Healthy No-Bake Brownie Bites

Healthy No Bake Brownie Bites {vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free}

There’s something about Friday that makes me want to share dessert. Monday’s are always a day when I really need dessert, but Friday? I feel like we all deserve dessert on a Friday.

The problem is that I’ve been trying to avoid refined sugar this year. I’ve always known sugar is bad for you but the more I read, the more I realize that it’s not much different from eating poison. It causes inflammation in the body, spikes your blood sugar and has zero nutritional value.

BUT…it makes everything taste so good!

Healthy No Bake Brownie Bites {vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free}

As a result, baking dessert that’s vegan, gluten-free, and refined sugar-free proves to be my most difficult challenge. Most of the time it tastes like cardboard, is ridiculously mushy or it crumbles to a million pieces. It’s almost like the word healthy and dessert don’t even belong in the same sentence together.

However, I have been determined to find a way to avoid sugar and still get my fix.  Mama needs her dessert and little pieces of Hershey’s Bliss dark chocolate ain’t gonna cut it forever.

No Bake Brownie Bites

The good news is, if you put pitted dates, nuts, and cocoa powder into a food processor with a little bit of coconut oil, it turns into fudgy, chocolately, brownie amazingness!!

No Bake Brownie Bites

Dates are naturally high in sugar so they help add that sweet flavor that we all love, but they also offer a host of healthy vitamins, minerals and fiber.

Combine that with walnuts, coconut oil and pure cocoa powder, and you’ve got a nice nutritional line-up in your dessert.

Healthy No Bake Brownie Bites {vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free}

Now that doesn’t mean you can eat a hundred of these soft, delicious little bites. Although it wouldn’t be hard to. Dates are high in sugar and even though it’s natural, it still raises your blood sugar. But eating one, maybe two a day is reasonable.

This was another recipe that was not very photogenic so you’ll have to take my word when I say they taste way better than they look. Here is a picture from the first time I made them which I think shows the fudgy texture really well but I just knew Foodgawker would be all, “harsh lighting/white balance issues…blah, blah, blah”.

Healthy No Bake Brownie Bites {vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free}

That’s basically their nice way of saying, “you suck.”

Oh well, it gave me an excuse to make them again and try out another version with hemp seeds and shredded coconut.

Healthy No Bake Brownie Bites {vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free}

Brandon said those were his favorite but I was torn. I liked them both equally.

Healthy No Bake Brownie Bites {vegan, gluten-free and refined sugar-free}

Anyway, if you’re like me and are looking for healthy options to satisfy those I’m going to strangle someone if I don’t get my chocolate cravings then I urge you to give these a try. They’re likely to save a few lives.

Healthy No-Bake Brownie Bites

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 10 minutes

Yield: 15 bites

Healthy No-Bake Brownie Bites


1 cup walnuts

1 cup Mejdool Dates, pitted (about 11)

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon melted refined coconut oil

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

1/4 cup chocolate chips

Hemp Seed and Coconut Brownie Bites

3/4 cup walnuts

1 cup Mejdool Dates, pitted (about 11)

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons melted refined coconut oil

1/3 cup unsweetened shredded coconut

1/4 cup chocolate chips

1/4 cup hulled hemp seeds


  1. Place walnuts in a food processor and blend on high until finely ground. Add the remaining ingredients (except for the chocolate chips) and pulse until a uniform dough has formed.
  2. Place dough into a medium size bowl along with chocolate chips (add coconut and hemp seeds at this point if making the second option) then mix together with your hands. Take one heaping tablespoon worth of dough at a time and roll into balls. Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes before serving. (refrigeration isn't necessary but it helps them solidify)
  3. Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to one week.

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{ 38 comments… add one }

  • hillary | nutrition nut on the run January 30, 2014, 8:19 pm

    Yum! I just bought a bag of hemp seeds tonight to replenish my stash. These look really rich, yet full of nutritious ingredients.

    I didn’t know Foodgawker was so picky… then again, I’ve never submitted something… How does it work? Do you do Taste Spotting, too?

    What is white balance? Are you a self-taught photographer?

    hillary | nutrition nut on the run recently posted…How I Changed My MetabolismMy Profile

    • Sarah January 30, 2014, 9:04 pm

      Yes, I submit to Tastespotting as well and they’re just as picky. I’m completely self taught and I really need to take the time to learn more because I continue to struggle with white balance. It’s basically how white the light is in the picture. For example, if you have something white in the picture, does it truly appear white or does it have a bluish tint (my problem). You can adjust this when editing but I don’t shoot in manual so I can only adjust it so much until it looks overexposed or just altogether weird. I just don’t have the time to learn to shoot in manual right now so it is what it is!

      • Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) January 31, 2014, 11:07 am

        I can’t believe you don’t shoot in manual! From the look of your photos I totally thought you did. When you do start I can’t wait to see what you do! I can’t imagine your pictures getting even better! What kind of camera do you use?
        Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) recently posted…Wine of the Week: Fetzer 2010 Crimson Cabernet SauvignonMy Profile

      • Sarah January 31, 2014, 11:35 am

        Aw, thanks Kelli! I shoot in aperture mode with a Canon Rebel T3i. It allows you to adjust the aperture and exposure compensation but automatically does shutter speed and white balance. It’s kind of like semi-manual mode.

  • Nicole @ Foodie Loves Fitness January 30, 2014, 8:46 pm

    These sound and look amazing… but then again, I feel like I say that every damn time I comment on your blog! I loveee dates. They’re actually my go-to if I need a little something sweet. One question for you – any ideas of what to sub for coconut oil in this recipe? I’m not a fan of coconut and coconut oil but would love to try these out!

    • Sarah January 30, 2014, 9:06 pm

      I bet you could just leave out the coconut oil. The dates and walnuts provide enough moisture on their own, I just added the coconut oil because I like the flavor. If it doesn’t seem moist enough then I’m sure canola would work fine.

    • Laurie Rubin January 2, 2015, 6:51 pm

      Try using either walnut oil or avocado oil is you don’t care for coconut oil. But since these are eaten raw, I’d splurge and use only unrefined, cold pressed oil which will be healthier. I’ve made a similar recipe using both of these oils and they taste excellent.

  • dishing up the dirt January 30, 2014, 10:51 pm

    Please overnight me some of these pleasssssseeee!!!! XO
    dishing up the dirt recently posted…Hippie Bowls with Secret Sauce (AKA Hippie Sauce)My Profile

  • Erin @ The Almond Eater January 31, 2014, 3:38 am

    Ahhh I love bites of any and all kind. These look delicious! I agree that it is difficult to make healthy desserts–mine just taste so blah when I try. I’ll have to give dates a try! Have a great weekend :)
    Erin @ The Almond Eater recently posted…Thinking Out Loud #4My Profile

  • Carolyn January 31, 2014, 3:45 am

    These look wonderful…your photography was impressive. I am wondering if you have the nutrition information for these. Mainly calories. I am trying to keep a calorie count for a few weeks. While eating healthy, I have not been able to lose weight so trying this for a few weeks. So far, so good! I love your blogs. You always amaze me at all you accomplish on your week ends!!

    • Sarah January 31, 2014, 12:02 pm

      Thank you Carolyn! :)

      I don’t usually calculate nutrition facts because of time but I went ahead and entered the regular brownie bites (without hemp seeds and coconut) and they are 89 calories per bite (2 grams protein, 5 g sugar) if you make 15. If you make them larger and have say, 10 total, then they are 133 calories per bite (3 grams protein, 7 g sugar). Hope that helps!

  • Chelsea's Healthy Kitchen January 31, 2014, 3:55 am

    Love the look of these! Dates are my favourite way to tame my sweet tooth without eating a ton of refined sugar.
    Chelsea’s Healthy Kitchen recently posted…5 ways to add protein to your oatmealMy Profile

  • Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie January 31, 2014, 4:23 am

    Healthy and brownies in the same thought? What a Friday treat! I am always looking for ways to make brownies healthy. (I had an awful fail at a recipe earlier this week). I can’t wait to try these! Is a food processor necessary, or would a blender work?
    Stacie @ SimplySouthernStacie recently posted…Healthy Mexican Pizza RecipeMy Profile

  • Sam @ Better With Sprinkles January 31, 2014, 5:27 am

    Considering that I get the ‘must get chocolate or I’m going to strangle someone’ thing on a regular basis, I think that I definitely need to make these ;-)
    Sam @ Better With Sprinkles recently posted…Five Things Friday 01/31/14.My Profile

  • Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food January 31, 2014, 5:46 am

    This looks amazing, as usual! I’ve been craving something chocolaty and fudgey, and this just might do the trick. Can’t wait to try them!
    Kelly @ Kelly Runs For Food recently posted…Turkey Sausage, Kale and White Bean SoupMy Profile

  • Meg January 31, 2014, 6:06 am

    Sometimes you just seriously need some chocolate, right? Even with my commitment to healthy eating, I have to have a little sweet after dinner. Have to. These would be a great way to enjoy that little fix without feeling too guilty!
    Meg recently posted…New in my blog reader: foodie editionMy Profile

  • Alexis @ Hummusapien January 31, 2014, 7:12 am

    There is something SO magical about the combination of walnuts and cocoa powder. I’m always shocked as to how much they truly taste like brownies!! Great healhty alternative.

  • Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat January 31, 2014, 7:21 am

    Oh yum! I’ve never bought or tried hemp seeds before. Chia and flax seed have always been by go to. Looks like I need to branch out a bit more and try them out.
    Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat recently posted…Drool Worthy Pins #6My Profile

  • Ang @ Nutty for Life January 31, 2014, 8:25 am

    Yummm I love this! I’m a big fan of dates. I also love chocolate! I can definitely see how the consistency of these would be fudgy and amazing, and the walnuts would add a nice bit of texture.

  • Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) January 31, 2014, 11:08 am

    I’ve seen lots of recipes like this but I’ve always avoided them because I try to make the nuts I purchase last for as long as possible, but these look too delicious! Plus, I just LOVE dates, so I really need to try these.
    Kelli H (Made in Sonoma) recently posted…Wine of the Week: Fetzer 2010 Crimson Cabernet SauvignonMy Profile

  • Davida @ The Healthy Maven January 31, 2014, 2:04 pm

    Wellll you know how I feel about healthy desserts…and balls :)

    These are basically what Kewaza are! You should sell these before Kewaza takes over the US lol…okay maybe I shouldn’t be spreading word to the competition!

    But I believe in dessert everyday #sorryimnotsorry
    Davida @ The Healthy Maven recently posted…Best of January 2014My Profile

  • Carly @ Snack Therapy January 31, 2014, 2:37 pm

    Dates are amazing! They make everything chewy and sweet and wonderful. Both varieties look great, but I may be a little biased toward the coconut ones… MMM :D.
    Carly @ Snack Therapy recently posted…January Review: Five Things FridayMy Profile

  • Tara January 31, 2014, 4:18 pm

    Counting down the days until your cookbook deal goes through. :)

    Silly question, but there is this granola I absolutely love at Whole Foods. It’s in their bulk bin. It would make my whole year if you could recreate the recipe to a tee. :) :) :)
    Tara recently posted…Year Of The HorseMy Profile

    • Tara January 31, 2014, 4:19 pm

      Whoops, it wasn’t even a question.

  • cheri January 31, 2014, 6:55 pm

    I love snacks like these, beautiful pics!

  • Dearna @tohercore January 31, 2014, 7:35 pm

    I hear you about the white balance issue, I struggle with that too! On another note – I am literally drooling over these little bites – YUM!!
    Dearna @tohercore recently posted…Green smoothie pancakesMy Profile

  • Luv What You Do January 31, 2014, 7:54 pm

    I’m a huge fan of raw chocolate snacks. This looks like something I would LOVE!
    Luv What You Do recently posted…Pre Vegas DetoxMy Profile

  • Tiffany February 1, 2014, 5:39 am

    Oh man these look Delish! I recently took a nutrition class (very loose and intro) as part my my massage therapy training and got a peek into how bad sugar really is for you, and the artificial stuff (trying to wean myself off of Splenda now) is even worse! It’s quite difficult to find something tasty for desert that isn’t secretly hidden with garbage. Thanks for sharing, I’ve never cooked with dates but I’m willing to try this one.
    Tiffany recently posted…The Best Fit & Knit Links of JanuaryMy Profile

  • Ashley February 1, 2014, 2:23 pm

    Yum! I make something similar and lovveeee them. Helps give me a much-needed sugar fix in a much better way than a slice of cake : ) And your foodgawker comments cracked me up – I always hate the composition ones!
    Ashley recently posted…Rosemary and Gruyere CrispsMy Profile

  • Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures February 3, 2014, 6:29 am

    My roomie makes things with dates all the time and even though I struggle with their texture in their natural form, they really do make a great addition to sweeten things up – guilt free! But you’re right, don’t go eating the whole batch just because there isn’t processed sugar in it.. Haha good safety measures, Sarah! :) Another wonderful recipe from you! <3 Hope you had a good weekend!
    Meghan @ fitnesscrEATures recently posted…Bowling Weekend ExtravaganzaMy Profile

  • dishing up the dirt February 3, 2014, 8:39 am

    I need dessert on Monday! These little balls of delightfulness will make the perfect afternoon pick me up snack during farm season. I usually already have all these ingredients on hand which makes this recipe even easier for me to whip up! Can’t wait to try them!
    dishing up the dirt recently posted…Lentil Parsnip And Fennel SoupMy Profile

  • Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} February 3, 2014, 1:56 pm

    I feel like I’ve been going overboard on the sugar lately, and this is exactly the kind of dessert I need. So easy to eat a million of these little guys, though! I made some similar bites/balls last weekend and the pictures just don’t do mine justice. I think yours are lovely as far as pictures of little brown lumps go :) Yummy!
    Erica {Coffee & Quinoa} recently posted…Roasted Red Pepper and Cauliflower SoupMy Profile

  • Consuelo @ Honey & Figs February 5, 2014, 2:02 pm

    Healthy snacks like this are a favorite of mine! I’d be able to pop billions of these into my mouth in a sitting hehe. They look sooooo good! : )
    Consuelo @ Honey & Figs recently posted…Skinny Bakery Style Donut HolesMy Profile

  • Elyse @ Lizzie Fit February 7, 2014, 6:19 pm

    Oh yeah, you know I’m all over these. The recipe reminds me a little of Oh She Glows superseed chocolate protein bites which I love. Can’t wait to try em :)
    Elyse @ Lizzie Fit recently posted…Persinnamon Heart SmoothieMy Profile

  • Jelli November 14, 2014, 5:57 pm

    Tried a version of these tonight and they were scruptious! Made another recipe that only called for the basics, but these were really tasty. I used half walnuts and half cashews (walnut flavor is too overpowering for me in this recipe) and they were DELISH! Thanks so much! Next time I might try with almonds to get that “Almond Joy” effect. Mmm!
    Jelli recently posted…Mei Tai Baby Carriers: Take it or Leave it?My Profile

    • Sarah November 16, 2014, 8:31 pm

      I think it would be delicious with almonds too! Thanks for the feedback. :)

  • Laurie Rubin January 2, 2015, 6:48 pm

    I make a recipe for Brownie Balls similar to this one, except I use coconut flour, unsweetened Dutch processed cocoa powder (which gives a deep, rich chocolate flavor), more melted coconut oil than this recipe has, pure vanilla extract, medjool dates and chopped walnuts which I stir into the mixture before rolling the balls into unsweetened shredded coconut. I add hot water to the processed mixture to make a kind of fudgy batter before scooping it out into balls and rolling them into the coconut. They are simply divine, especially when they are warmed slightly in a microwave for several seconds before you eat them. Warming them slightly makes them softer and gives them a deeper chocolate flavor.


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