No Bake Pecan Pie Bars – Gluten-free, Raw and Vegan

by Beth @ Tasty Yummies

No Bake Pecan Pie Bars - Gluten-free, Raw and Vegan

I have become obsessed with Medjool dates and I am still just as amazed now as I was the first time I baked with them. It is incredible how sweet they are. I have made quite a few simple raw “cookie” balls in the processor with just oats and/or nuts, some dates and other goodies like chocolate chips or peanut butter. They are so simple and a totally healthy way to get your sweets-fix. I need to start taking photos of those and sharing them with you. You will love them.

A few months back while shopping at the Lexington CoOp here in Buffalo, I ran across something called a “Raw Pecan Pie Bar” (I forget the name of the company that made it) – it was raw and sweetened only with dates and also had sprouted pecans and sprouted something else (can’t remember, again). It immediately peaked my interest, so I picked one up. It was quite tasty, but I couldn’t help but think I could make it even better. Plus, at $3.50 for a single small bar, I knew I could make it cheaper.

I had been looking at different recipes online for date bars as a base for my recipe and ultimately settled on Oh She Glow’s blog, once again. I liked how simple her recipe was and that it included everything that I love! I made a few additions and changed it up a bit to make it similar to a pecan pie. I am so excited about how these turned out. Oh and one quick thing to mention about these bars, because they aren’t loaded with sugar, you could even have this as a breakfast bar. I cannot believe it is sugar-free, egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free and it’s even raw! If someone rattled off all of those things to me, with the words “pecan pie” – I would likely laugh in their face. You have to trust me though, these are so amazing. Even my southern-boy pecan pie loving hubby liked him, though he took one bite and said “man, these are good, a big ‘ol scoop of vanilla ice cream over top would really make this.” haha some things will never ever change.

I tend to actually have cravings for sweets around this time of year, which is crazy since I really don’t crave sweets that often. I think it could be the fact that everywhere you look there are holiday cookies and sweets just laying out, begging to be eaten. I am trying really hard to stick with my usual way of eating through the holidays this year, so I don’t step on the scale after the holidays to find I put on 5-lbs. I am planning to make a handful of alternative holiday sweets over the next couple of weeks, so I can still partake in the festive eating, but in a healthy way. I am also making sure when and if I do partake in some not-so healthy holiday eating – that I remember that everything in moderation is OK, a taste here won’t kill me and I would much rather have a little and know when to stop then to feel like I am missing out on something I really want.

Do you try to eat healthy during the holidays or do you just forego all healthy eating rules during the holidays?

No Bake Pecan Pie Bars - Gluten-free, Raw and Vegan

No Bake Pecan Pie Bars – Gluten-free, Raw and Vegan

Adapted from Oh She Glows
Makes 9 large squares or more if cut smaller

Crust:

1 1/2 cups whole raw almonds (you could also do 3/4 cup almonds and 3/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut)
1 1/2 cups gluten-free rolled oats (if you aren’t gluten-free just use regular rolled oats)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
10 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 1 cup)
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Date and Pecan Topping:

25 Medjool dates, pitted and roughly chopped (about 2 1/2 cups)
1/4 – 1/2 cup water
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup roughly chopped raw pecans

Line an 8″ x 8″ pan with two pieces of parchment paper going opposite ways. In a food processor, process the almonds, salt, and oats until a fine crumble forms. Add in the chopped dates and process until crumbly again. It your coconut oil is solid, melt it quick and add to the mixture with vanilla and process until sticky and a bit doughy. If your dough seems a bit dry, you can add a bit more oil, mind was fine as is. Remove from processor and press the dough very firmly and evenly into the pan to form your crust.

Clean the food processor real quick and process the dates with water (adding a little at a time so it doesn’t get too runny) and vanilla until a thick paste forms, it should be mostly smooth and creamy. You may need more or less water, depending on how soft your dates are. You will have to stop and scrape down the sides of the bowl often. You can add a tiny bit more water if needed, but you want the paste quite thick. Scoop out the date mixture onto the crust and gently spread with the back of a wet spatula until even.

Sprinkle the chopped pecans evenly across of it and gently press down with fingers. Refrigerate in the fridge until firm for at least 1 hour, preferably overnight. Cut into squares and serve. Store in the fridge or freezer.

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{ 11 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Savory Simple December 9, 2011 at 9:20 pm

Medjool dates are so addicting. These look delicious!

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2 chaz December 12, 2011 at 1:45 pm

Is there a good alternative for the dates? My wife is not a fan of the taste/consistency of dates. I’ve tried everything I can think of, but she just won’t eat them!

My brother has celiac disease, so I always like to look for gluten-free goodies to make for family functions.

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3 tastyyummies December 12, 2011 at 2:50 pm

Chaz, hmmm, let me think about that. You could definitely use another dried fruit, but it won’t have the same sweetness and it will likely have the same consistency. Mark isn’t a huge fan of the consistency either, but he really likes these. Once the dates are processed with the water and vanilla, it makes a nice creamy paste.
You could try playing around with honey or syrup but it won’t have the same thick paste-like quality to it that allows it to form into a bar and hold the pecans. Maybe there is a way to make a paste with more raw nuts and honey, or almond butter and honey or syrup. Place around.

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4 Leah December 15, 2011 at 6:00 pm

These look gorgeous! I’ve been wanting to make some sweets with dates ever since I tried a Lara bar and I love love love (yup, 3 loves) pecan pie – you have definitely inspired me!

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5 cat @ NeoHomesteading.com December 17, 2011 at 11:56 am

These sound incredibly decadent and packed with nutrients. I bet they are delicious. My son has nut allergies but I bet almonds would work ok.

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6 Rebe April 29, 2012 at 12:20 pm

I made these last night and followed the recipe exactly (except for adding extra pecans!)… and the date mixture won’t firm up :( I like the recipe and want to make them again in the future – what should I change next time I make them? Should I add only a bit of the water at a time…?

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7 tastyyummies April 29, 2012 at 3:33 pm

Aww Rebe, I am so sorry. Maybe your dates were softer than mine, possibly requiring less water. I suppose I should change the recipe to read 1/4 – 1/2 cup of water, adding it in slowly, a little at a time, mentioning that you may need more or less depending on your dates. I am so sorry your date mixture wasn’t thick and pastey enough. Please let me know how it works out if you try it again with less water.
Sorry again.

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8 Rebe May 5, 2012 at 2:42 pm

It’s all good. They were still tasty! I’ll definitely be making them again – just with less water! Thanks for posting your recipes! I’m looking forward to making more of them. Have a great weekend!

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9 Margo November 27, 2012 at 10:51 am

These are good in the dehydrator for a bit.. gives the crunchy pecan pie texture.
excellent with dehydrator!

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10 tastyyummies November 27, 2012 at 11:12 am

Oooh, what a fabulous idea Margo. I love this, thanks for sharing. OK now I want a dehydrator more than ever :)

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11 Megan April 1, 2014 at 8:40 am

Beth,
what would the equivalent amount of almond meal flour be for this recipe? I don’t yet have a food processor but I keep stocked with Almond meal flour :)
Also, are regular dates going to be a lot different than Mejool dates? I have a huge gallon container of regular ones that I got at costco. Do you think a blender would work for chopping stuff up?
Thanks,
Megan

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