Healthier vegan flapjacks

Healthier vegan flapjacks

healthier vegan flapjacks

How are you guys going? We’ve had a few days of sunny (still really cold) weather and we’ve started dreaming of being able to get away from the routine for a few days, hike up some hills or stroll along the coastline and stare at the sea, wouldn’t that be nice? After a year of being stuck inside, it will be amazing when we are finally able to do things like that again. UK’s 3rd lockdown is supposedly easing towards the end of March and Duncan is getting his vaccine tomorrow (I’m still waiting my turn) so we hope to be able to make our plan happen sometime in April.

Speaking of getting away, I’ve already started thinking of food I can prepare easily for the trip as, like many of your realise I’m sure, being vegan outside of a big city is still very tricky here. Many places will say that they cater for vegans in a bid not to lose out on our business but we’ve found the food almost always overpriced and disappointing. After our last attempt, in Wales, where we paid £15 each for a very promising sounding but meh main, we decided to self-cater and only ever go out if we happen to be near an establishment that understands that vegan cooking is as much about flavour as any other kind of cooking.

One thing that I always make for our trips is some kind of energy bar we can take with us on our hikes. This made me realise that I have not yet made flapjacks for the blog and so I shall rectify that right now. Flapjacks – which is what the Brits call oat bars – are one of the easiest things to make, they are very portable and full of fibre rich and satiating oats. They are often hailed as healthy, which in reality they are not. Not the traditional kind, anyway. They are traditionally made with a prolific amount of butter and sugar, some of which is unavoidable as they are what holds the oats together and gives them their moistness, but there are things that can be done to make them healthier.

I’ve done it by dialling down the amount of fat and sugar, by replacing some of the fat with mashed up banana and by using peanut butter instead of vegan butter or coconut oil, which would be an obvious substitution for the dairy butter used by traditional recipes. As a result, these vegan flapjacks are less indulgent than their non-vegan counterparts but still satisfying to eat. I drizzled them with chocolate, mainly for the looks – I’ll admit – but you can totally skip that part if you’d rather. I recommend putting them in your pocket and going for a hike with a thermos of your favourite coffee, then finding a beautiful vantage point and having a flapjack with a view – they (like anything) taste so much better after a healthy dose of physical exertion.

healthier vegan flapjacks mixture

healthier vegan flapjacks dough

healthier vegan flapjacks tin

healthier vegan flapjacks uncut

healthier vegan flapjacks drizzled

healthier vegan flapjacks baked

healthier vegan flapjacks cross section

20 cm / 8"
10 min
30 min
20 cm / 8"
10 min
30 min
  • 120 g / ½ cup peanut butter (or other nut or seed butter)
  • 160 ml / 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 85 g / 1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (1 largish banana)
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp fine salt
  • 350 g / 3½ heaped cups large rolled oats* (GF certified if needed)

TOPPING (optional)

  1. Preheat the oven to 170° C / 340° F (no fan) oven and line a 20 cm / 8″ square baking tin (or similar) with baking paper.
  2. Combine peanut butter and maple syrup in a mixing bowl, until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. I like to use a wire whisk for that.
  3. Next, mix in well mashed banana, baking soda and salt.
  4. Finally add in the oats. Stir until all the oats are evenly coated in the mixture and the ‘dough’ is sticky but not overly wet – if it’s too wet, add a little bit more oats (this can happen especially when using cups to measure the oats).
  5. Transfer the mixture to the prepared baking tray. Compress the mixture really well to make sure the bars hold together after baking – using an upside down glass is a good way.
  6. Bake for about 30 minutes, until the oats start turning golden brown around the edges but resist the temptation to overbake as it will make the bars dry and crumbly.
  7. Remove from the oven, compress the bars lightly again while warm.
  8. OPTIONAL: Melt the chocolate over a water bath if using. Drizzle over the cooled bars.
  9. Allow the bars to cool down completely and allow the chocolate topping to set before cutting with a sharp knife. Store in an airtight container, at room temperature, for up to a week.

*Smaller (more processed) oats will work also, but I am a fan of rolled oats and they lend the bars more texture.

16 g
9 g
2 g
7 g
43 g
*per flapjack
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5 reviews, 17 comments
So easy to make and much healthier than traditional flapjack. Delicious too.
    I'm delighted to hear that you enjoyed them, Anji. Thanks for taking the time to let me know - I really appreciate it. Ania
would golden syrup work as well instead of maple syrup? Maple syrup is really pricey! Thanks
    Hi Leanne,
    I have not tried but I am absolutely sure it will work just the same. Its viscosity may be a little different (I think it's thicker), which you can compensate for with more mashed up banana IF needed. Hope this helps. Ania
Hi Ania! Do you think substituting apple sauce for the banana would work? I have a hyper-sensitive kid who hates bananas or any hint of them! Many thanks!
    Hi T,
    I am, not sure it will work as well (at least without some adjustments) as apple sauce is way wetter and also banana tends to cook better (it sort of congeals like a cooked egg in some contexts), but worth a try on a smaller batch. Ania
how many flapjacks does this make?
    It makes a 20 cm / 8 inches square so depends how many you cut it into. Hope this helps! Ania
Really easy recipe, just because I had them I added a few raspberries. Tastes delicious and makes quite a lot!
    Thank you Jocelyn, delighted you enjoyed these and adding raspberries sounds like an inspired idea. x Ania
We've been making, and eating, these regularly since the recipe was published. Delicious, easy to make and have been positively received whenever I've passed them round. As a bonus they travel well and didn't melt on our recent camping trip, even though everyone else did! I'm on a low sat fat diet so I use almond butter (smooth or crunchy), skip the chocolate, and throw in raisins with the oats. I'm not keen on bananas so use one that's a bit less ripe to minimise flavour and still have the stickiness to help bind the mix. Highly recommend this recipe, many thanks for creating it :0)
    Thanks so much, Jo! I am so happy to hear that you've been enjoying these so much and great that you were able to adjust them to your taste too. Thank you for taking the time to review, I really appreciate it. x Ania
Rebecca Dillon:
You don't state to mash the bananas before you add them to the dry ingredients and you don't say whether you add the oats to the banana or maple syrup mixture or when to combine them altogether.
    Hi Rebecca,
    I don't think you've given the recipe your full attention. In the ingredients list it says: 85 g / 1/3 cup mashed ripe banana (1 largish banana) and in the method it says:
    1. Combine peanut butter and maple syrup in a mixing bowl, until the mixture is smooth and homogenous. I like to use a wire whisk for that.
    2. Next, mix in well mashed banana, baking soda and salt.
    3. Finally add in the oats. Stir until all the oats are evenly coated in the mixture and the ‘dough’ is sticky but not overly wet – if it’s too wet, add a little bit more oats (this can happen especially when using cups to measure the oats).

    Hope this helps!
These look great - can I use tahini instead of peanut butter?
    Yes, definitely! Hope this helps! x Ania
Delicious! I added some walnuts and raisins and some chopped hazelnuts on top 😋
    Thanks Tam, I'm delighted that you enjoyed these. Both walnuts and raisins are a great addition. x Ania
I tried this recipe last week and they turned out really well. I used a little bit extra chocolate as I wanted a bit more chocolate on top, but besides that followed this recipe exactly and they are delicious. Definitely will be making these again. I like how easy these are to make and only require a few ingredients.
    Thank you for your kind words, Lola! I'm so happy to hear that you enjoyed them and thanks so much for taking the time to review - I really appreciate it! x Ania
On my (very long) list of things to make after Lent!
    Great to hear, Helen! I hope you'll enjoy them. x Ania
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