Healthied up Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

I make these bars two different ways depending on the company I’m serving. I make the first version for my family, it’s oil free and uses less sweetener so it tastes a bit healthier and results in a more cake-like cookie but is still delicious!

The second version is good for convincing company that being vegan doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor! It has a small amount of oil and more (unrefined) sweetness and tastes and crunches more like traditional cookie bars, but is still relatively healthy compared to regular vegan cookies. Try both recipes to see which one is your favorite! Enjoy!

Healthied Up Vegan Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

Oil-Free & Less Sweet Version:

  • 2 C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (for Gluten Free option substitute Cara’s all purpose GF mix)
  • 1/2 C. Rolled Oats (use certified Gluten Free for GF version)
  • 1/2 C.  raw agave
  • 1/2 C. unsweetened Apple Sauce
  • 1 T. Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/2 C. Almond Milk
  • 2 t. Vanilla
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 C. Vegan Chocolate Chips

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, oats, ground flax, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with a wire whisk. Add agave, apple sauce, almond milk, vanilla and chocolate chips. Stir til just combined. Pour into an 8×8 pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Do not over bake, that’s the secret to the awesomeness of these babies. Let cool for 10-15 minutes then cut into 16 squares.

Tiny Bit Naughty Version:

  • 2 C. Whole Wheat Pastry Flour (for Gluten Free option substitute Cara’s all purpose GF mix)
  • 1 C. Rolled Oats (use certified Gluten Free for GF version)
  • 1/2 C.  raw agave or pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 C. raw sugar
  • 1/4 C. Coconut Oil
  • 1/4 C. Almond Butter
  • 1 T. Ground Flax Seed
  • 1/2 C. Almond Milk
  • 2 t. Vanilla
  • 1 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. sea salt
  • 1/2 to 1 full C. Vegan Chocolate Chips (depending on your chocolate meter)

Method: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, oats, raw sugar, ground flax, baking powder and salt in a large bowl with a wire whisk. Cut the coconut oil and almond butter into the flour mixture. Add agave, almond milk, vanilla and chocolate chips. Stir til just combined. Press into an 8×8 pan. Bake for 20-25 minutes.  Let cool for 10-15 minutes then cut into 16 squares. 

Try to eat just one.



  1. I have been waiting for this recipe!! Seriously, a couple days ago I took out a bag of chocolate chips to make cookies, but didn’t. Today I took out chocolate chips and walnuts to make cookies, but didn’t. I was just waiting for this recipe! I’ll be adding walnuts to mine. 🙂

    1. It’s destiny! Not super sugary or heavy, but really satisfying!!! Walnuts sound like an amazing addition. I love pecans or walnuts in cookies, but my kids don’t 😦

      1. Nice Emmy! I made an adjustment or two because of typos (posting at midnight sometimes makes for delirium) hope they worked out for you) 🙂

      2. They sure did! I admit to sweetening them up a little more than the recipe calls for (and using brown sugar instead of agave, which I didn’t have), and they were good! I used my homemade applesauce and thought the flavor really came through–maybe next time I will use butterscotch chips instead and call them “caramel apple” bars. 🙂

    1. You can substitute straight across for pure maple syrup, and I know you have that! 😉 Sugar would probably be 2/3 C. but you’d have to add more liquid to the batter to keep it from being too dry.

    1. Awesome! Because when I don’t see your sweet comments on my posts, something is just missing! I’m getting too co-dependent on you….and I love it 😉 xox

      1. I have a vegan dark chocolate cake I should post… of course I need to dig it out of the box in my basement after my recent move.

        Like your cookies, the cake isn’t overly sweet. I’ve fed it to my non-vegan friends and to their surprise, they didn’t notice. I loved the shocked look on their faces. For some reason, people thing vegan is synonymous with bland and tasteless.

  2. Yummmmmmmmmy! I’m in! These look so very good – thanks Somer!! X looking forward to the potluck….of course 🙂

    1. Thanks Shira! Can’t wait for the VVP! It was sooo much fun last time! I still remember your fabulous bread post! It was one of the stars!!!

  3. You are going to get arrested for sharing your recipe for CRACK on the Internet. That’s what it looks like!! I need to spend a weekend in the kitchen swimming in some of these recipes. Somer, you make my mouth water. (BTW – cashew pepper-jack cheese is on the MENU for tomorrow. I have all the ingredients and my 10YO is begging for it. No more procrastination. It’s time!)

    1. Have I told you I love you today!?! So funny! Have fun swimming, oh and the cheez is so much easier to make then it looks. It won’t take much time. The hardest part is waiting for it to firm up in the fridge!

    2. I made them…they turned out drier than I expected, but probably because I didn’t use pastry flour (I substituted 1 c. all-purpose and 1 c. whole wheat instead). I even used homemade applesauce (cooked this morning).

      Kitchen smells fabulous and the kids are gobbling them up! I want them to be more gooey next time. Will try these again for sure. One down…

      1. Ha, I had another commenter tell me they were stinky and gooey. I really need to test this recipe again to make sure I didn’t make any typing errors. If yours are too dry, by all means, cut a couple of tablespoons of almond butter into the flour, you can also increase the apple sauce or almond milk. 🙂

      2. My applesauce is a bit thick (not as runny as store-bought). Perhaps I’ll add more of that or milk the 2nd go ’round. They are delicious though! I only have a couple of squares (I made 25 from my batch) left, and those might not last until lunchtime tomorrow.

        1. That sounds like a good idea, there is also a link in the post to the recipe I used to make, it’s sweeter and richer for more indulgent days. Thanks Shannon!

  4. I covet these bars! If I made these now I’d probably eat all of them before hubby came home from work. I have very little self control when it comes to chocolate! I need a support group or something.

  5. cool! I just discovered your blog this mofo, and I am loving all your great posts so much. 🙂 this looks like a really great recipe… a healthier dessert is definitely desirable when you want a sweetie but don’t want to totally freak out!

    1. Awesome! MOFO is crazy, I wish I had more time to see what everyone else is doing, but I can barely keep up with my own blog and the 20 stinking posts! When October is done, I want to go back through and check it all out. Thanks for the love!

    1. Do you ever worry that your recipe doesn’t live up to the hype? I mean I love these, but they’re not super sweet like most people would expect, I’ve cut out half the sugar and all the fat…. But I love them and if people try cleaner baking, maybe they’ll love them too 😉

  6. I loved these before and I love them now. Those are some of the most drool-inducing dessert photos ever! That first picture gets me every time! 🙂

    1. We nom nom nommed them to bits again yesterday. All gone! So nice when you don’t have to feel guilty about indulging in a treat. Love that you bake the same way.

    1. THANK YOU!!! Gluten free should work great, the thing I love about this recipe is that it’s versatile and the bar format somehow helps the cookies not to be crumbly.

    1. Trickery!!! I admit they DO taste healthier than regular choc chip cookies, but I’m okay with that. It allows me to get my chocolate fix without going up a dress size 😉 You missed the pea soup yesterday…. And I feel like a ratbag for calling you out on your cheesecake, frugal, it really did look amazing!

      1. Hah – yes, that’s acceptable :D. I made a chocolate delight today… not that healthy… Oh yes, the vegetarian thing… I do realise gelatine isn’t vegetarian… hence the mention of suitable substitute 🙂

        1. Aha! Sorry for my lameness, sometimes I make comments I wish I could take back! Chocolate delight sounds fabulous, it’s good to indulge Nick, I just try to save that for special occasions for health reasons 🙂

        2. p.s. would you pretty please consider entering the virtual vegan potluck, I know where you stand on the issue, but you have so many vegan and vegetarian followers that I think they would love it, including me! Shira’s in, I’m in, Cara’s in…. please 😉

                1. It’s a singular post 😉 you just pre-schedule it to go live on the day of the pot luck, you may have to do a bit of linkage. I swear it’s easy!

  7. Hi, just discovered your site today and I am very excited to try your recipes. Quick question about this one – I am allergic to nuts so I can’t have almond milk. Would rice milk work okay?

    1. Thanks Sparkles, the original recipe had coconut oil, which made it even gooier, the link is in the post if you want the ultimate version 😉

    1. Wow, that’s never happened here. Whole wheat flours do smell differently than white flours in the baking process and less sweetener certainly makes for a less sweet cookie smell. The first time I made this I used 1/2 C. raw sugar AND 1/2 C. Agave, if your cookies are too doughy, it’s possibly a measurement issue, my guess would be to add 1/4 to 1/2 C. more flour or oats and bake a little longer. Sorry they didn’t work out for you! I hate it when I take the time to bake something and don’t enjoy the results. I will test the recipe again in my kitchen today to make sure I didn’t omit anything or make any errors in this post.

    2. Corinne, I retested the cookies in my kitchen today, no stinkiness or doughiness. Blast, baking is sometimes tricky, altitude, different ovens, fresh flour and all kinds of things can affect the method. I use an oven thermometer to make sure I’ve got the right temperature because my oven can run 20-50 degrees hot. All that being said, low fat baking is not sometimes what people expect. We’re used to it here, but it does take a bit of adjustment when you may be used to full fat full sugar cookies, my final suggestion would be to try my original recipe, which uses coconut oil and a bit more sugar. You might like it better:

      Best of luck to you and I’m sorry it didn’t work out for you the first time.

    3. I imagine that the doughy-ness is from underbaking–it can be hard to hit that sweet spot between doughy and overbaked! But I’m guessing that any stinky-ness means that your whole wheat flour is rancid. Whole grains, as you probably know, can spoil quickly, and even if you bought the flour recently it’s possible that it sat around for a while before that. If your flour doesn’t smell good to start with, you might want to replace it. I hate having to do that, but it’s always better than using it! 🙂

    1. We really like it, but I realize I should provide a disclaimer, they are a healthy vegan treat and these won’t taste like Nestle Tollhouse cookies 😉 They’ll taste like a healthy vegan treat! 🙂

    1. So glad you liked them, I’ve gotten some mixed reviews. I should have written in the post that they are not quite as decadent as the photo would have you believe since the ingredients are mostly healthy, but we love them, and they are treat that I can feel good about feeding my children without blitzing them with fats and sugars 🙂

    1. OMG so good! Just made them with my daughter and they’re so yummy! I used rice milk instead of almond and it worked great. Thank you, I’ve been craving a vegan chocolate dessert!!!

      1. Yay Megan! I love hearing back from readers when they’ve tested a recipe. I’m really glad you liked these, we adore them and make them about once a week!

    1. Hey, would you consider joining the Virtual Vegan Potluck? I’m co-chair 😉 It’s November 1st, and is open to anyone who will schedule a vegan food blog post with a little linkage to the posts before and after yours in the lineup. We’d love to have you involved!
      A plus to doing it is that it drives traffic to your blog and you’ll make lots of new blogging buddies 🙂

  8. I really love this blog site! So impressive! I have wanted recipes for healthier foods and this really “fits the bill”. Thank you for all the time you put into this, the site is beautiful and I cant wait to try this brownie recipe!

    1. Oh, wow! Thank you! I hope you enjoy any recipe you make. I have a lot of fun planning, blogging and eating! It’s my passion!

        1. I am so glad you love them! I love them too!!! A friend of mine makes them with carob chips and adds a few tablespoons of carob powder to the flour mixture. Insane 🙂

  9. Sorry to teel you this, but I followed the recipe to the letter except for the raw agave, which I substituted for Quebec maple syrup. I noticed that the instructions mention to add “salt and sugar”. What sugar? It is not in the list of ingredients! Thank goodness I did not add any more sugar. I baked for 15 minutes and the bars came out very mushy to rather undercooked. A bit too sweet for my liking. Finally baked for another full 15 minutes and consistency was better. Did I miss something?

    1. Don, a few things- thanks for noticing the sugar, I’ve corrected the typo, and no there’s not any additional sugar in this recipe. (Although traditional chocolate chip cookie recipes have double or triple the amount of sweetener compared to this one) I have a few thoughts about why these came out underdone, mushy and too sweet.

      1- oven temperature: everyone’s oven is different, my oven runs 25 to 50 degrees hotter than it ought, but it also takes longer to preheat than the time on the display. I found this out when I bought an oven thermometer for bread making. I compensate accordingly in my recipes and only go by the thermometer now and not the temp on the light up display.

      2- maple syrup is much runnier than agave, your maple syrup may also be much sweeter than the agave I use. Did you use unsweetened apple sauce? Sweetness is clearly personal preference. Many may not find these sweet enough, please feel free to reduce the amount of sweetener you use in this recipe.

      3- Humidity/Altitude – Baking is finicky, I live at 4,500 ft above sea level, which I know affects my recipes. I can only record them as I test them in my kitchen. Flours react to humidity also, It sounds like if you would like to use maple syrup in this recipe, you may want to increase either the oats or the flour and if your oven is slow, a longer bake may be necessary. This recipe has been tested again and again in my kitchen with success. I’ve also specifically had a friend test it in her kitchen after another reader had issues. The recipe worked perfectly for her, but she’s at the same altitude as I am. Many others have commented above about making the recipe with success.

      I hope this helps and I’m sorry it was a flop for you. It’s always frustrating when you take the time to make something and it doesn’t turn out the way you planned. -Somer

      1. Hey nothing to feel sorry about. I find it is always fun to try new things. Thanks for the reply. I think the excessive (to my taste) sweetness comes from the chocolate chips. Of course that is always a mater of personal taste.
        Keep up the good work!

          1. Guess what? I found the error in my ways. I used whole wheat flour, not pastry flour. Oops! Much better results with the right ingredients. Oh yes. it could use less chocolate chips for my taste.
            Don D

            1. Yay Don! Thanks for giving it another try. I adore whole wheat pastry flour. It behaves so differently to regular whole wheat yet still has all the nutrients 🙂 Glad it worked out the second round! 🙂 🙂 🙂

    1. Walnuts would be delicious in this! You may win them over better with the other recipe at the top, it’s still vegan but tastes more like traditional chocolate chip cookies 🙂

  10. I’d like to refer you in my blog. Likely next week. I think people want to know more about what you have to offer. thanks for visiting We Run and Ride!

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