These easy Whole Wheat Strawberry Oat Bars will be the star of the dessert table at any potluck. They're beyond crave-worthy, with a side of "healthy". Thank you to the California Strawberry Commission for helping me to share this recipe with you.
When it comes to summertime potlucks, I'm usually the one bringing the pasta salad, big green salad or easy appetizer. I leave the dessert to other people. And usually they don't disappoint, which leads my "holier-than-thou", salad-eating self to sneak off to a quiet corner, plate of brownies and cookies in hand.
This week, however, I had a container of sweet California strawberries in my fridge and thought it was high time that I put on my big girl dessert panties and get down to making a dessert that would scream "Eat me now (without too much guilt)" at any potluck.
I pulled up my favorite scone recipe and used my favorite trick of grinding up oats to mix with whole wheat pastry flour for the crust.
Most crumb bars are packed with butter which, I have to admit, gives the bars a pretty amazing flavor. But I found that I could cut back on the butter and replace some of it with a little canola oil without sacrificing any flavor. The sweetness of the strawberries also allowed me to cut back on the sugar.
So, let me see if I get this right...more fiber, less saturated fat and less sugar. They must taste awful.
Heck no! My family couldn't stop eating these bars!
And on top of all of that, strawberries are packed with vitamin C, fiber, folate and potassium. In fact, I learned on my California Strawberries trip a couple of weeks ago that just 8 strawberries contain more vitamin C than an orange. Because of this and also because research suggests that eating just 1 cup of strawberries a day may improve heart health, lower blood pressure, reduce the risk of some cancers and support brain function, we eat as many of these berries as we can get our hands on.
One of the great things about this recipe is that there is no need to cook the strawberries first before layering them over the crust. Just mix the berries with some cornstarch, sugar and lemon juice, and sprinkle them on. All of the cooking will happen in the oven.
Other favorite strawberry recipes:
Cookin' Canuck's Fresh Strawberry & Lime Tom Collins Cocktail
Cookin' Canuck's Strawberry, Pistachio, Feta Cheese & Basil Salad
Oh My Veggies' Strawberry, Coconut & Lime Smoothie
Two Peas & Their Pod's Strawberry Goat Cheese Guacamole
Sally's Baking Addiction's 3-Ingredient Strawberry Banana Popsicles
Whole Wheat Strawberry Oat Bars Recipe
- 1 ¼ cup oats
- 1 ½ cup whole wheat pastry flour
- ⅓ cup sugar
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 5 tablespoons unsalted butter cut into pieces
- 1 egg
- 3 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¼ cup chopped raw cashews or other nuts
- 5 cups sliced strawberries
- 6 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9- by 13-inch baking dish with cooking spray.
- Place the oats, whole wheat pastry flour, cinnamon and salt in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until the oats are finely ground.
- Add the butter and pulse until the mixture forms large crumbs.
- In a bowl, whisk together the egg, canola oil and vanilla extract. With the motor running, slowly pour in the egg mixture. Process until the mixture starts to stick together.
- Transfer ¾ cup of the mixture to a bowl and stir in the nuts. Set aside for the topping.
- Press the remaining mixture into the bottom of the prepared pan to form a crust.
- In a large bowl, combine the strawberries, 6 tablespoons sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice.
- Spread the strawberry mixture evenly over the crust. Sprinkle the reserved nut mixture over top.
- Bake until the topping is starting to brown and the fruit is bubbling, 40 to 45 minutes.
- Let cool on a rack, then transfer to the fridge for 30 minutes (this will help with cutting and serving the bars).
- Cut into 24 pieces. Serve or refrigerate.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by the California Strawberry Commission. All opinions are my own. I am a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.