Weeknight Cooking

Bulk Bin Snack Bars

September  8, 2014

For those nights when you get home hungry, stressed, and impatient, Hangry is here to help. Each Monday, Kendra Vaculin will share quick, exciting meals that anyone can make -- whether you're in your first apartment or feeding a hangry family.

Today: A sticky, satisfying snack made from the assorted goods you shoveled into a bag from the bulk bins at your local supermarket.

Shop the Story

I love supermarkets, but I feel unbridled adoration for bulk bin aisles especially. There is something very satisfying about scooping stuff into bags (see also: pick-and-mix candy stores, my truest love and biggest weakness). Something about getting exactly the amount of an ingredient that you need, so you don’t end up with 7/8 of a box of nutritional yeast that sits in your pantry for all of eternity. Something about 15 types of raisins in a row. Something about paying absurdly less for quinoa than the same amount available in a pre-packaged box. I imagine it is the general store, and for this pound of almonds that I shoveled from a barrel I am trading in a live chicken. Probably that is not historically accurate, but this is a daydream I am having in Whole Foods, frozen in front of the dried mango with a scooper in my hand, deep in reverie, naming my imaginary horse. Anachronism is the least of my concerns.

For example, maybe I should get out of everyone's way.

Also, it is possible that I just need a snack.

More: If you have more of a salty-tooth than a sweet-tooth, make this snack -- no recipe required.

One trip to your nearest bulk bin aisle is all you need to make these addictively crunchy bars, and it takes very little time to turn a shopping basket full of twist-tied bags into a snack you can feel good about. The recipe is endlessly adaptable, so if you’re not down with cherries, all 15 types of raisins are fair game. Try not to eat all of the sticky mixture straight from the bowl. 

Bulk Bin Snack Bars

Makes 20 bars

1 1/2 cups oats
3/4 cup whole almonds
1/2 cup dried cherries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup pepitas
1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
1/4 cup shelled sunflower seeds
1/3 cup ground flax seed
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1 cup almond butter

See the recipe (and save and print it) here.

What's your favorite after-work or after-school snack? Tell us in the comments!

Photos by Mark Weinberg

Order now

A New Way to Dinner, co-authored by Food52's founders Amanda Hesser and Merrill Stubbs, is an indispensable playbook for stress-free meal-planning (hint: cook foundational dishes on the weekend and mix and match ‘em through the week).

Order now

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • Jennifer Maestas
    Jennifer Maestas
  • Chava Nesher
    Chava Nesher
  • heather watten
    heather watten
  • Kate@Babaganosh
  • Stacey Snacks
    Stacey Snacks
A fan of female driven comedies, a good beat, your hair today, and making foods for friends.


Jennifer M. March 11, 2015
These are fantastical. I swap different nuts, seeds, nut butters (salted and unsalted/raw and roasted) in depending on what is in my pantry at the moment. And so easy.
Chava N. December 1, 2014
Are the nuts and seeds all raw and unsalted or can you use roasted ones too?
heather W. October 6, 2014
Perfect thank you gift: rolled into 1.5oz balls & put in mini cupcake liners. Calling them "the 3-bite beauties!"
Kate@Babaganosh September 8, 2014
This is awesome. I love granola bars that have EVERYTHING - no need to choose between which flavors you want.
Stacey S. September 8, 2014
Just made them w/ peanut butter, dried cherries, oats, walnuts, pistachios and almonds. So easy and so delicious!!!
Faith H. September 8, 2014
Yum! These look so good! Can't wait to try them!
Darcie S. September 8, 2014
Any suggestions on what gluten free grain to substitute in for oats? Gluten free oats seem to turn to mush under every circumstance.
Kendra V. September 8, 2014
I used gf oats actually (Bob's Red Mill <3 <3), and they held up!
Darcie S. September 8, 2014
Thanks Kendra. Bob's GF oats are what I normally use. I'll give them a try for this recipe.
Leslie B. September 9, 2014
gluten free oats are no different than regular oats, aside from the fact that they are shielded from cross-contamination. usually oats are planted close to wheat fields or other gluten-containing crops.
Darcie S. September 9, 2014
No one is arguing that fact. It's harder to find rolled gluten free oats. And the cross contamination is actually during the processing stage, not what they're grown next to.
Allyn September 8, 2014
The bulk bins are one of the ways we can afford to shop at Whole Foods. We buy multiple items every week. Best discovery ever. I use them to make our homemade granola (http://girlnamedallyn.wordpress.com/2014/05/27/the-best-nut-free-granola/)