Vegan Fig Bars

by Gena on May 25, 2011

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When you go high raw, you get used to a couple of crucial luxuries:

  • Your kitchen is rarely hot
  • Your oven rarely sets off the fire alarm
  • Nearly everything you make can be enjoyed instantly (if you take an approach to raw foods that isn’t too focused on dehydrating)
  • A lot of your main dishes take fifteen minutes or less
  • You can afford to be relaxed about the precision of your measurements

Baking defies all of these criteria. It’s one of the reasons I have a hard time getting myself to do it.

I do, however, putting on my oven mitts on if I know that someone will appreciate the results. This includes my Mom, M, and my fellow bloggers, including Mama Pea.

See, Sarah is really good at baking things that are not only vegan and delicious, but also healthy, quick, and rich in all sorts of important nutrients. And when you’re a mother to two precious little girls, both of whom are sure to encounter their fair share of toxic media, human cruelty, and unhealthy food as they venture out into the world, setting such a balanced and humane example is important. And since Sarah was visiting New York this week, and offered generously to meet up with me while I was in the middle of packing for my big move, I decided to gift her with a little NYC welcome gift:

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…in the hopes that they would turn out to be worthy of her expert palate.

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They were. Oh so worthy.

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They are breakfast-worthy, snack worthy, dessert worthy, and if you ate them with a nutrient dense salad, I’d call them meal-worthy, too. I don’t want to pat myself on the back too obnoxiously, but these guys are really, really good. I guess I’ve learned from the best, right Sarah?

Vegan Fig Bars (vegan, GF if you use GF oats, soy free)

Makes 9

For the fig filling:

About 12 large dried figs
6 pitted medjool dates
2 tbsp agave syrup or maple syrup
2 tbsp lemon juice (or the juice of 1 large lemon)
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp brandy (if desired–NOT suitable for little peas!)

For the oat dough:

1 1/4 cup oat flour (GF if following a GF diet)
1 cup rolled oats (see above)
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 cup sucanat or natural brown sugar
*2 tbsp vanilla flavored brown rice protein powder (totally optional, but a nice way to amp up the protein if you want these bars to be a part of your breakfast)
Dash salt
2 tsps cinnamon
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup applesauce
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup coconut oil (or safflower oil)

1) Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Oil an 8 inch square baking pan and dust it with oat flour.

2) Place figs in a small pot with enough water to cover them. Bring to a boil and lower to a simmer; simmer for about five minutes. Remove figs from the pot, drain them, and place them in your food processor along with dates, lemon juice, agave or syrup, cinnamon, and brandy if using. Process until the mixture resembles a smooth fig jam.

3) Try not to eat all of said jam before you make your bars. You will be tempted. Very tempted.

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4) Mix oats, oat flour, cinnamon, salt, protein powder if using, baking powder, and sugar in a large mixing bowl.

5) Whisk together almond milk, applesauce, vanilla and oil.

6) Add wet ingredients to dry, and mix till just combined.

7) Layer half of the oat mixture into your baking pan. Using an inverted spatula or regular spatula, spread all of the fig paste on top.

8  ) Spread remaining oat mixture on top of the fig paste.

9) Bake for about 35 minutes, or until top is golden.

10) Let cool, and cut into 9 squares. Swoon.

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I was able to give these baked bars of awesome to Sarah in person last night, over dinner at Peacefood Café.

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Where I dug into raw sushi:

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A big salad:

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Some ginger fizz:

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And three hours of great conversation. And when Sarah and I came home to our respective beds—and by “bed,” I mean the mattress now resting on my floor, because my box spring is gone—we both got to dig into a fig bar. It was the perfect way to end the night.

Maybe I should bake more often.

xo

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{ 53 comments… read them below or add one }

Kristina @ spabettie May 25, 2011 at 3:35 pm

oh, these look perfect! I am craving figs again right now – haven’t had any in a while and just picked some up this morning – fresh and dried! ate a fresh one in the car on the way home… :)

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Deanna May 25, 2011 at 3:37 pm

Oooo – those look delicious! My kiddo has been asking me to come up with a healthy fig newton…. I wonder if these would do the trick for him.

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Chad @ thebreakupnote May 25, 2011 at 3:38 pm

Mama Pea really is the best, isn’t she?

These look absolutely amazing. I SO appreciate the attention to detail you’ve taken in making them SO good and SO healthy simultaneously.

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R May 25, 2011 at 3:40 pm

Those look yummy. I totally agree about the awesomeness of Mama Pea, she rocks my world, and I only get to admire her from afar! (By reading her blog, not, like, by sitting outside her house in my car. I swear. And I live in another state.)

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Carrie (Moves 'N Munchies) May 25, 2011 at 3:46 pm

oh my goodness YES YES YES! these look and sound FAB! i love me some figgies!

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Emilia @ Namaste Gurl May 25, 2011 at 3:56 pm

These look terrific- all over them! :) I absolutely love when you bake, even though you say you’re not good at it. You really, really are. And creative, too! I think i’ve made just about all of your baked goods and wasn’t disappointed with any :)

So fun you got to meet MP- knew you two would hit it off!

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Ashley May 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm

Oh wow. I can tell by the photos and the ingredient list that these bars are stellar. They look so dense + chewy!! So glad you were finally able to meet Mama Pea!! One day we will meet!! :)

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Averie (LoveVeggiesandYoga) May 25, 2011 at 4:10 pm

Wow, Gena! What an awesome recipe!!!!! Please, bake for “us” more often! They look amazing and I love how you made fig jam for them, first. And the oat mixture..I could eat crumble or crumbly topping type mixture all day and be in heaven. And oh yes, brandy in the fig recipe? Love it! You really stepped out of your usual for this one and I’m diggin it!

I do know what you mean about as a raw cook, measurements are approximate and all the other little factoids you listed. I got a kick out of them.

It sounds like you and Mama Pea had a fabulous time together even before the dessert back at your pad. How awesome for you two ladies!

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Ela May 25, 2011 at 4:15 pm

What a wonderful tribute and thank-you to her! Thank you for letting us share. I’m going to have to hop over and get to know her in person too–couldn’t ask for a better recommendation.
love
Ela

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Alayna @ Thyme Bombe May 25, 2011 at 4:31 pm

Mmmm…everything about these sounds wonderful. Love Mama Pea, how awesome that you two got to hang out and share baked goods!

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Michele May 25, 2011 at 4:39 pm

Those do look great! Thanks for the recipe!

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Mountain Girl (Eat Hike Sleep Repeat) May 25, 2011 at 4:43 pm

Positively delicious sounding. I think what I love too about so many of the recipes, is that many of the same foods/ingredients make an appearance, but in new and wonderfully different ways. I usually can scan the recipe and say, “hey, I’ve got all that”, and a baking/cooking I go. It’s almost quitting time at work. Time to spark up the oven.

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Lauren May 25, 2011 at 4:45 pm

Oh my, I love figs! These look so good!

I’m a huge Pea fan, but I rarely comment, I’m like a closetted pea fan, lol! :) her blog is great!

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Jacquelynn May 25, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Yum! Those bars look amazing! What a special night :)

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Anne P May 25, 2011 at 5:04 pm

Three letters: OMG. I need those bars in my life immediately.

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Gena May 26, 2011 at 6:50 am

OMG is right! Soooo good!

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megan @ the oatmeal diaries May 25, 2011 at 5:21 pm

That sounds like such a wonderful date! (Just realized that was a pun since I was referring to your date with Mama Pea but could also be referring to the bars! Kind of…)
Adding those bars to my to-make list STAT. :)

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Ellen May 25, 2011 at 6:32 pm

These look so great! I miss Fig newtons since going GF, so I’m excited to make these.

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Catherine May 25, 2011 at 7:39 pm

These look wonderful! I will have to try them. I haven’t said so yet, but congratulations on your move and your new adventure! Wishing you all the best.

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Gena May 26, 2011 at 6:49 am

Thanks Catherine :)

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Mama Pea May 25, 2011 at 9:56 pm

I’ve had a long exhausting day and now you’ve got me in tears. I’d have to say the biggest pleasure of this trip was the time spent with you. Can’t wait until we can do it again. :)

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Mama Pea May 25, 2011 at 9:57 pm

PS I’m eating a fig bar right now. Better than any Blossom dessert by a mile!

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Diana (Soap & Chocolate) May 26, 2011 at 9:02 am

MP, I did not bake anything for you, and for this I am sorry. I considered bringing you some of the flax crackers I made for Gena last week, but she and I share a love for toasted juice pulp that I’m pretty sure most people do not. So, for the lack of gift, you’re welcome. :)

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Jen May 25, 2011 at 10:50 pm

I’m eating gluten-free at the moment (trying to figure out a possible–and what I think is a very likely–intolerance), and I’ve only baked one recipe since making the change! What has discouraged me from trying most gluten-free recipes is the long list of flours that are often combined to make GF baked goods texturally palatable. This recipe, however, is one I’m about to bookmark! Oat flour? I can handle that! And I’ve actually been snacking on dried figs lately, so it would be fun to incorporate them into a new recipe instead of just eating them as-is. Thank you Gena! I’m really excited to bake these!

And could Mama Pea be any more gorgeous? I don’t think so.

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Gena May 26, 2011 at 6:33 am

Ha! No she couldn’t!

Good luck with the allergy determination, though do be careful not to self-diagnose unnecessarily. It happens :)

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Gina May 25, 2011 at 11:39 pm

These look incredible! I love figs so much!! Glad you and Mama Pea had a wonderful time :)

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bitt May 26, 2011 at 12:41 am

That looks like a fabulous meal with a fabulous dining partner! Maybe you can crack the code on that ginger fizz. That looks so thirst quenching.

I have had my eye on some raw fig bars in Everyday Raw Desserts. It must be that fig newton from early childhood that we are nostalgic for.

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Gena May 26, 2011 at 6:33 am

B, I’m going to try to replicate it. Meanwhile, tell me how the raw-newton goes!

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Samantha May 26, 2011 at 4:21 am

Thanks for sharing your recipe! We are attending an FRG function on Memorial Day, I’m in charge of treats, these are now on the list! I really enjoy Mama Pea’s blog and her excellent array of recipes.

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Samantha May 28, 2011 at 5:50 pm

Update: made these for tomorrow and sampled one for breakfast…SO GOOD! I ‘thought’ I had both figs and applesauce and was wrong on both accounts. I did have a bag of dried fruit that included figs (as well as apples, apricots, prunes, cherries) and used those, and pumpkin puree in place of the applesauce. They turned out wonderfully, even my finicky 5 year old gives them two grubby thumbs and a jam streaked face up!

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Fran@ Broken Cookies Don't Count May 26, 2011 at 7:34 am

You had me at Fig!! These are a must try…Thanks, Gena!!

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Kristin (Cook, Bake and Nibble) May 26, 2011 at 7:50 am

These look amazing- I’m positive they were mama pea-worthy! I think I’m going to need to try them myself, I LOVE figs!

xo

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Katie (quick cook rice) May 26, 2011 at 8:24 am

Um, YUM! Fig Newtons were one of my favorite mindless snacks back in the day. I say mindless because I could literally eat half the carton without knowing. My how times have changed.

An amazing recipe and two beautiful veggie ladies? What could be better?

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Kelsey May 26, 2011 at 8:52 am

These look absolutly delicious!! And always great to see two of my favorite bloggers together :)

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Julia May 26, 2011 at 1:59 pm

Hi Gena! These look awesome and I send you light and love for your big move. Do you think you could do these with fresh figs at all?

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Meghan @ StruggleMuffins May 26, 2011 at 3:57 pm

Be still my fig-loving heart! Mmmm.must.make.immediately.

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Cindy May 26, 2011 at 8:06 pm

I’m discovering the joys of baked breakfast bars, and your recipe look totally awesome. I love dried figs, but strangely enough I’ve never cooked with them. Thanks for sharing!

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Christine (The Raw Project) May 26, 2011 at 8:58 pm

These look wonderful, yum! I adore figs and thanks for reminding me to pick some up ASAP! :-)

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Naomi May 26, 2011 at 8:59 pm

oh I adore figs and those look absolutely phenomenal!

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McKayla @ Green Groats May 28, 2011 at 1:47 pm

Those sound just amazing! I’m imagining that they are so moist! Yes, you should bake more often.

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Jade May 29, 2011 at 12:06 am

I’m a first-time commenter, but long-time reader. I want to tell you how delicious these fig bars taste! They’re just sweet enough with the fig/date paste, while the oat topping lends a great texture! Love them!

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Cat May 29, 2011 at 9:02 pm

I baked these yesterday to bring into the office – they are wonderful! I didn’t have oat flour so I subbed in a mix of almond meal and spelt. It worked well!

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Sam (Quantum Vegan) June 7, 2011 at 8:51 am

Figs AND dates! Two of my favorites! I bet my brother would love these…he’s not much for dessert foods, but he’s the one who got me into eating dried fruit and I think he’d appreciate the combination. :)

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Diana (Soap & Chocolate) August 25, 2011 at 4:03 pm

I keep meaning to tell you, I made this recipe! FYI, I made it into muffins which turned out perfectly after 20 minutes at 350. I also took a shortcut by using TJ’s fig butter instead of making my own fig filling. Blasphemy, I know, but the TJ’s version had similar ingredients (and w/o any sketchy additions, thankfully) and it meant I turned these muffins out in no time at all, ready in single servings for me to take with me on teaching days when I need the fuel. Someday I’ll make them again when I have the time for the homemade filling.

Thanks, G!

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Remy January 22, 2012 at 9:22 pm

Gena, just a quick note to say that I made these bars tonight (with the substitution of quinoa flakes and rice flour for the rolled oats and flour, and with the addition of molasses). They were phenomenal.

I am really enjoying all your recipes (even though this is from awhile back). Thanks so much!

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Connie Fletcher April 14, 2012 at 9:16 am

These are in the oven right now….and I am so excited!!! I didn’t read all the comments, but I didn’t throw the figgy water out….I am soaking buckwheat sprouts and more rolled oats (tomorrow’s breakfast)…DELISH!!! Thanks for this recipe…by the way, I’m glad you warned me not to eat all the figgy jam…..can I say…YUM-A-LISH-OUS!!!!!! Thank you so much for this recipe…really…and I’m jealous of where you get to go eat!!!! Peacefood type places don’t exist in Vermont!!!

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Connie Fletcher April 14, 2012 at 9:18 am

By the by…good luck in school!!! There is a MONSTER-BIG need for nutritionally based physicians in this world!!! I can’t wait til you’re done with all your education…let us know where you set up your practice!!!

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Luv What You Do April 14, 2012 at 1:35 pm

Those look addictingly good!
I am saving that recipe to make soon!

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Ragnhild April 27, 2012 at 3:12 pm

I just made these to bring to work tomorrow :) They look (and smell) amazing :)

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marla latinakova May 23, 2012 at 8:05 pm

I have been looking for a recipe like this for ages. Can’t wait to give them a try!

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Molly October 25, 2012 at 2:33 pm

These are currently in the oven, Gena, and they smell fantastic! My omni dad just loves every baked good I make from your site.

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nouna January 15, 2013 at 7:25 pm

I would ♥ a raw version of this!

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mandi May 31, 2013 at 2:28 pm

these are GENIOUS. I just made them, doubled the recipe, and added in a cup of ground cashews & hemp seeds… and topped with a crumble of coconut oil + oats + coconut flakes during the last few minutes of cooking. I also didn’t have brandy on hand but used aromatic bitters instead and it added a nice “spiced” taste to the filling!
Thanks for this recipe! :)

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