: Just a pinch is all that’s needed to enhance the flavors of these sweet oatmeal breakfast bars.
Optional add-ins and variations
- Chocolate: double (or even triple) up on chocolate (who doesn’t love chocolate chip desserts?!) by swapping out some of the chips for chunks and/or using a combination of dairy-free dark, milk, and white chocolate.
- Fruity: Swap out the chocolate chips entirely for dried fruit instead, like finely chopped dates, raisins, cranberries, or blueberries.
- Coconut: You can add 1/4-1/3 cup shredded coconut for extra texture and flavor.
- Nuts: Add a small handful of crushed nuts. Walnuts or pecans would work very well.
- Flaky salt: Like Maldon, used to sprinkle over the baked oatmeal chocolate chip bars.
- Cocoa powder: Start with 1 tbsp, taste, and increase to taste. Add a little extra plant milk if needed.
For the full ingredients list, measurements, complete recipe method, and nutritional information, please read the recipe card below.
How to Make Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
I recommend using a kitchen scale when measuring the ingredients for this recipe.
- First, preheat the oven to 360F/180C and line a baking sheet (mine was 9”x6”/23x15cm) with parchment paper.
- Then, place all the wet ingredients (chickpeas, milk, lime, nut butter, and vanilla extract) in a food processor and process until smooth.
- Add all the dry ingredients except the chocolate chips and process again for just a few seconds until combined (don’t overmix it).
- Finally, add in the chocolate chips and stir in with a spoon/spatula.
- Spoon the oatmeal ‘batter’ into the lined baking pan and sprinkle with a few extra chocolate chips (or chunks), then bake in the oven for between 28-35 minutes.
The time can vary based on your oven and the size of the baking dish. I use a gas oven and bake it for exactly 35 minutes. I recommend inserting a toothpick into the center at 28 minutes – when it comes out dry, the dessert is ready.
- Remove the oatmeal cookie bars from the oven, cool, and then cut into bars and enjoy!
You can enjoy one of these oatmeal bars for breakfast or dessert. Even better, serve alongside a scoop of vegan chocolate ice-cream, whipped coconut cream, and/or some berries! If you’re feeling extra decadent, then you could drizzle the bar with a little vegan caramel sauce.
Can I make the oatmeal breakfast bars grain-free?
I haven’t tried, though I imagine this recipe would work with quinoa flakes or buckwheat flour/flakes in place of the oats. That way, they’re grain-free breakfast bars. Though you may need to add an extra tablespoon-ish of the flakes as they’re ‘lighter’ than oats. If you try – let me know!
How do you store vegan oat bars?
To Store: Store the leftover chocolate chip oatmeal bars covered in the refrigerator for up to four days.
Freeze: Freeze the bars in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to three months. Allow them to thaw and then warm them up in the oven or microwave just before eating them.
Can I substitute the nut/seed butter?
If you want to remove all nut/seed products then you could use 40 g of vegan butter or oil instead. I wouldn’t recommend omitting it entirely as the bars could become dry. Though one reader had luck using PB powder.
Other Healthy Oatmeal Desserts and Breakfast Dishes
- Strawberry Oatmeal Bars
- Baked Banana Oatmeal
- Layered Chocolate Oat Breakfast Bars
- Nut-Free Granola
- Banana Oatmeal Pancakes
Other Chocolate Chip Desserts
If you try this recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip bars, I’d love a comment and ★★★★★ recipe rating below. Also, please don’t forget to tag me in re-creations on Instagram or Facebook with @elavegan and #elavegan – I love seeing them.
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Bars
- 1 (15 oz) can chickpeas rinsed (270 g drained weight)
- 1/2 cup (120 ml) plant-based milk I used canned coconut milk
- 1 tbsp lime juice or lemon juice
- 1/3 cup (80 g) nut butter or seed butter of choice (I used cashew butter)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 cup (100 g) Erythritol or sugar of choice
- 2 cups (180 g) instant oats (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 cup (120 g) dairy-free chocolate chips + more for the top
- Prepare and measure all the ingredients. I recommend using a kitchen scale for this recipe. Also, check the video in the post for visual instructions.
- Preheat the oven to 360 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius) and line a baking pan with parchment paper. My baking pan measures 9"x6" (23 x 15 cm).
- Put all wet ingredients into a food processor and mix until smooth.
- Add all dry ingredients (except the chocolate chips) and mix again, just for a few seconds (don't over mix).
- Now add the dairy-free chocolate chips and stir with a spoon.
- Spoon the batter into the lined baking pan. Top with more chocolate chips or chocolate chunks.
- Bake in the oven for about 28-35 minutes (it can take some minutes more or less, depending on your oven and the size of your baking dish). I have a gas oven and baked them for exactly 35 minutes. You can insert a toothpick into the middle after 28 minutes. When it comes out dry, the dessert is done!
- Let it cool and cut into bars. Enjoy for breakfast or as a dessert!
- Any nut butter like peanut butter, cashew butter, almond butter works fine.
- For a nut-free version use coconut butter or tahini (if you don't mind the slightly bitter taste of tahini). I wouldn't recommend sunflower seed butter as it will turn the bars green unless you leave out the baking powder and baking soda (yes I tried it before, haha).
- I used Erythritol but you can use any other sweetener, for example, birch sugar (Xylitol), date sugar, coconut sugar, cane sugar, etc.
- Double the batch: You won’t regret it – that way, you can enjoy some now and store the rest in the freezer.
- You can also try out my chocolate granola bars.
- Recipe serves 8. Nutrition facts are for 100 g (1 bar out of 8).
Nutrition information is an estimate and has been calculated automatically
I love this recipe!! I’ve been making it for years, today I made it with some adjustments to reduce the kcal count and it came out great and moist! I used 150ml of soy milk and 40gr of pb instead of the 80 and added 40 gr of pb fit powder. I also baked it in a larger baking try to make it thinner. I absolutely love it thank you so much!
So happy to hear you love this recipe! Thanks for your feedback. 🙂
I’ve made this recipe many times and LOVE it! Do you think it would still be tasty if I replaced the nut butter with pumpkin seed butter?
Yes, that should be totally fine! 🙂
Another delicious recipe, Michaela – thank you! I made it just as written and they came out moist, sweet, but not too sweet, and tasted wonderful! I made the recipe with peanut butter and coconut sugar. It feels so good to eat something that is wholefood based, doesn’t raise the glycemic index much, yet happily satisfies the sweet tooth! Yum!
That makes me so happy, Annie! Thanks for your lovely feedback. 🙂
These were soooo good. I made it with one ripe banana instead of the sweetener and it turned out soooo good. The chocolate chips helped too ????
That’s awesome! I am so glad they turned out delicious. 🙂
I made these this morning and have already sampled the deliciousness. Recipe is a keeper! Thank you for all your vegan recipes!! ❤️
That’s wonderful, Kyrstn! Thanks for your lovely feedback. 🙂
Serena R Hale
You amongst others make me glad that I am going plant based:)
That’s awesome, Serena. 🙂
I made them. Very nice????
These are a new favorite in our house! Thank you for all your wonderful recipes!
So happy you love them, Brooke! Thanks for your kind feedback. 🙂
Just made these and they were great! I switched out the nut butter with PB powder to save calories and then added shredded coconut and walnuts to make them more like blondies! Thanks for sharing!
Happy they turned out delicious, Isabel! Thanks for your feedback. 🙂
Hi, this looks like blondes that I have made with chickpeas before. I bet these bars are yummy.
Can I add a layer of the chocolate layer you used in the chocolate granola bar recipe? If I do that, do I spread the chocolate layer on this bar then bake or bake the bar half way then spread the layer on and finish baking?
Hi, I would spread it before baking. 🙂
Love your recipes! Just curious are there any other substitutes for the “butters”…almond, cashew, tahini etc? Could I possibly omit it?
Hi Tif, if you don’t want to use nut butter like cashew butter, peanut butter or seed butter like tahini, I would suggest using about 40 grams of vegan butter or oil. I definitely wouldn’t recommend omitting it, otherwise, the bars will turn out dry and not tasty. 🙂
Hola ! 🙂 Acabo de preparar esta receta y ha quedado maravillosa, te sigo en instagram y haz inspirado muchas de mis preparaciones, muchas gracias por compartir el conociendo y alegrarnos con comida tan deliciosa . Amo la versatilidad de los garbanzos ! Saludos ????
Gracias, Catalina! 🙂
I just put my 3rd batch of these in the oven. I am OBSESSED!!! They are incredibly soft and moist. This difficult time has me trying out new recipes and my beau is super happy. (He literally just came up behind me to give me a hug because I was baking more). LOL!!! Not only has your website been my saving grace during these crazy times, but if I could double the stars for the healthy dessert options you offer then I would. I’ll have to review some others, but so far I’ve made the no-bake carrot cake bars – twice, and I tried my hand at my first no-bake cheesecake from your site. Both turned out amazing. Your instructions are easy to follow, with many notes for alternative ingredients, which is so helpful..Seriously, I can’t believe you respond to all the comments, but it shows how passionate you are about what you do. That is inspiring. You ROCK!!
Aww, thanks so much for your thorough and kind feedback! I am so glad you love these oatmeal bars and my other dessert recipes. 🙂
Your comment made my day!
Hi Ela, Do you ever bake these in a muffin pan? If so, anything I need to do differently. It’s our weekly go to snack, but I broke my glass 9×11 dish and haven’t replaced it but I’m ready to get to meal prepping for the week. Ha!
Hi Sommer, I haven’t tried it yet, but it should work fine, and I would just reduce the baking time by 5 minutes. 🙂
Hi Ela , instead of using nut Butter can i use almond butter ?
Of course, Nicole. Almond butter is nut butter. 🙂