These no bake Mixed Berry Paleo Granola Bars are loaded with nuts + freeze dried berries for an easy to make, tasty snack. They're gluten, grain and dairy free, sweetened with honey and have a perfect crunch. Make for an afternoon snack, pack for school lunches or have some for dessert!
Have you ever tried to make dried fruit on your own at home? Because if you have, and you've had success, can you please help me out and tell me your secret? When I first decided to make a granola bar with berries, I wanted to add in dried fruit to it. Everything in the stores had sugar in it and I just wanted some plain dried berries. I took some blueberries and raspberries home with me, turned my oven on to a low temp and baked them for hours. And you know what? They turned out like total trash.
Aside from making a rookie mistake of not trying the blueberries first, which were super tart, my berries definitely didn't dry right. When I actually formed the bars, the blueberries were absurdly large in the bars while the raspberries had pretty much broken down throughout the granola bar. The raspberries spread around were actually a great balance of flavor between the nuts, but the blueberries just weren't working. We still ate every single bar after picking out the blueberries, but I knew I need to go back to the drawing board for this one. The home made dried fruit just wasn't cutting it.
My next attempt at these bars came out beautifully. The base for these grain free granola bars is similar to my recipe for the Best Ever Grain Free Granola Bars, but this time I used a combination of pecans, walnuts, cashews and almonds. You can use that same combination or mix it up with other nuts and seeds. It should turn out just as well that way. I didn't want to much spice for these bars because the berries need to be the star, so I limited the cinnamon and added in a bit of vanilla extract to pair with the honey and tiny amount of coconut sugar.
This time for the berries I opted to use freeze dried blueberries and freeze dried raspberries which had a better flavor and consistency throughout the bars. I broke some down in the food processor and turned others into smaller pieces using a meat tenderizer to see if either option was better and it really wasn't. Either way, they are going to flow nicely through the pieces and hold together well. Once I had these granola bars shaped onto the baking sheet, I popped them right into my freezer for an hour before moving them to my fridge. You can chill them entirely in your fridge but I'm super impatient and really wanted to eat them soooo we did freezer first to set it up. When you cut them, use a sharp knife and push the entire blade straight down. If you try to cut it like you would slice bread, you'll end up breaking the bars apart. Store your bars in the fridge or freezer airtight. I recommend putting single serve ziplocs into the freezer so you can grab one out in the AM and have it thaw in time for your morning snack or lunch.