Nut Free Homemade Coconut Larabars: Chewy date sweetened bars filled with protein, healthy fat and a hint of coconut. These nut free bars are school lunch safe! (Gluten free, dairy free, egg free, vegan, nut free, soy free, corn free, refined sugar free and oil free)
I have always loved coconut. When I was a little girl, my grandpa kept his candy jar stocked with Almond Joy candies just for me. I would sneak candy after candy out of his fancy little peanut shaped candy dish with a little squirrel on top. An hour or so later I would hear a, “Hey! Where’d all the candy go?” Oops. Busted. He always acted as if he hadn’t heard the dish clanking all afternoon and like I was suddenly in trouble for eating all of the candy for the 100th time. Then he would go to the cupboard and restock the candy dish for me. As I got older I learned to put the lid back on the candy bowl ever so quietly so I could cure my sweet tooth without getting in trouble with the candy police.
Fast forward to adulthood in my very candy-less household. Store bought Larabars are a go to snack in our house and my kids think they are a total treat. I love them because they’re sweet, delicious and made with whole foods. They also pack a punch of protein. My husband loves them because he’s a sweet food fanatic. My kids love them because they like anything with fruit in it! I keep a few in the diaper bag for grocery store meltdowns and other snack ‘emergencies’. They are great to have on hand but they are expensive and they lack nut free options.
Homemade Larabars are one of the easiest snacks to make. They are a combination of dates (for sweetness) plus nuts for a bit of texture (I use seeds to be nut free) and some sort of additional flavor (chocolate chips, dried blueberry, cocoa etc.). They come together so quickly in the food processor and call me crazy but I think it’s fun coming up with new flavor combinations! The options are totally endless and did I mention that you don’t even need to turn your oven on? I know, this recipe just keeps getting better and better.
These bars are deliciously sweet, chewy and coconutty. The softness of the dates paired with the slight crunch from the sunflower seeds (which you can’t taste in the slightest!) come together to create the perfect texture. Straight out of the food processor these bars will be a bit sticky but once shaped into bars and refrigerated they solidify to perfection.
As much as I LOVE these bars on their own, you can totally dip them in some melted semi-sweet chocolate chips and refrigerate until hardened for a super delicious treat reminiscent of my old time favorite Almond Joys.
Nut Free Homemade Coconut Larabars
- 2 cups raw, unsalted sunflower seeds
- 2 ½ cups pitted dates (I use deglet noor dates from Costco)
- 4 tablespoons coconut butter* (only ingredient is coconut)
- 1 ½ cups shredded unsweetened dehydrated coconut (usually found on the baking aisle)
- 4 tablespoons water (may need more or less depending on how dry your dates are)
Put sunflower seeds and coconut butter in food processor. Pulse until coarsely ground.
Add dates and pulse until dates are finely ground.
Add shredded coconut and water (if needed) and pulse until everything sticks together. Dates should be a paste. If not, add a little more water. Pulse until mixture is sticking together.
Lay out this mixture on a parchment lined cutting board. Smooth it out to desired thickness with your hands or a rolling pin. Cut into slices. Refrigerate until chilled.
Keep bars refrigerated or they will be somewhat sticky. They freeze wonderfully. If you want to put them in your lunch box you can always freeze them ahead of time and let them defrost in your lunch box so at lunchtime they don’t get too sticky.
*Coconut butter is usually found near the peanut butter in the natural section of the grocery store. It is not refrigerated. The only ingredient is coconut.