Makes 16 to 18 bars


  • 3 1/2 cups certified gluten-free rolled oats (not quick-cooking oats)
  • 1 tsp. fine sea salt
  • 1 cup raw sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup sesame seeds
  • 1/3 cup cacao nibs
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 2/3 cup tahini
  • 2/3 cup brown-rice syrup
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. liquid, refined coconut oil, plus extra for greasing the pan
  • 2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup vegan semi-sweet chocolate chips


    Preheat oven to 350°. Grease an 11- x 7-inch pan with coconut oil. Line the pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on the two long sides. Rub more coconut oil onto the parchment paper. Set aside.

    In a large bowl, combine the oats, sea salt, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, cacao nibs and chia seeds. Toss to evenly mix. Set aside.

    In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, combine the tahini, brown-rice syrup, maple syrup, coconut oil and vanilla. Gently heat the mixture, stirring constantly with a spatula. Do not simmer or boil the mixture. Just heat it until the mixture is slightly more fluid and totally homogeneous.

    Pour the tahini and syrup mixture over the oats and seeds. Scrape everything out of the pot, and stir the granola-bar mix together until thoroughly combined. It might get a bit stiff as the tahini-syrup mixture cools.

    Press the granola-bar mixture into the prepared pan as firmly as you can. I find this easier to do if you cover your hand with plastic wrap and press down on the mixture as evenly as possible.

    Bake the granola bars for 25 to 27 minutes, or until the edges are slightly golden brown. Cool the pan completely on a wire rack before cutting into bars.

    In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, bring about 1 inch of water to a simmer. Place the chocolate chips in a nonreactive bowl, and set it on top of the pot with the simmering water. Stir the chocolate until completely melted. Drizzle the chocolate over the cooled and cut granola bars. Place the bars in the refrigerator to firm up the chocolate.

    You can store the bars in a sealed container at room temperature for about 1 week. You can also freeze the bars by individually wrapping each one in plastic wrap as tightly as you can. I like to place all the individually wrapped bars into a big resealable freezer bag and defrost them as I need them.

    Reprinted from The First Mess Cookbook by arrangement with Avery Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, A Penguin Random House Company. Copyright © 2017, Laura Wright.

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