Healthy No-Bake Brownies (Vegan, Gluten Free)

Satisfy that sugar craving with these guilt free no-bake brownies. 

My affair with food has existed possibly since birth. My earliest memories include peppering a bowl of mashed potatoes with my grandmother, and adding in some shredded cheese to embellish it a little more. All the books I enjoyed reading referenced food in some way. The only Amelia Bedelia book I remember was when Amelia made strawberry tarts. The only Arthur narrative I recall involves D.W. being a picky eater.

I like good food (obviously, who doesn’t), and I only post my favorite recipes on this blog. While I do believe that healthy food can be tasty, in regards to dessert, it’s not always easy to find a dish that checks both boxes. My quest during the past couple months has been to develop tasty, healthy dessert recipes as I’d like to try and reduce the amount of sugar in my diet. Sugar is great once in a while, but not when you’re gouging it day in day out.

I gave these no-bake brownies to a couple friends, and the reaction was- do these really have no sugar? No chocolate? No butter? How?

Satisfy that sugar craving with these healthy no-bake brownies. Raw, vegan, gluten-free and guilt-free.

How indeed.

A combination of dates, cacao powder and nuts glazed with a coconut oil-cacao ganache yields a rich, chocolatey product.

no-bake chocolate brownies

Although these don’t taste exactly like traditional butter and sugar based brownies (totally different ingredients), they are chewy, rich, full of chocolate and a great way to satisfy that sugar craving.

Now this recipe is made purely from nuts, so it isn’t cheap. But it lasts quite a while and can be served in small portions. Also, you can get a way with substituting many of the ingredients  based on what you have at home, so you may not need to go out and buy a ton of stuff.

Substitution Ideas:

  • Coconut oil (if you can, use a flavorless, odorless variety) can be replaced with butter (if you aren’t vegan) or vegan butter – just remember that the alternatives aren’t quite as healthy.
  • Raw cacao powder can be subbed with cocoa powder (although I believe raw cacao powder is more unrefined and better f0r you).
  • Nuts- I use walnuts and almonds. You can either use all walnuts, all almonds or whatever other nut you like such as pecans. Just take note that the flavor of these will be different than mine.
  • Dates- soft dates such as Medjool work best for this recipe. If you use dry dates, soak them in hot water to soften them up, you may need a little extra if the mixture is too dry.
  • Agave syrup– can be replaced by honey (if you aren’t vegan), date syrup or maple syrup.

Satisfy that sugar craving with these healthy no-bake brownies. Raw, vegan, gluten-free and guilt-free.

No-Bake Brownies (Raw, Vegan, Gluten-Free)

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nuts (I use half walnuts (50 g) and half almonds (75 g) but any nut you like is fine!)
  • 6 tbsp (30 g) raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • 1 tbsp chia seeds (optional)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup (225 g) soft dates (such as Medjool) pitted*
  • 2-4 tbsp almonds, roughly chopped (for crunch) + more for garnish  (optional)
For the chocolate ganache frosting:
  • 2 tbsp raw cacao powder or cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp coconut oil, melted
  • 1 tbsp agave nectar or any other sweetener (for a sweeter ganache, use 2 tbsp syrup)

Directions:

  1. In a high-quality food processor, add your nuts, cacao powder or cocoa powder, chia seeds and salt.
  2. Blitz the ingredients together until you're left with a mixture that resembles the likes of sand.
  3. Add the dates and continue to blitz until the mixture comes together in a ball. If you find that the mixture is too dry, you can add a date or two more. If you find the mixture too sticky, blitz up a couple more nuts and add it to the date-nut mixture, until you are able to touch the dough without it sticking to your fingers.
  4. Spoon the dough out onto a piece of parchment paper or greased foil and press it into a large square about 1/2 an inch thick.
  5. Press the 2-4 tbsp of extra roughly chopped almonds into the square and let it chill slightly while making the glaze.
  6. To make the glaze, combine the cacao powder/cocoa powder, the melted coconut oil and the agave nectar until your result is a moderately thin, glossy glaze.
  7. Let the glaze harden in the fridge or at room temperature, stirring every now and then till it resembles a thick chocolate frosting. If it firms up too much, you can place it in the microwave for about 5 seconds and then stir to combine.
  8. Spread the glaze atop the raw brownie square and garnish with more almonds.
  9. Cut the brownie into 16-25 pieces (these are rich, and a little goes a long way).
  These bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 2 weeks, and last about a month in the fridge.
*If you can only find dry dates, soak them in boiling hot water for about 10 minutes before using, till soft. *You could also roll the mixture into balls and coat with cacao powder or coconut flakes to create energy balls.
The original "control" recipe for these brownies comes from one of my favorite vegan blogs, The Minimalist Baker

Satisfy that sugar craving with these healthy no-bake brownies. Raw, vegan, gluten-free and guilt-free.