no bake chocolate mint squares (vegan, no added sugar, paleo, gluten free)

 

There are three things I have to do before I start writing a blog post: get my pictures purdied up, make sure my nails are clipped short and fix my hair in a ponytail. The pictures are essential. The other two? Just a couple quirks that minimize distractions for me. LOL

Now that those are out of the way, let’s chat about these no bake chocolate mint squares.

They are a minty take on a couple of recipes I frequently use for desserts and are fast and simple to whip up. The only downside, perhaps, is waiting a couple of hours for them to set in the fridge. Which is why it’s always a good idea to leave a little bit of the mousse filling in the food processor bowl.

Here are the stats on these no bake chocolate mint squares:

  • chocolatey
  • minty
  • vegan
  • gluten free
  • paleo option
  • raw option
  • no added sugar
  • plant protein
  • higher in fat (thanks to the avocado, coconut milk and nuts)

 

I’m giving you two options for the finished look: naked…

 

 

 

…and fancy.

 

Truthfully, I often go the low-key route and let the taste of these squares do all the talking (especially if I’m in a hurry), but occasionally it’s fun to dress things up a little, especially if you’re bringing these along to a friend’s house or potluck.

To make the fancy version, be sure to follow the steps in the instructions carefully which will save you time and ingredients. Trust me on this one.

If you use peppermint essential oil (like I did), make sure it is a high quality one and approved for internal consumption. My favorite brand is by Young Living with the extra bonus of being able to support my friend in her business. If you use peppermint extract, you’ll need more than the EO since it isn’t as strong.

Now for the recipe, shall we?

 

No bake chocolate mint squares
Prep Time
10 mins
Chil Time
2 hrs
 

These vegan chocolately minty squares are easy to make, free of added sugars and can be suited to a gluten free and paleo diet.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Servings: 16 squares
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the base:
  • 1 cup almonds (raw if preferred)
  • 3/4 cup date paste*
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2 scoops 100% pure powdered stevia
For the filling:
  • 1 just ripe avocado
  • 1 15 oz can full fat coconut milk
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup date paste*
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 scoops 100% pure powdered stevia
  • 2 T peanut butter (or almond butter for paleo)
For the green drizzle:
  • 1/4 cup reserved avocado/coconut mixture (see instructions)
  • 2-3 pinches 100% pure powdered stevia
  • 1-2 drops peppermint essential oil
  • 1/8-1/16 tsp matcha
For the chocolate drizzle:
  • 1/4 cup reserved chocolate mixture (see instructions)
  • 3 tsp unsweetened almond milk
  • cacoa nibs (optional)
Instructions
For the base:
  1. Combine all ingredients in a food processor and mix until the nuts are chopped fine and the ingredients just hold together when pinched between your fingers. Be careful not to over mix as the nuts will release their oils.

  2. Pour into an 8x8 glass baking dish and press down firmly and evenly to form the base. Set aside.

For the filling:
  1. Add the coconut milk and avocado to a clean food processor bowl and mix until smooth. If making the fancy version of the squares remove 1/4 of the mixture, add to a clean jar and set aside.

  2. Add remaining filling ingredients to the processor and blend until smooth, scraping down the bowl a couple of times. If making the fancy version, remove 1/4 cup of the chocolate mixture, add to a clean jar and set aside.

  3. Pour filling over the base, cover with foil and chill in the fridge for at least two hours to set. Cut into 16 squares and serve. Store in the fridge for up to two days (if they last that long 😉 )

For the fancy version of the squares:
  1. Combine all green drizzle ingredients and mix thoroughly. Cover the jar with the lid and chill until ready to decorate the squares.

  2. Thin the reserved 1/4 cup of chocolate mixture with almond milk. Cover the jar with the lid and chill until ready to decorate the squares.

  3. Once the squares are chilled and set, pour the green drizzle into a piping bag fitted with a small round tip. Alternatively, you can use a plastic sandwich bag by spooning in the mixture, sealing and cutting off a tiny corner of the bag. Drizzle over the squares in a loose zigzag pattern.

  4. Repeat for the chocolate drizzle using a clean bag. If desired, sprinkle cacao nibs over the squares.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES:

If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.

 

 

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • 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) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). 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

chia cherry goji berry energy bites (vegan, gluten free, paleo)

 

Whether you need a quick pick-me-up as you’re on the go or a little something to hold those sugar cravings at bay, these chia cherry goji berry energy bites are just the thing. Fortunately, they are much easier to whip up than they are to say (LOL) with just seven ingredients.

Since the name is kinds of a mouthful, I decided to shorten it to “Bing-Go Bites” for the bing cherries and goji berries. So much easier – and fun! – to say.

I created this recipe while I was packing for our mission trip to the Dominican Republic last month. I wanted something that would travel well, include both healthy servings of plant protein and fruit and provide extra nutritional benefits like antioxidants (cacao nibs, goji berries and cherries) and omega-3 fatty acids (chia seeds). Oh, and free of added sugars of course.

That sounds like a tall order, doesn’t it?

I had been dreaming up energy bites like this for awhile but hadn’t pinned myself to actually pull something together and what better time than the day you have to leave the country? Let me tell you, I was praying these would turn out the way I had imagined since I left myself zero time to test multiple batches. So grateful God answered that prayer with a speedy “yes.”

 

 

 

Let me tell you, I’m extra grateful I had these chia cherry goji berry energy bites (a.k.a. Bing-Go bites) on hand as we encountered a two hour wait to get through the airport in Santo Domingo and the virus I ended up coming down with was starting to kick into gear. They got the stamp of approval from other team members too.

If you try these, or the other recipes on my site, I would love to hear your feedback too! Good and not-so-good. Your comments are extremely helpful as I continue to both develop and improve on the recipes I share with you.

chia cherry goji berry (Bing-Go) bites
Total Time
15 mins
 

Whether you need a quick pick-me-up as you're on the go or a little something to hold those sugar cravings at bay, these chia cherry goji berry energy bites are just the thing.

Course: Dessert, Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 1 cup date paste*
  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 T chia
  • 1 T goji berries
  • 1 t cacoa nibs
  • 1/4 cup dried bing cherries
Instructions
  1. Add first four ingredients to a food processor and mix until thoroughly combined and smooth. Add the goji berries, cacao nibs and dried cherries and pulse until just combined.

  2. Scoop out mixture with a spoon and roll in your hands to form 1" balls. Place in an airtight container. Should be eaten within 1-2 days if stored in the cupboard or 5-7 days in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • 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) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • I used the Navitas brand of cacao nibs which I bought online at vitacost.com. But you also can find them here.
  • I found the dried Bing cherries at Trader Joe’s. You can get them online here if you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you. Make sure they are free of added sugar and sulfur!
  • The goji berries were from the bulk section at Whole Foods, but you can get them online here.

mocha hazelnut torte (vegan, added sugar free, no bake, gluten free, paleo)

I can’t decide which I like better: chocolate + coffee or chocolate + hazelnuts. Hmmmm….

If you had to pick one, what would you choose? (Tell me in the comments.)

Fortunately, we don’t have to choose one over the other because I’ve brought both together is this mocha hazelnut torte! It’s a dessert that looks decadent, but contains only whole food, added sugar free ingredients, so it’s a recipe that loves your body back.

Ever since I detoxed from sugar a few years ago, I’ve been on a mission to have my cake and eat it too…just without the added sugars which keep you hooked on the very thing that brings your energy levels down and anxiety up. Thanks to dates, stevia and few other tricks, it’s made this mission much easier and I’m excited to share the results with you in my recipes.

This mocha hazelnut torte is incredibly easy to whip up and I even have a pro tip for you for easily removing those pesky hazelnut skins which would make the crust bitter. Check out the tip here over at Will Cook for Friends. It’s seriously so ridiculously easy that you’ll probably do a happy dance in your kitchen. Or at least in your head.

Because my husband and I aren’t dedicated coffee drinkers, I’ve never learned to make a good pot of coffee and don’t keep coffee in the house (shocking, I know), so I relied on Trader Joe’s Coconut Cold Brewed Coffee Concentrate for the body of the torte. If you don’t have a Trader Joe’s near you and can’t find an equivalent, here’s a cold brew coffee recipe by Wellness Mama or see the “Shop the Recipe” section at the end of the post for a link on where you can buy it online.

But let’s dig in to the recipe, shall we?

 

Mocha Hazelnut Torte

Chocolate, coffee and hazelnuts come together in this easy, no bake dessert recipe that is free of added sugars so it loves your body back whether you have one slice...or two

Course: Dessert
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
For the crust:
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, skins removed
  • 1/4 + 2T cup cocoa powder (fair trade is best)
  • 2 scoop 100% pure stevia powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup date paste*
For the filling:
  • 2 avocados, peeled and pitted
  • 1.5 cups cocoa powder (fair trade is best)
  • 1.5 cups date paste*
  • 2 15 oz. cans full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup cold brew coffee concentrate
  • 4 tsp vanilla
  • 6 scoops 100% pure stevia powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
Instructions
For the crust:
  1. Add all ingredients to a food processor or blender and mix until thoroughly combined and the mixture easily holds together when pinched between your fingers. Pour into a 9" spring form pan and press firmly to form the crust.

For the filling:
  1. For one of the cans of coconut milk, make sure the fat has separated from the liquid by chilling it in the fridge overnight.

  2. Depending on the size of the bowl of your food processor or blender size, you may need to do the filling in two equal batches  to ensure everything mixes thoroughly.

  3. First combine the avocado, cocoa powder, date paste, vanilla, stevia, salt and one can of coconut milk.

  4. With the other can, remove the fat and then add it to the other filling ingredients along with the coffee concentrate. Mix until thoroughly combined, scraping the bowl a couple times to make sure everything is well blended and very smooth.

  5. Pour the filling onto the crust, cover with foil and chill for at least four hours before serving. It's best if kept refrigerated. Decorate with hazelnuts or fresh fruit if desired.

Recipe Notes

RECIPE NOTES: *If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth to make about 1/2 cup of date paste. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. Multiply quantities of dates as needed to make enough date paste for your recipe.

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • 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) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Cocoa powder: for fair trade cocoa powder which helps support farmers at fair wages, Equal Exchange is an excellent brand with a very rich cocoa flavor. I got mine at Whole Foods, but you can also find it online here.
  • Trader Joe’s coconut cold-brew coffee concentrate can also be found online here.
  • Pure stevia: It’s critical to use 100% pure stevia with no additives or fillers (see this post). 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

blueberry banana bread bars (vegan, no added sugar)

 

I love hard-working recipes – especially ones that can work as breakfast, dessert or a snack! And these blueberry banana bread bars are perfect for all three.

I have a particular soft spot for these since it’s one of the first recipes I tried (thanks to the inspiration of Angela’s muffin tops recipe at Oh She Glows) that didn’t require any added sugar. And didn’t end up a yucky gummy mess which can happen when you remove the dairy and the added sugar.

These blueberry banana bread bars are just one of the recipes featured in my 7-day plant-based refresh which you can sign up to receive for free here.

Not only do these offer a delicious way to use overripe bananas, but they are easy to make and can be made gluten free by using certified gluten free oats. Since they’re crowd pleasers, I’ve often brought them to potlucks and brunches.

Blueberry Banana Bread Bars
Prep Time
15 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 

A versatile recipe that can be eaten as breakfast, dessert or a snack and is crowd-pleaser. Free of added sugar and can be made gluten free with the use of gluten-free oats.

Course: Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Author: Andrea Anderson
Ingredients
  • 2 large bananas
  • 1/2 c. date paste
  • 1/4 c. coconut oil
  • 2 c. rolled oats gluten free if needed
  • 1/4 c. unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2-1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degree F.

  2. Add bananas, date paste and coconut oil to a food processor and blend well.
  3. Add the oats, coconut, vanilla, cinnamon and baking powder and blend well.
  4. Press mixture into a greased 8×8 glass baking dish, then top with blueberries, gently pressing the berries into the batter.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned and the middle is firm, but yields slightly to the touch.

  6. Cool then cut.
Recipe Notes

If doubling the recipe, you will probably need to break up the steps further. Here’s what I do: First, coarsely blend all the oats and set aside in a large bowl. Then blend other ingredients per instructions above (without the oats). Next, stir the blended ingredients together with the oats in a large bowl. Continue with steps 4-6. I think this recipe works best with ripe to slightly overripe bananas.      *     If you can't find date paste, you can make your own by soaking 3/4 cup of Medjool dates in warm water for 1-2 hours and then blending until smooth. In this case, it's best to buy Medjool dates with the pits still in them and simply remove the pits just before using. 

 

 

 

(contains affiliate links which help fund this blog at no cost to you 🙂 )

  • Click here for my favorite food processor
  • 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) Happily, Aldi has been carrying Medjool dates lately, but you can also find them here.
  • Unsweetened shredded coconut: If you have a Whole Foods or natural foods store near by, check the bulk section! Or get it here.

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.