No bake brownies made with dates, walnuts and cocoa powder. They’re vegan, grain-free, gluten-free and free of refined sugar.
Oh brownies! I remember making a batch for my family one summer. I was probably in middle school and thought I was going to be the family favorite once the brownies were done. My mom comes in the house (probably from mowing the grass or watering flowers, our kitchen is blazing hot and of course she’s wondering why in the world I would use the oven on this sauna of a summer day.
I wouldn’t say I’m scarred from that experience, but rather made a mental note… I definitely think twice every time I turn on the oven in the summer months and I’ve come to love no bake treats.
So let me introduce you to these healthy no bake brownies. Did you catch that? You don’t have to bake them! So if you don’t believe in using your oven in the summer heat, you can still enjoy your sweet treats!
These brownies can be made with real food ingredients — there is no flour, sugar, or butter but don’t be fooled, they’re packed with flavor. And they’re so easy! Of course, I’m adding a little vanilla and sea salt but the base of this recipe is literally only three simple ingredients — dates, walnuts and cocoa powder. If you want them to take the shape of an actual brownie, press them into a pan and cut into squares. If you want to easily portion them out and create brownie bites, roll them into balls!
These no bake brownies are the perfect dessert to bring to a potluck or cookout but they also work great as a meal prep snack option to keep in the fridge to snack on throughout the week.
That said, you’ll see I’m sharing the nutrition facts for these brownies and I share this info for all my recipes because sometimes healthy eating can be confusing. Yes, these brownies made with real food. They are vegan, gluten-free and free of refined sugar so they’re likely more filling than a traditional brownie, but they certainly aren’t low in sugar or calories. They’re definitely still meant to be a treat.
I know for me when I first started with my healthy eating journey I used to fall into the trap of thinking that if a food was vegan or gluten-free that it was “healthier” and inevitably I took that to mean that I could eat more. Not the best mindset considering most healthy treat recipes are just as calorie dense and sugary as the traditional version — sometimes even more. Just something to be mindful of.
So what do you think? Does using your oven in the summer heats up your house too much? Or are you an unapologetic baker year round?
Real food brownies made with dates, walnuts and cocoa powder. Gluten-free, grain-free, dairy-free and vegan!
1 1/2 cup walnuts + extra for topping*
2 cups pitted medjool dates
4 Tablespoons cacao (or cocoa) powder
1 teaspoon vanilla extra
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 Tablespoon chocolate chips or dark chocolate, melted with 1/2 teaspoon coconut oil (optional)
Add walnuts, dates, walnuts, cacao powder, vanilla, and salt in a food processor. Process until completely mixture is well combined and sticking together. If the mixture isn’t sticking together well, add a little water starting with 1-2 teaspoons. Process again and add more water if needed. The amount of water needed will vary based on the dryness of your dates.
Line a dish loaf pan with parchment paper. Transfer brownie batter from the food processor to the loaf pan and press dough firmly into dish with your hands until dough is evenly distributed. I like covering the exposed dough with extra parchment while doing this to keep my hands from sticking.
Once dough is evenly distributed, press pieces of walnuts into the top of the brownies. If you want a chocolate drizzle, melt chocolate chips with coconut oil and drizzle over brownies.
Place loaf pan in the fridge to allow the brownies (and chocolate drizzle) to set up for 20-30 minutes. Remove from fridge, cut into 8 pieces and enjoy. Store any leftovers in the fridge.