Healthy Recipes: Apricot-Walnut Cereal Bars

Crisp and chewy, this bar is a good-for-you alternative to store-bought cereal bars. The secret ingredient, silken tofu, will give your day a protein-packed start. The recipe also works with other fruit-and-nut combinations.

 Yield: 16 servings

Total Time: 2 hours (including cooling time)

Prep Time: 30 minutes

To Make Ahead: Individually wrap in plastic and keep at room temperature for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 1 month. Thaw at room temperature or remove plastic, wrap in a paper towel and defrost according to your microwave’s directions.

Recipe Ingredients:

  1. 3 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  2. 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (about 2 ounces)
  3. 3 cups unsweetened puffed-grain cereal, such as Kashi
  4. 2 cups chopped dried apricots
  5. 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 12 ounces silken tofu, drained (about 1 1/3 cups)
  8. 1 large egg
  9. 1/2 cup canola oil
  10. 1 cup honey
  11. 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  12. 2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest

Recipe Steps:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat a large (15 1/4-by-10 1/4-inch) jellyroll-style pan with cooking spray.
  2. Spread oats and walnuts on a baking sheet with sides. Bake until fragrant and light golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl and add puffed cereal, dried apricots, flour and salt; stir to combine.
  3. Meanwhile, puree tofu, egg, oil, honey, vanilla and lemon zest in a food processor or blender until smooth, scraping down the sides as needed. Make a well in the center of the oat mixture; fold in the tofu mixture until combined. Spread evenly in the prepared pan.
  4. Bake until firm in the center and golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before cutting into bars with a sharp knife.

Recipe Nutrition:

Per serving: 306 calories; 12 g fat (1 g saturated fat, 5 g mono unsaturated fat); 13 mg cholesterol; 46 g carbohydrates; 6 g protein; 3 g fiber; 87 mg sodium; 367 mg potassium

© 2009 Photo: Ken Burris