Gluten Free For Good


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My last post was about iron-deficiency anemia, celiac disease, and iron-rich foods. It came with a heavy dose of red blood cell biology and those of you willing to wade through it, not unsubscribe, and leave a comment at the end were rewarded with an opportunity to win a copy of The Gluten-Free Edge, my sports nutrition book co-written with Peter Bronski.

And the winner is (drum roll, please)—Jennifer R! Thank you all for participating and congratulations to Jennifer.

Since it’s the season for giving, I’m going to keep the giveaway streak going (see details below).

I thought I’d follow up my anemia post with a gluten-free, iron-packed, power-bar recipe that I developed as a homemade alternative to store-bought energy bars. This one is a take-off on an almond meal version featured in the recipe section of The Gluten-Free Edge and is proof that vegetarians (even vegans) can get the iron and protein they need if they do it right.

Gluten-free oat bran power bar (makes 16 servings)
What you need

1/2 cup oat bran (I used Montana Gluten-Free Oat Bran, see details below)
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup walnuts
1 cup almonds
1 cup dried, unsulphured apricots, chopped
1/3 cup certified gluten-free oats (I get mine from MT GF Processors or GF Prairie)
1/2 cup chocolate chips (make sure they’re gluten-free)
1/3 cup honey
1 large egg
2 tablespoons coconut oil, melted, plus some to grease the pan
1-1/2 teaspoon vanilla

What you do

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch square baking pan (I used a dark-colored metal baking pan).
2. Place the oat bran, the cinnamon, and the sea salt in a food processor and pulse until well mixed.
3. Add the walnuts, almonds, apricots, and oats and pulse several times, until the nuts and apricots are in small chunks but not completely ground. Add the chocolate chips and pulse a few times, leaving larger chunks.
4. In a bowl big enough to hold all the ingredients, whisk together the honey, egg, melted coconut oil, and vanilla. Whisk for 1 minute to ensure the ingredients are well mixed.
5. Add the dry (pulsed) ingredients to the wet ingredients and mash together with a fork. Use your hands if you have to and make sure everything is mixed together.
6. Spread the mixture in the prepared pan. Cover with parchment paper and, using your hands, press and flatten evenly. You can also use a flat spatula to even out the mixture. Remove the parchment paper.
7. Place pan on center rack of the oven and bake for 22 to 24 minutes, until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool. Place the pan in the refrigerator to chill before cutting into bars. Store bars in an airtight container in the fridge, or wrap individually and freeze.

These bars are power-packed with nutrition and great for athletes. They’re high in carbohydrates (great workout fuel), high in protein (for recovery), and super high in iron (building blocks for RBCs, see prior post). The iron is mainly from the oat bran. The bars are also high in fat (another source of workout fuel), but the fat is from healthy sources, so don’t fret. Because of the high fat content, they aren’t low calorie, but if you need a boost while out hiking, biking, or during a mid-afternoon work slump, these power bars will serve you well.

PER SERVING (1 bar): 225 calories; 14 g fat; 22 g carbohydrate; 6 g protein; 3 g fiber
NUTRITION BONUS: 1 bar provides 30% of the RDA of iron

Would you like a 3-pound bag of this nourishing Montana Gluten-Free Oat Bran? It’s grown out west by awesome big sky farmers and is minimally “processed” in a dedicated, state-of-the-art, gluten-free facility. The oat bran is dry milled, with no heat applied during preparation or packaging. It’s good stuff, non-GMO, is tested and certified gluten-free, and is a great way to boost the nutritional value of GF baked goods. Most GF baked goods are low in iron and other nutrients. Tossing in some oat bran solves that problem.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment on how you’d use the oat bran. Be creative—I’m curious. Make sure you include your email address where prompted. I’ll pick the winner via Good luck and happy baking!

Peace, love, and oat bran!
PS I’m not employed in any way by MT GF Processors or GF Prairie. No one asked me to blog about the products or do giveaways. I’m not paid to do it. I buy my own products and endorse the farmers and product developers whom I believe are doing it right. There’s been an explosion in the GF market and a lot of the stuff has the nutritional value of ground styrofoam. It’s junk food. I want the good guys to be successful. We need to support this “grass roots” movement. Our health and the health of the environment depend on it.

Go hug a farmer!

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50 Responses to “Oat bran power bar recipe & giveaway”

  1. Larisa says:

    Thanks for the giveaway! I’d love to sprinkle the oat bran on yogurt, on salads, or make hot cereal with it. And try your power bar recipe! Thanks again!

    • Melissa says:


      Gosh, you remind me that back in my “hippie-girl” days of the 1970s, I use to sprinkle wheat germ on everything. Little did I know! But yes, sprinkling oat bran on yogurt’s a great idea!

  2. Terri says:

    Use for hot cereal with Blueberries and walnuts and as a topping for a blueberry crisp.

  3. Coleen says:

    Actually it has been so long since I could eat oat bran that I would probably make this delicious recipe!
    But also, I would add a little to my dogs food – he needs quality products too!

  4. Alta says:

    Ooh these look tasty! You know, over a year ago or so, you had reached out to me to do a test of Montana oats, and I had trouble even with a tiny bit of them. But fast forward to a year later, where my tummy is oh-so-better, and I can tolerate them just fine. 🙂 These definitely look divine.

    • Melissa says:


      So glad you’re getting better. Often people have problems with oats because they can’t tolerate the fiber and don’t “ease” into eating oats. BUT, some people just can’t deal with them, no matter what. Having said that, if we choose high-quality, certified GF oats, and know where they come from, most of us with gluten intolerance do okay. The key is to know where your food comes from. That’s why I like MT GF. I know the farmers who produce the oats and I’ve never had a problem with their products.

  5. Tevis says:

    This looks amazing mom! I might try and make them this weekend so that I have food for the plane at the end of the week!!

    Love you (and miss you) – Tevis

    • Melissa says:

      Great idea, Tevis. We can also make some when you get back to CO. Everyone would love that. They make great “golf” and “ski” treats. =)

  6. Nicole says:

    I’d use the oat bran to make oat bran blueberry muffins–always one of my favorites.

  7. Angela Sommers says:

    Well, first of all I would make your recipe, then I would head over to Shirley’s blog (gluten free easily) and make her rockin’ granola bars, somehow substituting one ingredient with the oat bran.
    Then, I would mix it into my favorite Austrian recipe (I am working on making it gluten free right now and will post soon) to make it healthier.
    Of course, that’s not all – that’s just the start….

    • Melissa says:


      Great idea about substituting something from Shirley’s “rockin’ granola bars” for the oat bran. Okay, now what is this secret Austrian recipe? We’re anxiously awaiting the details. =)

  8. Angela Sommers says:

    oh, one more thing, 🙂 after missing and entering several give aways for your book, I finally just went ahead and ordered it – my Christmas gift to myself 🙂

  9. IrishHeart says:

    Fantastic recipe–thanks for sharing!

    I make oatmeal granola bars very similar and add pumpkin powder, but oat bran would work well!

    I do a paleo banana cake and it could benefit from some oat bran as well.

    Also, I think our morning smoothies could use some, too!

    As we are surrounded by farms where I live here in upstate NY, I see how hard these people work for a living, so yes, I agree….hug them and support them!! Their veggies rock! I am still enjoying root veggies and squashes from the guy down the road. He keeps his stand open until the snow flies. Great guy!

    • Melissa says:


      Pumpkin powder? I’ve never used that. You’re always a wealth of good information. Thank you for sharing your wisdom. I’m putting pumpkin powder on my next grocery list.

      My last CSA share was full of root vegetables. I love them and yes, we love our farmers too, don’t we!?

      One question — I’m not a “paleo” eater. Are oats allowed on the paleo diet?

      Have a good weekend, my friend!

      • IrishHeart says:


        From all I have read, grains are not included on the paleo or primal diets.
        But I do like some of Elana Amsterdam’s recipes, so I make the pumpkin bread and a few others. She is another generous blogger– like you– who freely shares her knowledge and recipes.

        I am not a strict primal eater. I have tried it for weeks at a time to see if I notice any difference in inflammation and joint/muscle pain, but I almost always give in after a while because I miss the quinoa and black bean stuffed peppers I make or I find that I really want brown rice with chicken.

        I am still fine tuning my diet. We’ll see what the next year of healing brings. 🙂

      • Melissa says:


        Yes, no grains, no oats, no legumes, no sugar, no dairy on the paleo diet. I love beans, lentils, brown rice, and oats. For me, I see no reason to give those up. Plus, paleo is too “animal product” heavy for me. Some of the basics make total sense though. Whole foods, lots of vegetables, high-grade meat sources, no sugar, no dairy, etc. I don’t strictly adhere to the no sugar, no dairy part. I should, but such is life! I’m continually “fine tuning” my diet as well. =)

        Thanks! Have a great week. Onward…


  10. Kim says:

    Melissa, Your bars look so yummy! I would love to play around with oat bran. I use a lot of oat flour, and I think that oat bran would be a great (and iron-rich) addition to my kitchen. I think I’d start with muffins.

    • Melissa says:


      Being the awesome baker that you are, you’d have no problem coming up with great ways to use this oat bran. It’s an awesome and super healthy addition to the “nourishing” GF kitchen.

  11. Mary says:

    This decadent oat bran would start out in my smoothie, get delivered to pancakes and be added into a stir fry and who knows where that could lead!

    • Melissa says:

      Oh Mary, what great ideas! I didn’t think of it as a smoothie ingredient, but yes, that’s perfect. And adding it to pancakes is the perfect way to go!

  12. rachel says:

    I would add to my already amazing recipe for gluten free granola! I will also add this to my homemade gluten free baking mix and try it on many of my go-to gluten free baking recipes, especially my banana bread…easy and yummy. If I get the ratio right this will be awesome.
    Thank you for this great resource as getting extra iron is something I need personally and an alternative nutritional source is great to know about and share with my patients as well!

    • Melissa says:


      I’ve been adding a small amount (like 1/4 to 1/3 cup) to most of my recipes lately and it seems fairly fool-proof. If the mixture becomes too dry, I add a tablespoon of water, rice milk, or coconut milk. Banana bread is a great idea because it’s so moist to begin with! Thanks!

  13. April says:

    I’ve been wanting to try oat bran for a while! This is great! I would probably eat it plain to see the flavor, and then use it to add texture to breakfast bakes like this: Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. Venessa says:

    I’d love to try this oat bran in my gluten free pancakes. I make all different types, but love pumpkin. I would also try it in my falafel recipe as a binder. Thank you for this giveaway!

  15. C Loo says:

    FUN how you invite interaction with your ‘bleaders’
    (blog readers 😉 through sharing ideas and offering contests & giveaways. I enjoy watching this blog celebrate and create community — with positve, caring energy flowing back and forth!

    • Melissa says:

      C Loo,

      That’s what keeps me going — the “positive, caring energy” from my readers. Plus, I learn SO much from everyone. I’m blessed!


  16. I’m not entering the giveaway, Melissa, even though I LOVE your book and wouldn’t mind having about a zillion copies to pass out. 😉 First, I made the power bars in your book and I think they’re very similar to these, just using nuts instead of grains. I absolutely adored the little chunks of dried apricot in them. 🙂

    I’ve been planning to make some sweet potato oat waffles, so I’d just use oat bran instead. I use the whole grain waffles instead of slices of bread, and I am certain that the oat bran would make for some good waffle bread!


    • Melissa says:


      Oooh, sweet potato oat waffles sound amazing, and you know I love my waffles, pancakes, and French toast! Yes, chunks of dried apricot is the key. I’ve tried dates, raisins, even figs in those bars, but apricots are the best.

      Thanks for your kind comments about the book! You’re such an awesome cheerleader for what I do. I really appreciate it!!

  17. T. Earp says:

    I know someone else mentioned this, but when I first read the question this answer popped in my head: breakfast cereal. I am wanting a smooth cream of something and the oatmeal I’ve been eating is getting old (tired big time!).

    • Melissa says:

      T. Earp,

      Actually, there’s a creamy cereal recipe on the back of the oat bran bag. It’s delicious with a little sweetener (I used turbinado sugar) and some coconut milk. It’s like the old “cream of wheat,” but much better, and obviously, much healthier! =)

  18. Alisa says:

    Love the recipe Melissa! I would love to win it, but honestly, have no idea how I would use it because I’ve never used oat bran – gluten-free or otherwise!

    Okay, there’s a 90% chance I would bake muffins 🙂

    • Melissa says:


      Well, you’re in luck. There’s a muffin recipe on the back of the bag! But, you’re right, that’s such a good way to sneak in a little more nutrition (and taste) into gluten-free baked goods!

  19. katherine d says:

    i’d use oat bran to make gluten-free vegan pizza and pie crusts 🙂

    katherinedibello (at) gmail (dot) com

  20. Maggie says:

    I’d love to hug a farmer! I sooo appreciate them and their hard work and passion. This recipe sounds good. I’m working on getting my Iron levels up right now so that give me a good excuse to make a batch of these bad boys. I think I’d use the oat bran to make some nutrient-dense chocolate chocolate pie. Oh yeah baby!

    • Melissa says:


      Well, whatever you’d make with this oat bran, I’m sure I’d like. Your recipes always work for me. And who doesn’t like “chocolate chocolate”!?

      Peace, love, and farmer hugs!

  21. Emily says:

    I love Oatbran! I’d get creative and use it in a savory galette!

  22. Allen Sands says:

    I have bags of oat bran, oat flour, and oats that my father gave me to develop recipes with (and enjoy). He, David Sands, is largely responsible for these products being available. So I am not trying to win. But here is my favorite thing to do with the oat bran. Feel free to do whatever you want with my recipe, I suppose a little credit would be nice, but hey, I have had celiac disease for 8 years and I know how much you might crave a good chicken fried steak!
    3 1/3 lb. cube steaks, sometimes I use Italian sausage too
    1/2 cup Montina gf oat bran
    1/2 cup Montina gf oat flour
    1/2 cup Montina gf oats
    1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
    1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
    1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
    1/4 teaspoon chipotle
    1/4 teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon black pepper

    1 large egg
    1/2 cup milk

    Beat the egg and milk until it’s smooth

    Mix all the other ingredients (besides the meat) together.
    Dip the steaks in the milk egg mixture and then dredge them in the oat mixture.
    I double dip for an extra thick coating.
    You can then cook these in oil or butter in a heavy skillet.
    I personally use my gf deep fryer, which I highly recommend having.
    I cook them at 350° for 5-6 minutes.
    Let them rest on paper towels for a couple of minutes before serving. If you deep fry them you probably need to salt them again after frying.


    • Melissa says:


      Thanks for taking the time to write out your recipe. I appreciate it — it sounds delicious. I’ll give it a try. Very creative mix of ingredients, but I think I’ve heard you’re a chef, so I’m not surprised you came up with such an awesome way to prepare a cube steak. I’m aware that your dad is the science guru for MT GF. He’s a brilliant guy with lots of good ideas. We need people like Dave and the farmers to help make positive changes in the food system. I appreciate what all of you are doing for the GF community. We have to vote with our forks!

      Thanks and here’s to a healthy and happy 2013.
      PS You should GF do cooking demos, if you don’t already.

  23. Barb K says:

    I would use the Oat Brand in baking. Mainly making oat brand muffins and oat brand loaf bread.

  24. Jeri says:

    I have used it in my meatloaf. It would also be good in spaghetti sauce and any pancake/crepe mix. I do try to sneak in the good stuff whenever I can. Just like I use to do with wheat bran. Sure could use this book.:)
    Here’s to new healthier friendships!

  25. Sharon says:

    Thankyou for including calorie counts. Most gluten free sites don’t do that – course almond flour cooking tends to be high in calories and scares us all off! Thanks again


  26. Debra Lee says:

    Muffins and Apple Crisp for me!

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Disclaimer: All material on this website is provided for informational and educational use only and should not be used for diagnostic purposes. Consult with your physician regarding any health or medical concerns you may have.
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