Gluten-Free Date Bars

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Looking for a healthy Christmas cookie or bar that everyone will love? (And perfect for those eating gluten-free?)

The holiday season is typically a time of indulgence … which can translate to a time of weight gain as well.  Wouldn’t it be great if you could have your dessert and eat it too?

With wholesome ingredients like whole grain oats, raw walnuts, and unsweetened coconut, these date bars give you the richness and sweetness you expect from a Christmas cookie bar without the fattening results – so you can enjoy some holiday yum without the guilt.

What Makes These Dessert Bars Diet-Friendly?

1. Cookies and bars are usually high in sugar.  In this dessert, the sugar has been replaced with naturally sweet dates.

2. Regular cookies and bars rely on oil, butter, or margarine for richness. This bar uses healthy, high-fiber, and nutrient-dense walnuts and coconut for richness.  So you get a rich taste without the hip hugging fat. Nuts have actually been found to help with weight loss.

3. There are no eggs in this holiday bar, which means no cholesterol and fewer calories.

4. These bars are made without baking powder or baking soda – ingredients that contribute to digestive disorders and bone loss.

5. These bars are free of white flour.  Instead they’re made with wholesome, high-fiber, whole-grain oats.


Gluten-Free Date Bars

Dates offer a natural sweetness to these nutrient-packed bars.
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  • Place dates and water in a saucepan. Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 minutes or until dates are very soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
  • Place walnuts, coconut, 1/2 cup quick oats, and salt in the large bowl of a food processor. Process until finely ground. Stop processing if mixture gets sticky.
  • Add sugar and 1 cup regular or quick oats. If using quick oats, process just until mixed. If using regular oats, process until oats are ground slightly.
  • Add Earth Balance Butter Spread to mixture and pulse until mixed well.
  • Press approximately 2/3 to 3/4 of mixture into bottom of an oiled 8-inch x 8-inch baking dish. Transfer remaining mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  • Pour dates and water into bowl of food processor. Add vanilla and orange zest and process until fairly smooth.
  • Spread date mixture evenly over crust (oat and walnut mixture).
  • Sprinkle remaining oat and walnut mixture over dates.
  • Bake in preheated oven at 350°F for 35 to 40 minutes or until top is lightly browned.


Sugar amount can be varied depending on your taste and the sweetness of your dates. There are many varieties of dates with varying sweetness. This recipe works best with semi-dry date varieties (such as deglet noor dates).

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Wishing you and your family a wonderful holiday season filled with the things that matter most.  🙂

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  1. 5 stars
    Hi Jennifer,

    I watched your program on 3abn March 4, 2014. I did not get all the ingredients for the raw carob balls with rice krispies Could you please send that to me.

    Thanks so much,

  2. I’m a personal Chef and had a client ask if I could make these for a memorial service..Huge hit with a crowd of 60!!! Passing this recipe along! Thanks so much!!!

    1. Hi Sue,

      I’ve never tried to use orange juice, but I think it may work just fine. I think I would use orange juice concentrate rather than regular orange juice.

      Let us know if you try it.


      1. 5 stars
        Hi Jennifer. Thanks for the reply:) I didnt think of using concentrate…all I had was orange juice so I used that for part of the liquid (maybe 1/8th of the cup). Everything turned out amazing. I have made this recipe 5 times already…even my very picky 83 yr old mom loves it. She is strict vegetarian and I am gluten /dairy free so its a miracle when I find a recipe we both can eat and enjoy…so thank you!! You have made tea time even better:)

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