Chewy and filling, these healthy banana oatmeal chocolate chip bars with pecans are a delicious way to use up a whole bunch of ripe bananas sitting on your counter. This recipe is vegan, plant-based, egg-free, flour-free, oil-free and the only added sugar comes from the chocolate chips.
This recipe is a variation on my 5-Ingredient Banana Oatmeal Bars recipe. They are healthy enough to eat for breakfast, but taste like dessert with the chocolate chips.
🧄 Ingredient notes
- Ripe, spotty bananas - The best and sweetest bananas to use for this recipe are overripe bananas that are super spotty. The kind you would use to make banana bread. This is a great alternative to use them up! Since this recipe has no added sugar, it's important to use ripe bananas so the bars have some sweetness.
- Ground flax - Acts as a binder and is also a great source of fiber
- Chocolate chips - It can be difficult to source vegan chocolate chips that don't cost a fortune. Trader Joe's brand happen to be vegan and are affordable, so snag those if you can. Otherwise, look for dark chocolate chips and check the labels. If you are not opposed to consuming a tiny bit a milk on occasion, then standard chocolate chips will work fine but then the bars will not be completely vegan.
📋 Substitutions and variations
Here are some suitable substitutions for the ingredients in this recipe:
- Rolled oats - instead of rolled oats, you can use quick oats. Do not use steel cut, though.
- Ground flax - use chia seeds instead of ground flax
- Chocolate chips - substitute the chocolate chips for chopped dark chocolate, cacao nibs or other small chocolate candy. Or, omit them for a lower calorie bar. Another low-calorie, low-fat topping option would be diced apple, blueberries, sliced strawberries or pitted cherries.
- Pecans - instead of chopped pecans, use chopped walnuts, sliced almonds, pistachios, peanuts, sunflower seed kernels, pepitas, hemp hearts or sesame seeds. Or, leave them off.
- Nut-free - make this nut-free omitting the pecans or substituting with seeds.
- Gluten-free - make this gluten-free by ensuring your oats are certified gluten-free
- WFPBNO - make this whole food plant based no oil by using cacao nibs instead of chocolate chips or omitting them.
- SOS-free - make this SOS-free by omitting the chocolate chips and using a sodium-free baking powder
Switch things up with these variation ideas!
- Peanut butter banana oat bars - Add peanut butter to the batter for a richer oatmeal bar.
- Cranberry chocolate pepita banana oat bars - Dried cranberries and pepitas with the chocolate are a delicious combination
- Pumpkin banana oatmeal bars - Spice it up with pumpkin and warming spices like nutmeg, allspice and cloves
Step-by-step photos on how to make these healthy banana chocolate chip oatmeal bars that are vegan, with no egg and no sugar.
In a large bowl, add the peeled ripe bananas.
Mash the banana very well with a potato masher or fork.
Add ground cinnamon, ground flaxseed and baking powder to the bowl of mashed banana.
Mix together well with a spoon.
Add rolled oats to the bowl and mix together well.
This is what your batter should look like.
Line a baking sheet or 13x9 baking dish with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Spread batter evenly in a rectangle on lined baking sheet. Keep the batter on the parchment/silicone mat, so it doesn't stick. Shape the batter into a wide rectangle about 1-inch deep. This batter does not spread as it bakes. It will stay in place and harden into chewy bars.
Sprinkle chocolate chips and chopped pecans across surface. Gently press the toppings into the batter with your fingers or the back of a spoon. Bake banana oatmeal bars in oven for 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch. Allow to cool and then slice into bars. Store cut bars in refrigerator for 3-4 days.
🧯 Food safety
- Wash hands with soap and water before cooking
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods
- Never leave cooking food unattended
- Always have good ventilation when using a gas stove
🥡 Make ahead and storage tips
Make these banana oat bars ahead of time, cool and then slice and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Reheat in the microwave for 15-20 seconds to serve warm.
🚦 Calorie density score
🟡 This recipe gets a yellow light on the calorie density chart. Some of the ingredients (the pecans and chocolate chips) are higher than 600 calories per pound, so eating richer meals like this regularly may prevent you from losing body fat or may even cause you to gain weight. Learn more about calorie density from Jeff Novick, MS, RDN.
Get your own printable calorie density chart for your refrigerator and free ebook explaining calorie density in simple terms.
👨👩👦👦 Serving suggestions
Serve these banana oat chocolate bars as a snack or dessert by themselves. To make them more indulgent, top with dairy-free whipped cream or vanilla yogurt.
Or, for a more complete breakfast meal, serve alongside a big bowl of fresh fruit, such as strawberries, cantaloupe, honeydew melon, blueberries, blackberries, sliced apple, mango or pineapple.
☕️ Tea pairing
This recipe would be delicious paired with some Yorkshire biscuit tea, which tastes like black tea that you've dunked a cookie in. So yummy!
💜 More recipes you'll love
If you love this healthy banana chocolate chip oatmeal bar recipe, check out these other plant-based breakfast recipes!
Healthy Banana Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Bars with Pecans (vegan)
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- In a large bowl, mash the banana very well with a potato masher or fork.6 overripe bananas
- Add ground cinnamon, ground flaxseed and baking powder and mix together with banana.3 tablespoons ground flaxseed, 1 ½ tablespoon ground cinnamon, 3 tablespoon baking powder
- Add rolled oats to the bowl and mix together well.3 cups rolled oats
- Line a baking sheet or 13x9 baking dish with parchment paper or a silicone mat. Spread batter evenly in a rectangle on lined baking sheet. Keep the batter on the parchment/silicone mat, so it doesn't stick. Shape the batter into a wide rectangle about 1-inch deep. This batter does not spread as it bakes. It will stay in place and harden into chewy bars.
- Sprinkle chocolate chips and chopped pecans across surface. Gently press the toppings into the batter with your fingers or the back of a spoon.½ cup chocolate chips, ½ cup chopped pecans
- Bake banana oatmeal bars in oven for 25 minutes, or until firm to the touch.
- Allow to cool and then slice into bars. Store cut bars in refrigerator for 3-4 days.