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Mint Chocolate Nanaimo Bars

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Nanimo Bars

New York City is home to a critically-acclaimed restaurant called Dirt Candy, whose menu boasts some truly unique dishes: popcorn pudding, celery cheesecake, jalapeno hush puppies, mint chocolate nanaimo bars with a base of green peas…

You can all breathe a sigh of relief, because I did NOT use green peas in my mint chocolate nanaimo bars today.

No bake & secretly healthy!   While similar recipes can be full of empty calories, high fructose corn syrup, & heavy cream, these rich and chocolatey no-bake bars are made with wholesome ingredients you can feel good about eating! Plus, they taste out-of-this-world delicious! Recipe here:  http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2013/08/26/mint-chocolate-nanaimo-bars/

However this relief might be fleeting once you see what I did use Winking smile.

Healthy Nanaimo Bars

Nanaimo bars, a popular Canadian dessert hailing from Nanaimo, British Columbia, consist of three layers: a crumbly bottom later, creamy center, and a chocolate coating for the top. While Nanaimo Bars are traditionally full of butter, refined flour, and sugar, today’s recipe offers a much healthier alternative: with one sneaky ingredient you will never suspect!

Mint Chocolate Chip Nanaimo Bars

Mint Chocolate Nanaimo Bars

Cream Layer:

(For a nut-free bar, feel free to just substitute your favorite mint chocolate chip ice cream for the cream layer.)

  • 1 1/2 cups raw cashews or macadamia nuts (160g)
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • scant 1/4 tsp pure peppermint extract
  • 1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (40g)
  • 2 Nunaturals stevia packets, or 2 tbsp liquid sweetener (such as pure maple syrup)
  • 3 oz raw spinach (85g or 2 very-loosely-packed cups)

Place the nuts in a cereal bowl and cover with water. Let soak 8 hours or overnight. (You can make the crust layer while you wait.) Drain and pat completely dry with a paper towel. Combine all ingredients in a vita-mix or high-quality food processor, and process until completely smooth. (This can take a few minutes in a food processor.)

Crust Layer:

  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, walnuts, pecans, or a combination of these (or sunflower seeds for nut-free)
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened (I used the full-fat kind)
  • scant 1/2 cup pitted dates (8 small dates) or raisins
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp cocoa powder, optional

Process all ingredients until even crumbs form. (Blenders will yield sticky mixtures, so it’s best to use a food processor.) Transfer to an 8-in square baking dish lined with parchment or wax paper going up the sides for easy removal. Using a piece of wax or parchment paper, smush into the pan until the crust evenly fills the bottom. Make the final layer:

Chocolate Layer:

  • 1/2 cup cacao or cocoa powder (40g)
  • 1/2 cup virgin coconut oil (80g)
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup (or liquid sweetener of choice) (28g)

Melt the coconut oil if it is not already melted. Stir together all ingredients to form a smooth sauce. Spread over the other layers. Freeze just until chocolate has started to set, then cut into bars. It is best to cut after 10 minutes or less have elapsed, to prevent cracking. Then place back in the freezer to firm up completely. Bars can be stored in the freezer for a few weeks; thaw before eating.

—> View Chocolate Nanaimo Bars Nutrition Facts <—

Mint Chocolate Chip Nanaimo Bars

P.S. Dirt Candy also sells a Rosemary Eggplant Tiramisu.

Hmmm…

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Katie is the baker, photographer, and author of the popular blog Chocolate-Covered Katie. Her favorite food is chocolate, and she believes in eating a balanced diet that includes dessert every single day. More about Katie—> 
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  1. Very interesting! I love learning about new foods I’ve never heard of before … can’t quite imagine what this would taste like!

  2. I love when vegetables can seamlessly add into unconventional places! Spinach is especially a pro at that. Thanks for another creative recipe!!

  3. Oh I looooooooooove Nanaimo Bars! They’re one of my favorite desserts that my grandma used to make. I’m intrigued by your healthier version!

  4. Maggie says:

    As soon as you said, “sneak ingredient you’ll never expect!” I was like, “Spinach.”

    Which is why you’re awesome. I love your hidden (and not-so-hidden) veggie desserts!

    1. Haha I guess I should have said “you’ll never taste.” 🙂

  5. Lisa Ernst says:

    This is so creative! Its hard to imagine that the spinach is non-detectible, but I’ll take your word for it. I’ve been using cashews as my go-to raw pie ingredient so this will fit perfectly into my repertoire Love mint and chocolate so I’ll def have to try this one.

  6. Jacqui says:

    I live in Nanaimo, British Columbia! 🙂 These sound way healthier than the original. We actually have a whole “Nanaimo Bar Trail,” with different variations on the Nanaimo Bar, including a pedicure! http://www.nanaimo.ca/assets/Business/PDFs/NanaimoBarTrail.pdf

    1. Tani says:

      I am from a small country town in New Zealand, but for some bizzare and unknown reason grew up with Nanaimo bars! We could never pronounce the name, and it sort of degenerated into No-MY-Bars. Every birthday and Christmas my Mum would make a batch of No-my-Bar. A year or so back we took the family to BC and spent a week on Vancouver Island. I was DELIGHTED to learn the origin of No-My-Bar and was excited about doing the trail. Before I did, I bought one slice of it (which was the size of about 10 of my mothers slices) and managed to get through a third of it before I felt green. You guys make ’em rich!!

      I just made this version, hopefully no nausea this time around

  7. Being Canadian, Nanaimo bars are one of my absolute favourite winter treats! I’ve always wondered how they could be re-made vegan while still being delicious- this looks like a winner for sure!

  8. Laily says:

    Wow yesterday I was thinking of asking you for a Nanaimo bar recipe and you read my mind! These look great. I think I will make them for dessert tonight! Thanks for another great recipe

  9. Laily says:

    Maybe I will also try it with thin mint brownies as the bottom layer.

  10. Lisa says:

    I love that you added spinach to these. These are totally my type of bars.
    I live super close to Nanaimo, so these bars have a close meaning to me 😉

  11. Love the bright green–and love that it’s from spinach and not green food coloring!

  12. mochi says:

    What a nice cake, and love the idea to use raw spinach to catch the nice colour, thanks!
    May try it later. 🙂

  13. trajayjay says:

    “with one sneaky ingredient you will never suspect!”

    I was thinking avocado.

    But it was spinach

    Damn you!

  14. jill goldman says:

    these sound ammmmazing! can’t wait to try them! thanks, katie.

  15. Kimberly says:

    Love this, Katie! Once again, you’ve hit it out of the park. These will be attending my next play date with me.

  16. Jeni says:

    Ok honestly, these sort of terrify me. But I didn’t believe the black bean brownies would be good and they were great. So I suppose I trust you… I may actually make these soon… eek! 🙂

  17. Syd says:

    Hi Katie,

    These sound great! I discovered your blog last week and have been loving it. Just wanted to ask if there’s something you could do so the main photo of the recipe will show up when I save it to ziplist. I started using that for recipes since it works better than pinterest for me for cooking. When I add one of your recipes to ziplist all that shows up for the photo is the pinterest logo.

    Thank you!

    1. Hi Syd,
      Unfortunately I don’t really know much about Ziplist… maybe contact their help staff if they have one? Sorry I can’t be more helpful 😕

  18. Karly H says:

    Ah! That moment where you have all the ingredients except one… (in this case, spinach…) I can’t wait to make!

    1. Amanda says:

      Normal Nanaimo bars have a custard flavored center (made with custard powder, which is kind of like yellowy vanilla pudding mix), so I think you could probably skip the spinach, and maybe add more vanilla.

  19. Shayna says:

    I’m scared…… But I want to try it…..

  20. Claire says:

    Hey Katie! I have always loved your recipes! Would you ever consider doing a college dorm friendly edition? I’m a freshman, and would love to know some tips on healthy eating in college, or in any cafeteria setting. Just an idea! 🙂 I’ve been making your microwave oats for breakfast, and that’s been a great start, but I’d love some more ways to get creative in a tiny dorm kitchen, or even with items that are available in a cafeteria. 🙂

    1. Hi Claire! Here is a giant list of (mostly) college-friendly recipes on the site: http://chocolatecoveredkatie.com/2013/07/18/healthy-snack-recipes/

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