Healthy Breakfast Bars with Oat and Millet

breakfast bars with a cup of tea

Meet “Miss January,” that’s what I’m calling millet, the tiny grain that is our first feature in A Year of Whole Grains. It’s my year-long study of grains where I’ll be showcasing a different one each month, so that by the close of 2014 we’ll all have a better handle on the nutritional and culinary upsides of these nourishing foods.

What is Millet?

If millet looks at all familiar to you, perhaps it’s because you’ve fed it to the birds in your backyard. Millet is a common ingredient in birdseed, though don’t go buying your grain in a pet store since it’s processed differently than millet meant for human consumption.

While millet might be a relative newcomer to American kitchens, it’s widely used throughout Asia and parts of Africa. Aside from being super affordable, millet holds appeal for its quick cooking time and mild, nutty flavor that lends itself to both sweet and savory preparations.  From a nutrition standpoint, millet is a gluten-free grain that is high in fiber and magnesium, and offers a dose of  B vitamins, protein, and iron.

How to Cook with Millet

I’ve been having far too much fun in the kitchen these past few weeks boning up on all things millet. Along the way, I’ve found a few preferred preparations:

  • Cooked on the stovetop into a creamy, savory porridge that can sub in for polenta or mashed potatoes as with this recipe for Millet with Cheese and Chives from Food 52. I topped it with wilted kale for lunch one day and served it alongside grilled flank steak for dinner the next. Delicious.
  • Used warm or cold in simple grain salads, much like you might use quinoa or rice, such as this pretty Millet Salad with Corn and Avocado from Cooking Light.
  • Worked into quick breads and muffins such as this recipe for Buttermilk Millet Muffins,which uses both millet and millet flour.

Healthy Breakfast Bars

But my favorite use for millet is as the backbone for homemade breakfast bars as is the case with today’s recipe. These bars come from the pages of Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for any Eater and Every Appetite, a cookbook by my friend Sarah Copeland.

Since we’re talking whole grains, I don’t know many food writers who work magic with grains in the way that Sarah does. Besides these  bars, her book showcases amaranth in a peanut butter cookie that will knock your socks off, farro in a winter salad that my oldest is still talking about, four-grain English muffins that puts Thomas’ to shame, and barley in an inspired risotto good enough for company.

How to Make and Store Breakfast Bars

But back to the bars. They’re a combination of  millet, oats, nuts, and seeds, bound together with dates, honey and maple syrup. The result is a bar that does just what a granola bar should do: sustain you. It can be stored in a sealed container at room temperature for up to a week. It’s the sort of portable goodness to ply into a child’s hand as they race out the door without breakfast in their belly, wrap in parchment and tuck into a pocket for a day on the slopes, or pack into a carry-on for a long flight.

So go stock up on millet. Make these bars. Experiment. Explore. Report back if you stumble upon a millet recipe worth trying.

It’s a Year of Whole Grains, people.

Crowd goes wild.

Be sure to check out these other breakfast recipes:

Creamy Carrot Mango Ginger Smoothie 

Whole Grain Blender Kefir Pancakes

Healthy Breakfast Toast with all the toppings

No Yeast Whole-Grain Lemon Pecan Cinnamon Rolls 

Breakfast Cookies Recipe by Chocolate Covered Katie

Healthy Apple Muffins by Cookie and Kate

 

hand reaching for breakfast bars
5 from 1 vote
Print

Millet & Oat Breakfast Bars

Genmaicha is a type of green tea with toasted brown rice that adds a malty flavor to these bars. If you don't have genmaicha or don't want the little boost of caffeine, feel free to leave it out. The bars are plenty flavorful without it.
Servings 9 to 12 bars
Author katiemorford

Ingredients

  • 2 cups /170 g old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup /60 g millet (or uncooked quinoa)
  • 1/3 cup /30 g raw sunflower seeds
  • 2 tbsp raw unseasoned pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
  • 1 tbsp sesame seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/3 cup /50 g toasted pecans
  • 1/3 cup /50 g toasted skin-on almonds
  • 1 packed cup pitted Medjool dates
  • 1/3 cup /75 ml Grade B maple syrup , plus more as needed
  • 1/4 cup /60 ml honey or brown rice syrup
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp genmaicha green tea leaves (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F/165°C/gas 3. Line an 8-in/20-cm square baking pan with parchment paper with overlapping flaps.
  2. Stir together the oats, millet, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, sesame seeds, cinnamon, and salt in a medium bowl.
  3. Pulse the pecans and almonds in a food processor until coarsely chopped (it’s OK if some nuts are coarsely ground and a little powdery). Stir into the oat mixture.
  4. Pulse the dates in a food processor until a thick paste forms. Add the maple syrup, honey, and vanilla, and pulse until a purée forms. Scrape out the purée with a rubber spatula and stir into the oats mixture. Continue stirring (your clean hands work best), adding the tea leaves if using, until the oats and nuts are sticky and coated with the purée. If the mixture doesn’t clump together easily, add up to 1 tbsp of maple syrup
  5. Transfer the granola to the prepared baking pan and press into a smooth, even layer. Bake until just starting to brown around the edges, about 25 minutes. Transfer to the counter to cool slightly in the baking pan, about 15 minutes. Grab the flaps of parchment paper and lift out the whole batch transfer to a cutting board. Cut into 16 bars while still warm. Let them cool completely and serve, or store in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Recipe Notes

REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION FROM Feast: Generous Vegetarian Meals for Any Eater and Every Appetite

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of Feast from the publisher. All opinions expressed are completely my own.

Comments

01.20.2014 at 9:56 PM #

Hari Chandana

Looks too good and tempting.. thanks for the recipe!!

01.21.2014 at 6:36 AM #

Valerie

Is this a chewy or crunchy granola bar?

01.21.2014 at 6:36 AM #

katiemorford

I’d say it’s a little of both. Crunchy on the outside with a little chewiness inside. Cook it a little longer and you’ll get more crunch.

01.21.2014 at 7:43 AM #

Maryea {happy healthy mama}

I love this! I have millet in my pantry, but I always seem to forget about it. And I never would have thought to use it in a granola bar. Thanks for the inspiration.

01.21.2014 at 7:43 AM #

katiemorford

I’d really only used oats in my granola bars in the past, but millet adds a nice texture.

01.21.2014 at 12:11 PM #

Jane McKay

Thanks Katie. I will be trying this for Lily’s “nut free” snack at school and substitute the pecans & almonds.

01.21.2014 at 12:11 PM #

katiemorford

Seeds are the new nuts!

01.25.2014 at 10:46 AM #

Sandra Lea

I made these today and they are delicious however they started to crumble as soon as I started to lift them from the pan and more so when I tried to cut them. Although they are certainly edible I was hoping to have a bar that I could take with me. I followed the directions exactly. Any suggestions?

01.26.2014 at 3:30 PM #

Kate @ ¡Hola! Jalapeño

Just picked up the final ingredient (genmaicha) to make these bars! Can’t wait to try them. I’ve loved baking with millet ever since I tried it in banana bread. It has an addictive crunch.

01.26.2014 at 3:30 PM #

katiemorford

I agree Kate. I’m looking forward to more experimentation.

01.28.2014 at 10:00 AM #

HeatherChristo

I love granola bars like this- they feel so hearty and healthy, and I am obsessed with the fact that they have caffeine!

04.07.2014 at 1:19 AM #

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04.17.2014 at 10:31 AM #

Romy

Hi! I just found your blog through foodlets and am loving some of your ideas! I have not come across a millet recipe in a long time! Many years ago, I made an attempt at being a vegetarian. Vegetarian Times used millet to make a “meatball.” Unfortunately I do not have the recipe anymore, but it was similar to a regular meatball, but using milliet, cooked, as the “meat.” They were delicious! So, if you’d like to try and re-invent this idea, I’d love to see the recipe.

04.17.2014 at 10:31 AM #

katiemorford

Hi Romy, Thanks for chiming in. I’m wondering if this is the meatball recipe you remember. It is from Vegetarian Times and has millet:

http://www.bigoven.com/recipe/136915/millet-mock-meatballs-wmarinara-sauce-california-mamas

Let me know!

04.04.2015 at 9:57 AM #

Purnima

Where can I get the nutritional value of the Millet & Oat Granola Bars

04.04.2015 at 9:57 AM #

katiemorford

Hi there, you can find free tools for running nutrient analysis on recipes through a quick internet search. I’ve found this one to be pretty user friendly, although they don’t always have every ingredient I’m looking for: http://nutritiondata.self.com
Good luck!

12.05.2015 at 12:08 PM #

Wade

These look delicious and are similar to a couple of cookies/granola bars on my website. I think I’ll have some fun with these!

02.22.2016 at 2:30 PM #

Sarah Burden

Hi there,
I love these oatmeal and millet cereal bars – I needed some inspiration to use the millet lurking in the back of the cupboard and you hit the nail on the head.
I’ve made them a few times now and not always had the correct ingredients so substituted which has always worked well.
I blogged about it on my website http://www.marmalademakes.com – check it out!
Thanks again for the inspiration
🙂

02.22.2016 at 2:30 PM #

katiemorford

Hi Sarah, So glad you like the bars. Your chocolate/marmalade version sounds dreamy. Keep warm up there in the Highlands 🙂 – Katie

08.09.2017 at 5:58 PM #

Lisa Ryckman

Can you comment if these bars would freeze well or if that is even an option?

08.09.2017 at 5:58 PM #

katiemorford

I would imagine that they would freeze well, though I have never tried it.

09.20.2019 at 4:37 AM #

Harini

Those bars looks real tempting and full of health!

09.20.2019 at 4:37 AM #

katiemorford

I love them for breakfast with a cup of tea!

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