Whole Living Daily

Naturally Sweet: Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Hiking Bars

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The humble peanut butter and honey sandwich was my childhood hiking companion. My mom packed them for us no matter where we went or how long the hike. I do love them, but I would be seriously disappointed when they would often get smashed into sandwich roadkill in our packs. I would have happily traded that gooey mess for one of these fudgy (and gluten-free!) textured bars. These bars meet all the requirements of a good hiker's snack -- portable and protein-rich with just the right kind of natural sugars to keep your body feeling good as you explore the wild.

Peanut Butter Hiking Bars

1 cup water
10-12 pitted dates
1 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup pecans
2/3 all-natural peanut butter
5 tablespoons ground flaxseed
1/2 teaspoons salt
4 teaspoons honey
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips (optional, but highly recommended)


  1. Bring the cup of water to a boil, add the dates. Set aside. 
Preheat the oven to 350° F.
  2. In a food processor, pulse oats until ground into a coarse meal. Pour oats into a large mixing bowl.
  3. Put pecans in the food processor and pulse until they resemble coarse a meal. Add nuts to ground oats.
 Add dates and water to the food processor along with the peanut butter. Pulse until nice and smooth.
  4. Add date mixture to the mixing bowl along with the ground flaxseed, salt, and honey. Mix well.
  5. Line an 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper and pour batter in. It should be very thick and sticky. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top, if using.
  6. Bake until edges are golden, about 25 minutes.
  7. Let cool completely before cutting into bars. Makes 15 bars. Bars last longest in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Mary Jolley began exploring eating a wholesome plant-based diet while researching her first book, The Green Diet, in 2007. She has since revised the book to be, 6 Steps to Eating Green. She started MyGreenDiet.com in 2009 and has grown to love sharing her passion for healthy food and natural living. She strives to help others on their journey to beauty, health, and joy.

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Comments (12)

  • These look delicious! If I can't have dates, do you have a substitution recommendation? Thank you!

  • Caty - try dried figs!

  • [...] For the recipe, continue on to the Whole Living article. [...]

  • Can the oats be substituted with something else?

  • Hey Cheryl. It would be tricky to substitute out the oats because they are so much of the filling, but you could try using a mix of whole wheat flour and ground flaxseed. You probably wouldn't need as much flour as oats, because the flour would be denser. It might take a bit of experimenting. good luck, I hope it turns out!

    Caty. It should work with dried apricots, figs, or prunes. I would try a mix of apricots and prunes for a good flavor combination and I think it would have a similar consistency.

    xo, Mary

  • Im guessing it is 2/3 cup of peanut butter...is that correct? Cant wait to make these.

  • Thanks so much, Mary and Blythe! I can't wait to make these. :-)

  • These were fantastic. First time making anything with dates...couldn't stop eating the 'batter' !!!

  • Any substitutions for pecans? They sound amazing, but my son has a tree but allergy. The peanut butter is fine. Thanks!

  • Wow! I made these and am IN LOVE! What a delicious recipe and so healthy. Do you know the calorie count? I am concerned because I eat two 2inch bars for breakfast everyday!

  • These are NOT gluten free unless you use CERTIFIED GLUTEN FREE OATS !!!!!! and that should be displayed in the ingredient list since the title of this says its a gluten free recipe... Regular oats are NOT gluten free as they can be contaminated during processing and that is BAD for celiacs...This recipe can be misleading to those who don't realize that..

  • [...] almond date granola bars but I’m thinking it might time for a change and Whole Living‘s Peanut Butter Hiking Bars hit all the [...]

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