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Mint Chocolate Nanaimo Bars

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:

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.


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Published on August 26, 2013

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  1. Sarah says

    My friend made these and brought me some to try, and it was INCREDIBLE. I’ve never had nanaimo bars so I don’t have a frame of reference, but these are wonderful. The only problem is that they’re so delicious it’s hard to stop eating them. I’m making a batch for my brother today, hopefully they’ll be as delicious as my friend made them!

    • Sarah says

      Hey, just a little follow up! I set out all the ingredients for these, which I already had on hand, and became very confused. Looking over the ingredients, I couldn’t see any way for these bars to work. But I’d tried them already and loved them so I gave it a shot. Oh my god! It’s like magic! I used liquid stevia drops as the only sweetener and these bars are so incredible! The ingredients themselves are so off-putting to me, but they transform into awesome. I have no idea how it works. It’s like the blender works magic. Seriously. I’m not a health-food type of gal, and I LOVE these. Don’t taste healthy at all. 🙂

  2. Sophia @ Fit Healthy Girl says

    Is there something low sugar/ glycemic index that can be used in place of the dates?

  3. Hayley says

    As someone who lives in British Columbia and only 25 minutes away from nanaimo, these bars taste like a pretty great vegan version of the bar. I of course still love the original but I also love that these don’t have unsweetened coconut in them.

  4. Annie says

    Hi Katie! I just made these the other day because my casein allergy has gotten way worse and I love mint chocolate. I reposted your recipe and pictures of my final product here! I live in Cape Town and we don’t have mint extract or oil in stores, so I ended up cutting open the mint oil pills you can usually find in the pharmacy. I also added a few mint leaves. Worked perfectly! My man and I both LOVE these and I’ll be making them again soon. Thanks so much!

    • Victor says

      Hey Katherine, I also had GREAT success using whole peppermint leaves! If I make this again, I actually might just skip the spinach all together and use 2-3 cups peppermint leaves!! I just made it and used about 1.5 cups spinach and 1 1/4 cup peppermint leaves and I was so pleased with the strong peppermint flavor. I live in China and peppermint extract is hard to come by but I was able to come by peppermint leaves. Really lucky.

  5. Zuzana says

    Have you ever tried making these with fresh mint leaves instead of spinach? (Spinach is too much histamine for me).



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