Delicious coconut maple low carb granola bars are perfect for an on-the-go gluten-free, sugar-free breakfast or snack. Throw one in your lunch bag for a keto-friendly, vegan afternoon snack!
One of my favorite ways to make a gluten-free, low carb granola bar is with unsweetened coconut. On a keto or low carb diet, you may think granola bars are out, but it’s just not so!
When I was teaching, I almost always brought a leading brand maple pumpkin seed granola bar to school with me for a quick healthy snack. However, now that I eat keto, the 22 carbs and 5 grams of sugar are not a good snack option each day. I’ve missed the flavor so it was time to get creative!
I love the fact that these low carb granola bars are not only keto-friendly but dairy-free and vegan as well. I know for a fact it can be extremely difficult to find vegan recipes that are also low carb. However, these are all of the above, and do you know what? They taste amazing too. Important.
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Why dairy-free low carb granola bars?
How difficult is it to eat a low carb diet when you also eat vegan? Extremely so! When I think of my favorite go-to keto snacks they all include dairy or eggs. It got me thinking, how could I make vegan recipes that are also low carb or keto-friendly?
That’s random you may say. Why do you need vegan recipes when you’ve been eating keto?
Well, our family is Christian Orthodox. The church is just entering into Great Lent, a time of preparation for the celebration of Christ’s resurrection. During Great Lent, we focus on many things but especially on prayer, kindness, and loving God and our neighbors.
In Church tradition, fasting is also observed. There are many guidelines, but in general, you eat a simple vegan diet as meat and dairy are cut out. The idea is to be able to focus on what’s important and be able to give more to the needy.
I am the first to admit the strict fasting is a difficult point for me.
Why? Well, on keto I can’t eat all the tradition fasting foods! Bread and beans with occasional fruit are staples, and those are not low carb. There’s definitely a need for more low carb vegan recipes!
Vegan ingredients for low carb granola bars
My main challenge was not what to put in the granola but how to bind it all together.
In the past, I’ve made many a granola bar using shredded unsweetened coconut and other various ingredients and flavorings. Usually, I’ve used honey, butter, or other nut butter to stick it together as a bar. However, with honey and butter out I thought about almond or peanut butter, but that raises the carbs more than I like.
Boom! Then it came to me! Cocoa butter. I generally melt cocoa butter with unsweetened chocolate to lower the carb count and make my own sugar-free chocolate candy recipes. Why couldn’t I use it on its own to bind the granola bars together?
Do you know what? It’s perfect! It tastes good with the flavorings and does its job with a nice silky texture.
What is cocoa butter?
When cocoa beans are processed, cocoa butter oozes out and is separated from the rest of the bean. What’s left of the cocoa bean is made into cocoa powder. Cocoa butter is later recombined with the cocoa powder and other ingredients to make melt in the mouth chocolate. Yum.
Cocoa butter is the fat portion of the cocoa bean and is a completely vegetarian fat source. Many people hear “butter” and assume milk or other ingredients, but no! It’s dairy-free, 0 carbs, 0 sugars, and 14 grams of fat in a one tablespoon serving. That pretty much makes it a fabulous ingredient for keto cooking.
How to make coconut maple low carb granola bars
First, get out all of the ingredients and kitchen utensils. Second, line a loaf pan with parchment paper. I love parchment paper; it helps you get the bars out more easily, and you can use the extra sticking up out of the pan to flatten down the granola mixture.
Then, find a large bowl and in it mix together the shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and salt. Now set that all aside.
Next, take out a small saucepan and fill it about half-full of water. On top of the saucepan place a slightly larger heat-proof bowl so it just sits on top without touching the water (or use a double-boiler). Now, turn the heat up to medium-high, chop the cocoa butter, and put it in the bowl to melt. Add the sweetener and whisk them up until the cocoa butter is completely melted. Then take it off the heat.
Continue to whisk it and add in the maple extract. Next, pour the cocoa butter mixture into the large bowl of shredded coconut, seeds, and all.
How to form the vegan granola bars
Mix everything together vigorously with a wooden spoon until the coconut mixture is completely coated with the cocoa butter.
Now, transfer it all to the loaf pan, and press it down evenly using the parchment paper. Technically you probably don’t have to, but I like to bake the bars and lightly toast the coconut. Therefore, put the pan in the oven to bake for 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees or until the coconut begins to toast and appear brown on the edges.
Chill it in the refrigerator completely, and then remove it from the pan using the parchment paper and cut it carefully up into 8 bars. I like to use a very sharp, serrated knife for this.
Lastly, keep the granola bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.
What’s your favorite low carb breakfast?
Were you a huge granola bar fan before starting to eat low carb? I certainly was and have missed the texture and flavor. These low carb granola bars do come in handy for that craving!
For a while, I ate variations of bacon and eggs for most breakfasts. While I still love them, it’s good to mix things up. Every weekend my daughter and I try something new for Saturday breakfast, and it’s so much fun trying out new flavors! What do you eat for breakfast or breakfast for lunch?
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What about lunch?
Low Carb Coconut Granola Bars
- 2 cups unsweetened shredded coconut
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 2 oz cocoa butter
- 1 tsp maple extract
- 1/3 cup sweetener I use either Swerve Confectioner's or Brown Swerve
- Line a loaf pan with parchment paper.
- Take a large bowl and mix together the shredded coconut, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
- Put water in a small saucepan with a heat-proof bowl sitting on top of it (or use a double-boiler). Turn the heat to medium-high, chop the cocoa butter, and put it in the bowl to melt.
- Add the sweetener and whisk until the cocoa butter is completely melted then remove from heat. Continue to whisk and add in the maple extract.
- Pour cocoa butter mixture into the large bowl of shredded coconut, etc. Mix it together vigorously with a wooden spoon until the coconut mixture is completely coated with the cocoa butter.
- Transfer to the loaf pan and press it down evenly using the parchment paper.
- Bake for 20 minutes at 350 degrees or until the coconut begins to toast and appear brown on the edges. Chill in the refrigerator completely and then cut into 8 bars. Keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to a month.
|Amount Per Serving: 1 bar|
|Total Fat 21 g|
|Saturated Fat 14 g|
|Monounsaturated Fat 3 g|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 2 g|
|Trans Fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg|
|Sodium 102 mg|
|Potassium 41 mg|
|Total Carbohydrate 5 g|
|Dietary Fiber 3 g|
|Sugars 1 g|