Do you bring your lunch to work?
Since there are very few restaurants near my office (and even if there were, I rarely have time to run out for a bite to eat), the only other non-homemade lunch option is our work cafeteria … affectionately know as the “barf-a-teria.”
Yeah … I try to bring my lunch to work as often as I can.
Now, the real challenge in all this? Coming up with creative and healthy lunch ideas for every day of the work week. Luckily for me (and you!), this month’s Recipe ReDux theme is “bars and bites for brown bags” … in other words, lots of great ideas to you keep you from getting stuck in a boring lunchtime rut.
My contribution to the cause? Gluten-free chocolate cranberry granola bars!
The other great thing about these delightfully chocolate-y, delightfully fruity granola bars? They’re easily adaptable to whatever you have on hand.
I had some Udi’s gluten-free cranberry granola in my pantry, but any loose granola would work as well. Don’t like pecans? Either switch up the nut or leave it out completely. No brown rice syrup in the house? Use honey! And of course, you could substitute brown sugar for the coconut sugar as well … and any dried fruit would be a perfect replacement for the cranberries.
Whether you pack your lunch in a bento box, a brown bag, or a retro cartoon character lunch box, make sure to pack one of my gluten-free chocolate cranberry granola bars. And, hey … they’re great for breakfast too!
- 2½ cups gluten-free granola
- 1 cup pecan chips
- ⅓ cup brown rice syrup
- ¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- ¼ teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ cup mini chocolate chips
- ½ cup dried cranberries, coarsely chopped
- Line an 8 x 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, making sure parchment hangs over the sides of the dish.
- In a large bowl, stir together the granola and pecans.
- In a small saucepan, combine the brown rice syrup, butter, and coconut sugar. Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring frequently until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat, then stir in the vanilla extract and salt. Pour over the granola mixture, then stir until evenly coated. Stir in the chocolate chips and dried cranberries until evenly mixed (the chocolate chips will melt).
- Press the granola mixture firmly into the prepared baking dish. Refrigerate until set, at least 2 hours.
- Remove the granola from the baking dish using the parchment paper to lift it out. Transfer the granola to a cutting board. Cut in half crosswise, then into 8 to 10 rectangular bars, depending on the size you want to make them.
- The granola bars will keep, layered between parchment or waxed paper in an airtight container, for up to one week.