These vegan strawberry crumble bars are loosely adapted from my date squares, with almond butter acting as the binder instead of flax to make a PB&J twist. The bars are very lightly sweetened and full of healthy oats so if you feel like having one for breakfast, you go for it.
I recommend using ripe seasonal berries for the filling, or excellent frozen berries, as you’ll really need their natural sweetness and stronger flavour compared to out of season fruit. The base and topping are crunchy, a little bit rich, and gluten-free thanks to rolled oats and oat flour.
Ingredient Notes and Substitutions
- Nut butter: use almond butter for a slightly more neutral taste, or peanut butter for a kind of PB&J bar. Sunflower seed butter is a good nut-free substitution.
- Rolled oats: quick-cook oats can be used in a pinch, but steel-cut won’t work.
- Coconut sugar: you can sub plain sugar, but you’ll lose that slight caramel taste.
- Coconut oil: I’m sure butter or a butter alternative can be used, but I haven’t tested this. It must be a fat that’s solid at room temperature.
The jam filling will seem too runny, but don’t worry! It does thicken as it bakes, but you need to be sure that it’s reached the bubbling stage – look for the mixture bubbling slightly around the edges once it’s baked.
For the best looking bars, wait until it’s fully cooled before slicing. It does taste good warm but you’ll get slightly messier bars.
How to Store
Storage: place the bars in a sealed container and refrigerate for 3-4 days. They don’t keep very well at room temperature.
Freezing: freeze in a single layer. Once frozen, transfer to an airtight container and store for up to three months.
- Make the oat flour: if you can’t make your own oat flour, use slightly less store-bought, as it’s more finely ground. I do find that the recipe is much better with homemade oat flour.
- Sweeten to taste: any added sugar in the filling is optional, and you probably won’t need it if using seasonal berries.
- Don’t skip the lemon: this little bit of acid helps to preserve the colour of the strawberry jam as well as giving it a better flavour.
More Seasonal Strawberry Recipes
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Strawberry Jam Crumble Bars
Oat base and crumble
- 2 cups rolled oats ground into a coarse flour*
- 100 grams rolled oats
- 70 grams coconut sugar
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 80 grams coconut oil melted
- 35 grams nut butter runny
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 600 grams ripe strawberries
- 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder or cornstarch
- Juice of half a lemon
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup optional
Oat base and crumble
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) and line a square 20 cm square (8 inch) baking tin with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, combine the oat flour and oats, coconut sugar, and salt. Add the coconut oil, almond butter, and vanilla and stir until everything has been incorporated and it holds together when pressed. Reserve one third of this mixture for the topping.2 cups rolled oats, 100 grams rolled oats, 70 grams coconut sugar, 1/4 teaspoon sea salt, 80 grams coconut oil, 35 grams nut butter, 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- Evenly crumble the remaining oat mixture into the prepared baking pan, and press firmly with your hands to make the base. You can use a small rolling pin or wet hands to make an even layer.
- Add the strawberry mixture and spread it over the base layer. Crumble the reserved oat mixture over the strawberry filling. Bake at 180°C (350°F) for 35-40 minutes, or until golden.
- Cool fully in the tin before removing and slicing into bars. Store in the refrigerator or freezer.
- Place the strawberries in a shallow bowl (you might have to do this in two batches) and mash them with a fork. It doesn't need to be perfectly smooth. Stir in the arrowroot, lemon juice, and maple syrup (if using). Alternatively, use an immersion blender to mix. It will thicken as it bakes and turn into jam.600 grams ripe strawberries, 2 teaspoons arrowroot powder, Juice of half a lemon, 1 tablespoon maple syrup
This post was first published in July 2016. It has been updated with no changes to the recipe as of January 2023.