vegan nanaimo bars (no added sugar, no bake, paleo, gluten free)

 

Last week I shared with you a no-added sugar brownie recipe that is a certified crowd please. Today I’m sharing one of my childhood favorites at Christmas time – naniamo bars. They are a Canadian thing that should take the world by storm and are named after Nanaimo, British Columbia which is on Vancouver Island. BTW…Vancouver and Vancouver Island are two must see destinations if you like to travel. But I digress…

These vegan nanaimo bars almost brought me to tears. The first time because I nailed the recipe which doesn’t always happen. The second time because I rushed the chilling process and they turned into a gooey mess when I wanted to photograph them (I forgot the first time). These pictures were my third time making and you can better believe I was praying hard they would turn out. They did. #happydance

The original nanaimo bar recipe is packed with sugar and dairy, so cue the makeover team (me) to turn them into no added sugar, vegan nanaimo bars. Which are paleo-friendly and gluten free to boot.

Let’s break it down, shall we?

 

The base: Regular nanaimo bars have a cookie-crumb base layer. This was the easiest layer to duplicate for the vegan, no added sugar option thanks to dates, almonds and coconut.

The custard layer: The traditional recipe is a custard flavor icing so it’s packed with sugar and dairy. This was the hardest layer to replicate for these vegan nanaimo bars but with a few savvy substitutions and a prayer, it turned out better than I anticipated. Yeah for a recipe win!

The top layer: Instead of melting chocolate and drizzling it over top, I chose to whip up a no-added sugar version that doesn’t harden like in the traditional recipe but gives you creamy chocolate goodness to sink your teeth into.

 

 

Even though these vegan nanaimo bars sound complicated and involved because of the three layers, they are incredibly easy to make and require zero baking. The only thing that’s really required beyond a food processor and blender is a little patience while they chill.

Like the brownies, you will get this VIP vegan nanaimo bars recipe when you become one of my newsletter friends. It’s free, of course, and not only does signing up get you extra special recipes like this one, it also saves you time by dropping new recipes right in your inbox!

Ready to get your vegan nanaimo bars recipe game on? Unlock it by clicking the picture below.

 

 

simply saturday granola (vegan, no added sugar, gluten free option)

Ironically, this granola was much easier to test and make than trying to share it with you in this post. Because, technology. It’s a long story, which I’ll spare you, but I’m storing up these tidbits for blog-related tips to help you avoid the same pitfalls.

For now, granola.

When I changed my diet to one extremely low in added sugar, I thought granola was a thing of the past. Typically, granola has a high added sugar content; even vegan versions tend to use more than I’m comfortable with.

Coming up with a raw granola recipe I was pleased with was simple. However, I wasn’t sure if a cooked version using dates as the sweetener would yield that same crunchy texture of traditional granola. But, oh yes… it does!

As the title suggests, this granola is simple and straightforward to fix. While I often make mine on a Saturday, you certainly can prepare this any day of the week. The key to a good crunch is stirring during the baking time, breaking up the clusters, and completely cooling it before storing it in air-tight jars.

 

Click here for where to buy the date paste, stevia and unsweetened shredded coconut online. To try to find the ingredients locally, here are a few tips:

  • Date paste: I usually buy mine at a local Mediterranean/middle eastern store. If you don’t have one near by, you can make your own using Medjool dates (see Recipe Notes)
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers. I get mine at Trader Joe’s, but try the NOW BetterStevia™ Organic Zero Calorie Powdered Sweetener — 1 oz brand here. Even though it appears pricey, a little goes a looong way, and my container lasted me for several years! This link will save you $5 on your order…comment or message me if you want to know which products I stock up on to get the free shipping.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut: If you have a Whole Foods or natural foods store near by, check the bulk section!

 

Simply Saturday Granola
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
45 mins
 
Course: Breakfast, Snack
Ingredients
  • 3 cups whole rolled oats (gluten free, if needed)
  • 1/2 cup date paste
  • 3/4 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • 3 tsp coconut oil
  • 2 scoops 100% pure stevia
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup nuts of choice, chopped
Instructions
  1. Turn on oven to 350 F.  Grease a large jelly roll pan (recommend using coconut or avocado oil). Chop and measure out nuts. Measure out oats and coconut in separate bowls.

  2. Add almond milk, coconut oil, cinnamon, stevia and salt to a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add date paste* and stir until the date paste breaks down and the mixture is very smooth. Next, stir in oats and coat thoroughly, then immediately stir in the coconut. Spread out on the prepared jelly roll pan, breaking up any clumps in the mixture and sprinkle on the nuts.

  3. Pop in the oven and set the timer for 12 minutes. When the time is up, remove from oven, stir to break up any clumps and prevent the granola on the out edges of the pan from burning. Return to oven for another 12 minutes, removed and stir again. If needed, return the granola to the oven for 3-5 minutes or until the granola is a light golden brown color. Turn off head and leave granola to finish drying out.

  4. When the granola is completely cooled, pour into airtight glass jars for storage.

Recipe Notes
  • If you don't have pre-made date paste on hand, you can easily make your own. For this recipe, take about 3/4 cups of Medjool dates (buy the ones with the pits, but remove the pits just before using), soak them in warm water for at least 1-2 hours. Drain, reserving the soak water and place in a blender or food processor. Blend until very smooth, adding a little soak water if needed.
  • Having the pan prepared, nuts chopped and oats and coconut measured and ready to go helps keep the baking time to a minimum as it prevents the date mixture from soaking into the oats.
  • Pecans are my favorite nuts of choice for this recipe!

 

 

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