Healthy Strawberry Oat Squares

Or try my lemon strawberry crumb bars.

Healthy Strawberry Squares on sallysbakingaddiction.com

This week I’m taking advantage of the abundance of fresh strawberries on sale at my local market. I made a couple new recipes for my cookbook (a cake! a pie!) and finished off my strawberry supply with a batch of these healthy treats.

Strawberries are a nutritional power house and one of my favorite fruits to bake with. Juicy strawberries go with everything from chocolate to banana to homemade whipped cream. I love them with Greek yogurt, I love them in smoothies, or alongside these sugar free chocolate bars.

Healthy and Easy Strawberry Oat Squares Recipe on sallysbakingaddiction.com-- these are delicious!

My latest strawberry obsession are these healthy oat-y almond squares.  They’re gluten-free, have only 1 Tablespoon of refined sugar, no butter, no oil, and are laughably easy to throw together.  They’re like a Strawberry Nutrigrain Bar – but better.  Thicker oat-y base, thicker strawberry filling, and lots of texture on top.

The strawberry filling inside? 2 cups of diced strawberries boiled down with maple syrup, cornstarch, and 1 Tablespoon of sugar.  It’s like a very thick homemade strawberry jam.

The oatmeal base of these bars is practically the same recipe I use for my Breakfast Cookies. Quick oats (not whole oats), almond butter, maple syrup, apple butter, and cinnamon.  nstead of a mashed banana, I used an egg to bind it at all together. Using a banana may make the bars overly crumbly. However, if you follow a vegan diet, you may try using the mashed banana or even a flax egg to replace the egg.

It’s important to use quick oats in this recipe. Quick oats are more finely ground up old fashioned rolled oats (aka whole oats). Quick oats have been pressed slightly thinner than rolled oats and therefore have a more powdery texture. You may not even notice a different or realize there are two kinds of oats in those tall canisters at the store! But you need quick oats in this recipe because their fine texture will hold together the best.

The oatmeal base is all made in one bowl. How’s that for easy clean-up? You’re literally going to dump it all into 1 large bowl and mix it around by hand until the oats are moistened and everything is combined. To make the topping, you’re simply going to take 1/2 cup of the base that you’ve just thrown together and mix it with 1/2 cup of sliced almonds. Crumble that on top of your homemade strawberry filling.

Without the addition of almonds, you won’t have enough topping to cover the strawberry filling.  So don’t leave those almonds out!  Peanuts, pecans, or walnuts may be used to replace the sliced almonds.

Deliciously Healthy Strawberry Squares recipe by sallysbakingaddiction.com-- wholesome, guilt-free goodness!

The bars take about 25-30 minutes in the oven. The hardest part is waiting for them to cool before digging in! I threw the pan in the refrigerator for quick cooling. I have zero patience – especially when eating strawberry bars is the end result.

There is an abundance of juicy strawberry filling in each bite. I hate biting into fruit-filled bars only to find that there is hardly any fruit hiding inside. Since I made these on Monday, I’m happy to report that there are none left.  The batch only makes about 9-12 bars, depending how large you cut them.  We dug right in and there was no turning back! They’re a healthified version of any fruit/streusel bar, and I couldn’t resist their almond-y, oat-y, strawberry-to-the-max flavor.

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More strawberry sweets you’ll love!

Healthy Strawberry Oat Squares

These healthy snack bars are so easy to make! Only 1 Tablespoon of refined sugar, gluten-free, no butter, no oil, and made with 100% good for you ingredients. Gluten Free if using certified GF oats.

Ingredients:

Filling

  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 2 Tablespoons warm water
  • 2 cups finely diced strawberries
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1 Tablespoon granulated sugar

Oatmeal Base + Topping

  • 2 and 1/4 cup quick oats (not whole rolled oats)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup unsalted almond butter (or peanut butter or sunflower seed butter)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • 1/4 cup apple butter*
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds

Directions:

  1. Make the strawberry filling first by mixing the cornstarch with the warm water until it all of the cornstarch has dissolved and there are no more clumps. It should resemble milk. Set aside. Combine the strawberries, maple syrup, and sugar together in a small sauce pan over medium heat. While stirring occasionally, bring to a boil then allow to boil for 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the pre-mixed cornstarch. Whisk until all clumps are gone and set aside to thicken and cool.
  2. Preheat oven to 325F degrees. Line an 8x8 baking pan with aluminum foil with enough overhang on the sides for easy removal. Set aside.
  3. Make the oat crust/topping: In a large bowl, combine the quick oats, cinnamon, almond butter, maple syrup, apple butter, and beaten egg. Mix until all of the oats are moistened and the mixture is thoroughly combined. Reserve 1/2 cup of the oat mixture. Press the remaining oat mixture into prepared baking pan. Make sure it is firmly pressed down and even. Spread the strawberry filling on top. To the reserved 1/2 cup oat mixture, add the sliced almonds. Crumble this over the strawberry filling and, using the back of a spatula, press the topping down firmly into the strawberry filling. You want to make sure it sticks well.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes. The topping will be lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting into squares.
  5. Makes 9-12 squares, depending how large you cut them.  Squares stay fresh covered tightly at room temperature or in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.  Bars freeze well, up to 2 months.

Recipe Notes:

*You may use pumpkin butter, mango butter, or any other fruit butter to replace the apple butter. The bars won't be as moist if using applesauce instead of apple butter.

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© Sally’s Baking Addiction. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please re-write the recipe in your own words, or link back to this post for the recipe.

216 Comments

Comments

  1. Anastasia on September 20, 2016 at 9:56 pm

    Hi Sally!

    I live in Australia and apple butter and other fruit butters are not widely available in my area 🙁 Am I able to use normal butter or will that ruin the taste? Love all of your recipes!

    • Sally on September 21, 2016 at 10:23 am

      Use applesauce instead 🙂

  2. wanda kay davenport on September 26, 2016 at 9:26 am

    I didn’t see the cal. count and nutrition facts on these, could you give that would love to try these!!! But need to know calories? thx!!!!

  3. Lisa on December 6, 2016 at 8:41 am

    Hi Sally! Love all your recipes! How long does it stay before expire? Is there a way to preserve it? Thanks!

    • Sally on December 6, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      See step 5 🙂

  4. Delia on January 15, 2017 at 2:39 pm

    Hi! Is it possible to make this recipe with apples?

    • Sally on January 15, 2017 at 4:01 pm

      Yes, I’d say so! I’d switch out the chopped strawberries for finely chopped apples.

  5. Abby on February 19, 2017 at 10:40 am

    Hi Sally,

    I really want to try make this now but the first thing is I don’t know where to find apple butter in the UK so I guess I can use applesauce. Secondly, I don’t have maple syrup right now can I use honey instead?

  6. Eva on July 17, 2018 at 10:21 am

    This is the kind of recipe I was looking for to be inspired by! Thanks a lot Sally 🙂

  7. Amy Dingledine on July 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    I’m tryin this recipe for my daughter’s 4-H judging project. I’m unclear how long the strawberries should boil. I cooked them just until they boiled and added the cornstarch mixture, but it seems to be pretty runny, and it sounds like in your recipe description it should have been thicker before I pour it onto the oat mixture. Can you give me an estimate of how long I should let it boil ?

    • Sally on July 18, 2018 at 10:03 am

      Hi Amy! Just a minute or so. Sorry that was unclear.

  8. Kymberly on August 2, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Is there anything you can use instead of nuts? I don’t eat nuts of any kind.

    • Sally on August 3, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      You can just leave them out!

Reviews

Questions

  1. Amy Dingledine on July 17, 2018 at 7:06 pm

    I’m tryin this recipe for my daughter’s 4-H judging project. I’m unclear how long the strawberries should boil. I cooked them just until they boiled and added the cornstarch mixture, but it seems to be pretty runny, and it sounds like in your recipe description it should have been thicker before I pour it onto the oat mixture. Can you give me an estimate of how long I should let it boil ?

    • Sally on July 18, 2018 at 10:03 am

      Hi Amy! Just a minute or so. Sorry that was unclear.

  2. Kymberly on August 2, 2018 at 4:02 pm

    Is there anything you can use instead of nuts? I don’t eat nuts of any kind.

    • Sally on August 3, 2018 at 12:38 pm

      You can just leave them out!

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