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Sweet Sixteen Oatmeal Raisin Bars

Get ready for the Sweet Sixteen basketball playoffs with these super-healthy oatmeal-raisin snack bars.  Make 16 bars in just 16 minutes: sweet!   They're perfect for budding athletes, full of whole grains and fruit with no cholesterol or added fat. The bars hold together well and aren't sticky, so you can bring a plate of them into the TV room without hesitation. Of course, they pack well in a lunch bag too.

I'm excited that two teams I follow made it into the Sweet Sixteen: my home team, NC State's mighty Wolfpack, and the team from where I grew up, Michigan State's fierce Spartans. I hope both teams shoot for the moon!

But back to baking.... I took a plate of Oatmeal Raisin Bars to a friend who sent these comments from her family:

We all loved them and would be very happy to find them in our lunch boxes! "Really good. " "I like the consistency." "Just the right amount of sugar." "It's like a muffin."

vegan and fat-free oatmeal-raisin snack bars

Sweet Sixteen Oatmeal Raisin Bars, vegan with no added fat

Active time: 16 minutes. Total time: 46 minutes. Serves 16.


  • 2 tablespoons ground flax seed (14 grams)
  • 6 tablespoons water
  • 2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats (190 grams)
  • 1 cup white whole wheat flour (120 grams)
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar (165 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce (128 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup raisins (160 grams)
  • 1 cup walnut pieces (110 grams), coarsely chopped


  1. Make flaxseed "eggs" by heating ground flaxseed and water in a microwave-safe bowl on high for 45 seconds, then stir until texture becomes eggy.
  2. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 13 x 9-inch baking pan.
  3. Put oats, flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt into a mixing bowl. Mix on low speed using an electric mixer until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add flax eggs, applesauce, and vanilla and mix on low until mixture is well combined and evenly moist. Stir in raisins and chopped walnuts.
  4. Spread dough evenly in the baking pan and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until top just begins to turn golden brown. Let cool, then cut into 16 bars. Keeps covered at room temperature for about four days and freezes well.

Tips and Notes

  • Get ground flaxseed at health food stores and many grocery stores. This recipe uses the equivalent of two flaxseed eggs.
  • Use whole wheat flour or all-purpose flour if you don't have white whole wheat flour.
  • Customize this recipe by using other dried fruit or chopped nuts in place of the raisins and walnuts. Just keep the total amount at about two cups so the bars hold together.

Reader Comments (9)

This looks good; I'll be trying it this week. I noticed what I think is a mistake: the recipe says it serves 16, but in step 4 it says to 'cut into 12 bars' which doesn't match.

Feb 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterMatthew

You are so right, Matthewm1970! I originally thought this would make 12, but found that that they are chewy and filling, so a 16th is a satisfying amount.

Thanks so much for pointing this out. I've made the correction in the recipe above.

Feb 23, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson

Good recipe. These are not overly sweet. Although I'm not vegan I liked the flax substitute for eggs. They will make a great hiking snack this weekend.

Feb 25, 2012 | Registered Commenterwearyma

I made these this evening with one small change: I reduced the sugar from 3/4 cup to 1/2 cup. The resulting bars are very tasty. I will appreciate eating these for breakfast or for a snack all week long.

Feb 26, 2012 | Registered Commentersissiesue

Whitney wrote to say:

Just wanted you to know what a hit your food has been for me and the family...I have 3 kids who are 11, 10, and 8 and a husband and we are all trying to live healthier. The sweet 16 bars have been a family favorite...I've made 3 batches so for my Sister in law who is not able to have dairy right now and one batch with chocolate chips and peanuts for us as a special treat (yum!!)

Feb 28, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson

Tasty, indeed! Mine didn't hold together quite right, though. I'm wondering if my ground flaxseed is too coarsely ground: it's the Bob's Red Mill organic brown flaxseed meal. (I once bought the golden flaxseed meal because my grocery was out of the brown, and noticed it seemed more finely ground.)

Dec 6, 2012 | Registered Commenteradara9

Adara9, you're probably right. I use Whole Food's organic 365 Brand finely ground flaxseed and the bars hold together like champs. Could you zip yours through a clean coffee grinder or spice mill?

Dec 10, 2012 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson

Made these this weekend and I love them! This was my first time making a flaxseed egg-- pretty cool! It's really eggy!
These are delicious and very filling. I have one for breakfast and it's hearty enough to tide me over until lunch.
I did alter the recipe just a little, by reducing the raisins to 1/2 cup and adding 1/2 cup of chocolate chips. I love the combination!
I will be making these again soon!

Oct 10, 2017 | Registered Commentercritwitt

@critwitt -- Yaay you for trying flaxseed eggs! So glad you enjoyed the adventure and the recipe. I love chocolate chips and raisins too. Great idea to use them here.

Oct 12, 2017 | Registered CommenterLinda Watson
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