Amazing Blueberry Pie Bars with an irresistible shortbread crust. Made with walnuts, oats, and coconut sugar, the whole family will love this treat!
It’s a crumble! It’s a shortbread! It’s a buttery, oaty, nutty pie-like creation in bar form with mounds of juicy blueberries sent straight from the heavens.
Because I just cannot and will not stop with the summery fruit treats.
Believe me when I say that this recipe is mind-bogglingly good. I was rather shocked by the first bite. Jeff first sank his teeth into one and let out the longest “mmmmmmm” I’ve heard in quite a while. He is very used to trying new recipes and that is not his typical reaction!
When I first conceptualized these bars, I wanted to make an epically thick shortbread crust but with a wee bit less butter and more walnuts. Because walnuts are so naturally buttery and flavorful, they make the most perfect addition to the crust and crumble topping.
Let’s chat about what makes these beauties really shine!
Blueberries: tons of fresh blueberries for a thick middle layer.
Old-fashioned oats: for classic texture and cookie-like flavor.
California walnuts: raw walnuts add rich, buttery flavor, which gets even better after toasting in the oven. I love that they’re bursting with heart-healthy*, satiating fats for staying power.
Whole wheat flour: for some extra fiber! All-purpose flour works great, too.
Coconut sugar: tastes similar to brown sugar but is less refined. You could use brown sugar if you prefer.
Butter: we’re going back to basics with good ol’ fashioned butter for that irresistible shortbread flavor. We are, however, using less than typical recipes thanks to nature’s buttery walnuts. I like salted butter here for even more flavor.
Vanilla extract: for extra pie flavor.
Lemon zest and juice: I love the subtle zing this adds to the filling!
* Research shows that eating 1.5 ounces of walnuts per day, as part of a low saturated fat and low cholesterol diet and not resulting in increased caloric intake, may reduce the risk of coronary heart disease. (FDA) One ounce of walnuts offers 18g of total fat, 2.5g of monounsaturated fat, 13g of polyunsaturated fat including 2.5g of alpha-linolenic acid – the plant-based omega-3.
Health Benefits of Walnuts
Where do we even begin? Eating unsaturated fats like those found in walnuts, salmon, extra virgin olive oil and avocados has been shown to provide a slew of health benefits.
Walnuts are made mostly of polyunsaturated fatty acids(13g/oz) whereas most nuts contain primarily monounsaturated fatty acids.
That’s why walnuts are the only nut that has a significant source of plant-based omega-3’s (2.5 grams of ALA per 1 ounce serving!). Although more research is needed, omega-3 ALA has been associated with benefits for inflammation and heart health. Woop woop!
From plant-powered protein (4g/oz) to filling fiber (2g/oz), including walnuts in meals and snacks is an easy and tasty way to add satisfying nutrients to your diet each and every day. It’s not hard when you’re getting your walnut fix via blueberry pie bars, am I right?
But wait, there’s more. Eating walnuts may also help to significantly reduce total and LDL cholesterol and triglycerides.
You’ve got questions and I’ve got answers!
To make this recipe gluten free: Swap the wheat flour for your favorite all-purpose gluten free baking flour and make sure your oats are certified gluten free.
To make this recipe dairy-free: Use a non-dairy buttery stick versus real butter.
To use frozen blueberries: I have only made these with fresh, but I think they’ll work just fine with frozen.
To double the recipe. This can easily be doubled and baked in a 9×13-inch baking pan. The bars will be a bit thicker.
Dare I say these blueberry crumble bars get even better with age? I adore them straight out of the fridge. You can store leftover bars in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to six days.
In the bowl of a food processor, pulse together oats, flour, walnuts, sugar, baking powder and salt until walnuts and oats are broken down. Add butter plus 1 tbsp of water and pulse until mixture forms a crumbly dough that sticks together when you press it with your fingers.
Press 2/3 of the dough into prepared baking dish. Bake for 10 minutes.
Make filling by mixing blueberries, flour, sugar, lemon juice and zest, and vanilla in a medium mixing bowl. Spoon filling evenly onto the pre-baked crust layer and use the back of the spoon to gently press mixture onto the crust (this helps them stick together).
Sprinkle remaining dough on top of the berries. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the bars are just golden.
Let bars cool completely (and ideally refrigerate for a couple hours, until chilled) before cutting into bars. I let mine refrigerate overnight before slicing. They will get more solid as they chill, but if you want to dive in right away while warm, they’ll be more crisp-like!
TO MAKE GLUTEN FREE: Use all-purpose gluten free flour and certified gluten free oats.
TO MAKE DAIRY FREE: Use a non-dairy butter stick substitute.
TO STORE: Store cooled bars in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to six days.
This post is sponsored by California Walnuts,but all opinions are my own. Thanks for supporting the brands that make Hummusapien possible!