Healthy Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo bars are one of my favourite treats, bringing back memories of childhood and the holiday season. However, they are loaded with sugar and gluten so I developed a recipe for super healthy Nanaimo bars that are free of gluten, dairy and refined sugars. They taste so delicious you would think it is the real deal!

Gluten-Free and Vegan Nanaimo Bars

For this healthy version, I replaced the graham cracker crumb and sugar base layer with a Larabar type mix of dates, almonds, coconut and walnuts. The powdered sugar layer of the traditional Nanaimo bars has become a super healthy coconut butter with a bit of maple syrup as a sweetener. The top layer is still chocolate, but I got the best quality: a super dark chocolate that is sugar and dairy free. I get it at the bulk food store. This recipe is definitely worth a try!

Healthy Nanaimo Bars
Prep time
Total time
These healthy Nanaimo bars are free of gluten, dairy and refined sugars. They are the perfect treat for the holiday season!
Serves: 25 squares
Base Layer:
  • 2 cups Medjool dates, pitted (about 18 dates)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 1 cup almond flour
  • ½ cup coconut flour
  • 3 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ cup shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • ½ cup walnut
White Coconut Layer:
  • 3 cups shredded coconut, unsweetened
  • 2 tablespoon coconut oil
  • 3 tablespoon maple syrup
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Top Chocolate Layer:
  • 1 cup dark chocolate (use good quality, sugar-free and vegan)
  • 1 tablespoon coconut oil
Base Layer:
  1. In a food processor, process the dates with coconut oil until they are finely chopped and sticky.
  2. Add almond flour, coconut flour, cocoa powder and maple syrup to the chopped dates.
  3. Process until everything is blended together and forms a thick paste. The mixture may form a large ball. If this happens before everything is blended together, break it up with a spoon or spatula and process more.
  4. Transfer the mixture into a large mixing bowl.
  5. Add shredded coconut and walnut pieces and mix well. You may need to use your hands since the mixture is quite thick.
  6. Press into a parchment paper lined square mold.
  7. Refrigerate while you prepare the middle layer.
White Coconut Layer:
  1. In a high speed blender, blend the coconut oil, maple syrup and shredded coconut
  2. Using the temper tool to push down, blend until the coconut is completely shredded and becomes a paste, or butter texture.
  3. Spread the coconut butter with a spoon over the chilled base layer.
  4. Refrigerate while you prepare the top chocolate layer.
Top Chocolate Layer:
  1. In a water bath, melt the dark chocolate with coconut oil.
  2. Once melted, pour the chocolate over the coconut layer and spread evenly.
  3. Refrigerate for about 1 hour and then cut into 25 squares. You don't wait to refrigerate for too long before you cut it since the chocolate on top might break.
  4. Keep the squares in an airtight container, in the fridge for about 1 week. This desert can also be frozen and will keep for a few months!



Gluten-Free Nanaimo Bar Base Layer


Gluten-Free Nanaimo Bars Chocolate layer Gluten-Free Vegan Nanaimo Bars



    • says

      Thanks Angel! You do not need to melt the coconut oil for the base layer and the middle layer since you will put the base layer in the food processor and the middle layer in the high speed blender (it is important to use a high speed blender like Vitamix for the middle layer). This will make it super soft and it will blend well with the other ingredients without having to melt them. For the top layer, you melt the coconut oil at the same time as the chocolate, so you don’t need to melt it separately. Hope this helps!

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