Sugar-Free, Bake-Free, Gluten-Free Brownies…and they’re actually good!

I won’t lie to you.  When I saw a recipe for these vegan no-bake brownies I thought “what are the odds that this is going to be good?”  I had already bet on a vegan no-bake dessert the night before (Chocolate mousse made with tofu and agave) and lost.

So tonight again, I wanted something a little sweet, but I wanted something without sugar so it would be healthier and guilt-free too.  I bought some dates because I know these are used a lot in baking to replace sugar and add moistness like in oil or butter in desserts.

no-bake brownies

These moist, sweet little gems have no oil and no sugar

I was pleasantly surprised.  They were very good, satisfied my sweet tooth, and I didn’t have to wait for them to cool.  The only down side is, there is no batter bowl to lick.

The recipe calls for Medjool dates which are a specific kind of date that is very large.  You can find these at most grocery stores.  I, being the observant person that I am, chose the regular dates, not the Medjool, but they worked fine.  After reading the story supplied  in the link for Medjool dates above, I will buy them next time as they are supposed to have a more tender “caramel-like” texture and flavor– far above that of the ordinary date.  So if you can find them, indulge.


  • 1 cup walnuts (unsalted)
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/8 tsp kosher or sea salt
  • 1 1/4 cup dates (preferably about 12 Medjool dates)
  • 1/4 cup almonds (unsalted) crushed or chopped
  • food processor
  1. Remove pits from dates if not already done.  If you are using whole almonds, place them in a plastic bag and whack them with a heavy spoon or the like.
  2. Place the walnuts in the food processor and process on high until the nuts are finely ground
  3. Add 1/2 cup cocoa powder and 1/8 tsp salt.  Pulse to combine
  4. Turn on the food processor.  As the processor is running, add the dates, one at a time.  Once all the dates have been added, the mixture should be crumbly but easily formable. (if you process it long enough it may form a ball)  Throw almonds in the mix and pulse to combine.  (if ball has formed, you can mix the almonds in in a bowl)

    brownie batter

    the batter will look crumbly, but will form easily

  5. Form the brownies:  Line an 8 x 8 inch square pan with wax paper and press mix into desired thickness.  The batter will be moist and oily.  If the mix doesn’t reach to all ends of the pan, just form it as you want.  You can also press them into mini-muffin tin forms (as I did).  Place in the fridge or freezer 5 to 10 minutes to firm up.  They are easily cut when cold.  You could also form into balls like truffles and roll in cocoa powder if you want a more festive look.

You can dust with cinnamon if you like.

Makes 12 mini muffins Serving size: 1 brownie
Nutrition:  Calories: 151,  Fat: 8g,  Carbs: 21 g,  Protein: 3g, Fiber: 3g, Iron: 5.8% RDA  Calcium: 4.4% RDA
For a more “cake-like experience” check out these chocolate beet-root cupcakes with no-butter buttercream frosting!

Categories: cooking, gluten free recipes, health, healthy recipes, vegan recipes, vegetarian recipes

Tags: , , , , , ,

10 replies

  1. I’m definitely trying this recipe even though I’m not sure I’ll get those dates variety here, but will let you know if it’s a success. I love love love love love love love brownies and to get the guilt free variety, what more can a girl ask for 😉

  2. Actually, it seems like I don’t need to bake to make this brownie, right? I just should get dates!

  3. I love brownies but I have never tried such a guilty-free brownies before. Unique recipe! I’d love to bake one someday when I get the new oven! (I live without the oven for 1 year. Not fun at all as I can’t bake)

  4. I am still a bit confused about gluten. Always wondered exactly why it’s bad for us. I know that when I’ve had food with gluten in it I feel bloated, but I don’t quite know exactly why.

    But these brownies look yum 🙂

    • Gluten isn’t “bad” per se. Fo some with celiac disease, the body thinks the gluten is a foreign object and their body actually starts reacting to it with a long list of symptoms.

      Gluten for the non-celiac diagnosed person, can sometimes just be hard to digest. It stays longer than it’s supposed to in the intestines causing gas, bloating, and elimination issues.

      If you don’t react to it, there’s nothing stopping you from eating it, but some don’t even realize it’s the gluten that causes their issues. The celiac association estimates 1 in 133 people have digestive issues with gluten.

      I liked this recipe because it is pure with whole ingredients and there’s no sugar–refined or otherwise (other than the natural sugar in the dates) Being gluten free just expanded the audience base 🙂

  5. Ooh this sounds interesting, I’ve never tried using dates in my baking before!
    They look yummy 🙂


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