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Hello! I’m Anjali. I’m a board certified health coach, author, wife, mom and food lover from the SF Bay area (now living in Seattle, WA!); with a passion for delicious food and a desire to make healthy eating easy, tasty and fun! Learn more about me here and stay for a while!

Anjali Shah

No Bake Healthy Date Bars (Homemade Lara Bar Recipe)

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This super easy recipe for healthy date bars with chocolate takes just ten minutes of prep time and has no added sugar. It’s a homemade Lara Bar recipe with just 5 natural ingredients. It’s the perfect healthy snack or dessert!

No Bake Healthy Date Bars Homemade Lara Bar Recipe on a white parchment paper

If you’re like me, you probably love Larabars. They’re such a sweet and delicious snack, are usually a big hit with kids, and can double as a healthy dessert! The first time I tried them, I was wowed! They were a healthier take on so many other granola bars on the market.

But, you may not love spending about $2 per bar, and you might want to customize it a little more beyond the original recipe or varieties you see on the grocery store shelves. Plus, some Larabars have a lot of sugar – even though it’s from fruit – it can still add up!

That’s where this recipe comes in! This homemade date bar recipe is super easy to make, requires very few ingredients, and is lower in sugar than traditional, old fashioned date bars. They also store really well, taste like a chocolate cookie, and are perfect for satisfying cravings.

These healthy date cookie bars are a great recipe for those busy days when you need an easy afternoon snack, or want a healthy dessert!

Latest Recipe Video!

👩🏽‍🍳 Why This Recipe Works

  • Vegan and Gluten-Free
  • No bake date bar recipe!
  • Healthier date bars than the traditional version (but tastes just as great!)
  • Simple single layer recipe (no bottom crust, date filling, or top crust).
  • Golden Brown Finish without being baked!
  • Great snack bars!
  • Flourless: No all purpose flour, whole wheat flour, or even oat flour needed!
  • No refined sugar: No brown sugar, or powdered sugar like so many other recipes!

🥘 Ingredients

ingredients for no bake healthy date bars

Dry Ingredients: Unsweetened cocoa powder, macadamia nuts, and a little bit of sea salt.

Wet Ingredients: Medjool dates (pitted dates will save you time), and cashew butter are used to hold the ingredients together. If you don’t have cashew butter, any nut butter would work. Soak the medjool dates in warm water for 10 minutes, and drain to help infuse them with more moisture. They also provide natural sweetness to this date square recipe!

🍽 Equipment

🔪 Instructions

Step 1: Place dates and rest of the ingredients in a large bowl. Stir to combine. Then transfer all of the ingredients into the bowl of a food processor to create the date mixture.

ingredients for healthy date bars in a food processor

Step 2: Blend on high until the ingredients form a date filling with coarse crumbs.

date bar dough in food processor

Step 3: In a square baking pan (8×8 or 9×9-inch pan) lined with parchment paper, press the dough into the bottom of the prepared pan. This is a a simple one layer bar – so this is the only step you need! Chill in the fridge for 2 hours to set.

dough for lara bars in a baking dish

Step 4: Cut into 12 equal date squares and serve. After they have been chilled you can keep them stored at room temperature for 3-4 days in an airtight container or wrap with plastic wrap. If you want smaller portions, feel free to cut these no-bake granola bars into smaller pieces! You can easily turn this into 24 small squares vs. 12!

healthy date bars cut in a baking dish

❓Recipe FAQs

Are date granola bars good for you?

The answer is: It depends! Sometimes date bars are loaded with sugar and fat, and are more like a dessert than a healthy treat. But this delicious recipe is packed with health benefits.

Here’s what makes these bars so good for you!

1) Vitamins and Nutrients: Macadamia nuts are heart healthy and a good source of dietary fiber, protein, manganese and copper. Almonds are high in fiber, protein, Vitamin E and Magnesium. And dates contain calcium, iron, phosphorus, potassium, magnesium and zinc!
2) Healthy Fats: Nuts are a great source of heart healthy fats, since most of the fat in nuts is a combination of Omega 3 fats and monounsaturated fat.
3) No Added Sugar: These healthy date bars are naturally sweet thanks to the dates, and require no added sugars to make them feel like a decadent dessert.

Will kids enjoy this recipe for chocolate date bars?

My kids thought they were eating a chocolate brownie bar when they tried this recipe. They loved the sweetness from the dates and the texture of the ground up nuts! This is a great healthier sugar free snack option for picky kids who have a sweet tooth as well!

What are the best dates to use?

I like using Medjool dates because they are the easiest to find, and are always super soft and sweet! Although I’m sure any dates would work in this recipe for healthy date bars!

Why is it better to make lara bars at home?

Larabars are made with just nuts and fruit, but taste like dessert. Because of that, they tend to be pretty popular with kids and adults alike!
However, they can be quite pricey, especially if you’re eating them on a regular basis.

So why make homemade larabars instead of buying them?
1) Cheaper: By buying ingredients in bulk, you can cut down the cost per bar pretty significantly compared to store bought.
2) Healthier: Traditional Larabars have about 20g sugar per bar. While it’s all natural sugar from the dates for the most part, that’s still a lot of natural sugar to be eating on a regular basis! These bars have only about 10g natural sugar per bar, which makes them a much better option for a daily snack or dessert.
3) Customizable: Since the base of lara bars are just nuts + dates, you can add almost anything to this recipe to customize it for your family’s preferences!

Homemade Lara Bar Recipe - healthy date bars stacked on wire rack

📖 Variations

You can make these healthy homemade granola bars in a variety of different ways!! These gluten free date bars are so versatile and fun to customize!

  • Cashew Cookie: Switch the macadamia nuts for cashews, use cashew or almond butter, and omit the cocoa powder.
  • Dark Chocolate Brownie: Switch the macadamia nuts for almonds and add 1/2 cup walnuts and 1-2 tablespoons of 88% dark chocolate chunks (preferably from a dark chocolate bar vs. chocolate chips). To keep these as vegan date bars, make sure your chocolate is dairy free. You can also melt chocolate and drizzle it over the top of the bars!
  • Apple Pie: Switch the macadamia nuts for pecans, add 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 cup dried apples. Omit the cocoa powder.
  • Peanut Cookie: Switch the macadamia nuts for peanuts, and use peanut butter instead of almond butter. Omit the cocoa powder.
  • Cookie Dough: Switch the macadamia nuts for peanuts or cashews, omit the cocoa powder, and add 1/8 cup mini chocolate chips.
  • Pecan Pie: Switch the macadamia nuts for pecans and add 1/4 cup almonds. Omit the cocoa powder.
  • PB&J: Switch the macadamia nuts for peanuts, omit the cocoa powder and add 1/8 cup dried raisins or cherries.
  • Banana Bread: Switch the macadamia nuts for almonds, omit the cocoa powder, add in 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup dried bananas.
  • White Chocolate: This is a super simple variation – make the recipe as is, then drizzle dairy free white chocolate over the top of these date nut bars!

Notice a trend here? Basically you can switch the macadamia nuts for any nut of choice, add in dried fruits as needed, and omit the cocoa powder if you want something less chocolatey!

You can also add any combination of seeds to these no bake date bars: pumpkin seeds, flax seeds, ground chia seeds or sunflower seeds would all work well.

👪 How to Serve

I enjoy these with a cup of coffee in the morning, or a warm cup of tea in the afternoon for snack. Pack in your kids school lunch as a healthy treat, or take with you on the go for quick homemade snack!

💭 Expert Tips

  • Feel free to switch the nuts and add in dried fruits according to your taste preferences: any nuts, seeds and dried fruit will work well in this recipe.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, using parchment paper to separate the bars. These energy bars will not hold up well if you freeze them.
  • Add a tablespoon of lemon juice to help preserve them at room temperature a bit longer.
  • Do not use chopped dates, since they are typically coated in sugar or cornstarch.
  • Make sure to refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting them – but longer is even better.
No Bake Healthy Date Bars Homemade Lara Bar Recipe on a white parchment paper

🍪 More Healthy Snacks And Sweet Treats!

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📋 Recipe Card

Homemade Lara Bar Recipe - bars stacked on wire rack
Print Recipe
5 from 12 votes

No Bake, Vegan, Date Bars Recipe (Homemade Lara Bar)

Made with just 5 ingredients, this no bake recipe for date bars has zero added sugar but is still amazingly sweet and decadent!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Total Time2 hrs 10 mins
Course: Dessert
Cuisine: American
Diet: Low Calorie, Vegan, Vegetarian
Servings: 12 bars
Calories: 138kcal
Author: Anjali Shah

Ingredients

  • ½ cup organic Medjool dates pitted and chopped (comes to about 4 dates)
  • ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 cup whole macadamia nuts
  • 4 tbsp almond or cashew butter
  • Dash of sea salt

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients into a food processor. Blend on high until the ingredients form a smooth dough.
  • Press the dough into an 8×8 baking pan lined with parchment. Chill in the fridge for 2 hours to set. Cut into 12 equal rectangles and serve.  

Video

https://youtu.be/Y4iDp-httqc

Notes

Expert Tips
  • Feel free to switch the nuts and add in dried fruits according to your taste preferences: any nuts, seeds and dried fruit will work well in this recipe.
  • Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week, using parchment paper to separate the bars. These bars will not hold up well if you freeze them.
  • Do not use chopped dates, since they are typically coated in sugar or cornstarch.
  • Make sure to refrigerate for at least 2 hours before cutting them – but longer is even better.
Variations for This Homemade Lara Bar Recipe
  • Cashew Cookie: Switch the macadamia nuts for cashews, use cashew or almond butter, and omit the cocoa powder.
  • Dark Chocolate Brownie: Switch the macadamia nuts for almonds and add 1/2 cup walnuts and 1-2 tablespoons of 88% dark chocolate chunks (preferably from a dark chocolate bar vs. chocolate chips)
  • Apple Pie: Switch the macadamia nuts for pecans, add 1/4 cup walnuts, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/2 tsp nutmeg, and 1/2 cup dried apples. Omit the cocoa powder.
  • Peanut Cookie: Switch the macadamia nuts for peanuts, and use peanut butter instead of almond butter. Omit the cocoa powder.
  • Cookie Dough: Switch the macadamia nuts for peanuts or cashews, omit the cocoa powder, and add 1/8 cup mini chocolate chips.
  • Pecan Pie: Switch the macadamia nuts for pecans and add 1/4 cup almonds. Omit the cocoa powder.
  • PB&J: Switch the macadamia nuts for peanuts, omit the cocoa powder and add 1/8 cup dried raisins or cherries.
  • Banana Bread: Switch the macadamia nuts for almonds, omit the cocoa powder, add in 1/2 cup walnuts and 1/2 cup dried bananas.

Nutrition

Serving: 1bar | Calories: 138kcal | Carbohydrates: 9g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Sodium: 2mg | Potassium: 178mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 5g

Posted In…

Dessert ·

Indulge your sweet tooth with some of my lightened-up treats. From gluten-free brownies to fruity crumbles, there’s something for everyone.

Be sure to check out holiday favorites like my healthy pumpkin pie!

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