Blackberry Bars

Figures that the week I teach about the harmful effects of too much (refined) sugar, I go on a sweet binge.

And then was too embarrassed to post about it for fear that you might think I am a.) crazy, b.) cruel, and c.) don’t deserve to be called a health coach anymore.

I blame Pinterest.

It started innocently enough. I was looking for a new recipe for dinner. Which proved to be a bit harder than originally anticipated. Because clearly the only thing worth pinning is desserts.

I mean, why on earth would anyone want to pin healthy and satisfying recipes? I. just. don’t. know.

While I was searching for (ahem) dinner recipes, I came across a delightful recipe for raspberry breakfast bars from Smitten Kitchen. They sounded harmless enough. I mean, they even had the word breakfast in the title. They had to be at least somewhat healthy right?


And even if they’re not, they are supremely delicious and worth pretending.


Blackberry Bars

Blackberry Bars a la Smitten Kitchen.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 8 -12


For the crust and crumb:

  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups rolled oats
  • 3/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup 1 1/2 sticks Earth Balance, cut into 1-inch pieces

For the raspberry filling:

  • 1/4 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
  • 1 tbs grated lemon zest
  • 2 tbs whole wheat flour
  • 1 pound blackberries fresh or frozen
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 2 tbs Earth Balance melted and cooled


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9-by-13-inch glass or light-colored metal baking pan. Put a long piece of parchment paper in the bottom of the pan, letting the parchment extend up the two short sides of the pan and overhang slightly on both ends. Grease the parchment.
  3. Put the flour, brown sugar, oats, salt, baking powder, and baking soda in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until combined. Add the Earth Balance and pulse until loose crumbs form.
  4. Reserve 1 1/2 cup of the mixture and set aside.
  5. Pour the rest of the mixture into the prepared pan and use your hands to push the crust into an even layer at the bottom of the pan.
  6. Bake until golden brown, 12 to 15 minutes.
  7. Transfer to a wire rack and let the crust cool. Keep the oven on while you make the filling.
  8. In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar and flour together.
  9. Add the raspberries, lemon juice and butter and use your hands to toss until the blackberries are evenly coated. Feel free to mash a few of the blackberries to make the filling more jam-like.
  10. Spread the blackberry filling evenly on top of the cooled crust.
  11. Sprinkle the reserved crust mixture evenly on top of the filling.
  12. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, rotating the pan every 15 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the filling starts to bubble around the edges.
  13. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then cut into squares and serve.
  14. Hide one or two in a safe place so that no one else gets their grubby little paws on them.

Allergen Information

Nightshade free, dairy free, egg free, and soy free.
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Written by

Emily Levenson is learning to trust her gut all over again. She is committed to listening to AND following the nuggets of wisdom her gut has been dishing out for decades. You can follow Emily's journey here on the blog, through the Nourish + Flourish podcast, and through her posts on Instagram.

7 comments / Add your comment below

  1. haha I totally know what you mean about pinterest desserts!! I do sometimes pin savoury and healthy meals but tend to get suckered in by the pretty sugary treats 🙂 This looks delicious!

    1. earth balance is a vegan buttery spread (vegan margarine). you can always sub real butter (if you’re not avoiding it) or oil in place of earth balance if you can’t find a suitable alternative. hope that helps!

  2. Oh this looks heavenly! My friend and I are teaming up to host a pin party and want the foods there to be vegan (she’s a veggie) and low carb (for me) and I think I can work with this. I may just have to have a small bite. I am wondering, have you tried this/do you know if it would work with coconut oil rather than the earth balance? I would love to make this, but I just don’t have that, and I am hoping to use ingredients I have around the house. (Also, I don’t want to have to make a test batch to see as I know I will end up eating the whole pan) Thanks for any advise/ideas here. =)

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