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These healthy vegan energy bars are like a homemade Larabar and the perfect snack, made with hazelnuts and tart cherries.

Healthy Vegan Energy Bars
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Ever tried your hand at homemade energy bars? With Larabars and Clif bars all the rage, we couldn’t resist trying a version made at home. These healthy vegan energy bars are similar to homemade Larabar, but with slightly more texture. Like a raw brownie (our go-to healthy dessert), they’re gluten-free and all natural, made mainly of Medjool dates and nuts. This version uses hazelnuts for a more complex flavor, and dried cherries for a tart note that compliments the sweet. They’re based off an idea from one of our favorite cookbooks, Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon.

Healthy Vegan Energy Bars

How to make vegan energy bars

Making these healthy vegan energy bars is very easy: all you’ll need is a food processor! You’ll need a large food processor for the size of this batch. Simply blend all the ingredients together, then add another handful of cherries and pulse to combine to get a little texture. Blending all the ingredients will form a sticky dough. Roll the dough onto a rimmed baking sheet and allow it to freeze for 45 minutes to harden, then cut it into squares and you’re ready to go!

A few notes on ingredients: it can sometimes be hard to find hazelnuts. If you can’t find them, almonds work too! It’s easiest and cheapest to buy them in the bulk section. A note on the type of dates: you’ll need Medjool dates for this one. Medjool dates are very large, sticky dates that have a caramel flavor and a soft texture. They’re essential to get the right consistency for these vegan energy bars. Medjool dates are becoming more and more common in grocery stores in the US. Sometimes they’re packaged with the dried fruit; other times they’re in bulk in the product section.

Looking for healthy snack recipes?

Outside of these healthy vegan energy bars, here are a few more healthy snacks we love:

This recipe is…

This healthy vegan energy bars recipe is vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, and dairy-free.

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Cherry Vegan Energy Bars

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5 from 1 review

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 1 hour
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 16 large bars or 32 small bars 1x


These healthy vegan energy bars are like a homemade Larabar and the perfect snack, made with hazelnuts and tart cherries.


  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 20 Medjool dates (2 cups)
  • 1 cup + ¼ cup tart dried cherries (with no sugar added), divided
  • Pinch kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • ½ cup old fashioned oats


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, add all ingredients except ¼ cup dried cherries. Turn on the food processor and process until the mixture sticks together without being crumbly, about 2 minutes. (The length of processing is important for the texture, so make sure to process long enough that the mixture is not crumbly, but not so long that it becomes too gooey.)
  2. Add the remaining ¼ cup dried cherries and pulse several times to combine, incorporating the larger cherry chunks into the mix.
  3. Turn out the mixture onto a rimmed baking sheet and press it into a flat layer of the desired thickness, then roll a rolling pin over the top to smooth it to a uniform thickness. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for about 45 minutes to harden. Then slice into bars of the desired size (we used 4” x 2”). Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator.


Adapted from Whole Grain Mornings by Megan Gordon Note: You can substitute almonds for the hazelnuts if they are not easily available, but we recommend using hazelnuts for their unique flavor.

  • Category: Snack
  • Method: Blended
  • Cuisine: American

About the authors

Sonja & Alex

Hi, we’re Alex and Sonja Overhiser, married cookbook authors, food bloggers, and recipe developers. We founded A Couple Cooks to share fresh, seasonal recipes and the joy of cooking! Our recipes are made by two real people and work every time.

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  1. Priyanka Pradhan says:

    Will they last if I wanted to take them for a trek ? About 5 days? Any packing suggestions?

    1. Alex Overhiser says:

      These should last 5 days. Just make sure to keep them wrapped and airtight.

      1. Priyanka Pradhan says:

        Thanks for replying Alex. Just made them. Taste pretty nice. I didn’t find mejul dates so they weren’t clumping no matter how much I processed them so added half a table spoon of maple syrup. And decorated with small chocolate chips. Now I hope they last for the trek!

  2. Umide Sacoor says:

    Good stuff. I replaced the dry cherries with dry cranberries. And, as my processor broke down recently, I hand to hand-mince the whole lot and use honey to blend it all together (though peanut butter would have been an option). Talk about old school!

    1. Sonja says:

      HAHA oh my goodness that sounds incredibly difficult to chop everything by hand! I’m glad to hear it worked! THANKS for trying it out :)

  3. amanda says:

    I have found that with many recipes for homemade energy balls/bars, that increasing the vanilla a bit or adding a few drops of water to the mixture help to bind them. Maybe decreasing the oats? These would probably work just as well with less or even omitting completely…

  4. Nadine says:

    Mine were a bit of a disaster…they did not stick together like you have shown in your photo but just fell apart after coming out of the freezer! I think it needs a little something else to help bind all the ingredients together….

    1. Alex says:

      Sorry they didn’t work out! Perhaps your medjool dates weren’t as sticky as ours.

  5. Tracy says:

    Look delicious! Do you use sweetened or unsweetened dried cherries? I can never find dried fruit without sugar added, and usually just avoid them.

    1. Alex says:

      We used bulk cherries from Whole Foods — I don’t think they have added sugar, but I’m not positive! I’ll check next time I visit.

  6. Jennifer says:

    Did you leave the skins on the hazelnuts? Seems a lot of recipes have you remove them because they can be bitter – but it looks like you may have left them on.

    1. Sonja says:

      Jennifer – yes, we left the skins on! We didn’t find that it added a bitter taste. Good question!

  7. Valentina @Hortus says:

    Aaaw guys! It’s a little dream of mine to make these…I never did because I don’t need energy bars! But homemade beats store bought, always (also, damn they’re expensive!)

    They’ll be a great alternative to airplane food. I know how bad it is, still I always eat it as part of the whole flying experience…eheh. My bad.

  8. Sandra Lea says:

    I just made these and the flavor is amazing. I love Megan’s cookbook. They did not hold together very well, I could hardly cut them into bars. They are still good to eat and sprinkle on things but do you have any suggestions for keeping them together? Thanks.

    1. Sonja says:

      Sandra – thanks for writing! The first time we made these, we also had the problem of them holding together. The next time we made them, we made sure to food process longer: around 2 to 3 minutes. It can come together into a ball, but not be so sticky that it has completely lost texture. Does that seem like it could have been your issue? When it is too dry, you can also add additional dates (sometimes I notice if the dates are too dry the texture will be dry). You can always put the mixture back in with a few more dates and see if it comes together. Let me know what you think!

  9. Christy@SweetandSavoring says:

    I would love to try these bars! I keep seeing energy bar recipes with dates in them, which I’ve never bought. No time like the present! And cherries are an uncommon, but yummy fruit choice! :)

  10. molly yeh says:

    my food processor LIVES for making me energy bars. and by me i mean my man because he gobbles them up so fast.

  11. Tiffany says:

    I have never tried to make my own bars, but you have just inspired me to try! Love the new look of your blog!

  12. Jessi G says:

    If only i had a food processor D;! Date bars make awesome breakfasts, I can see myself eating thees with fruit int he morning!

  13. Joanna says:

    I MUST try these!!! Hazelnuts are one of my favorite nuts and through cherries into it must be just amazing! Thank you!!! I just need to start running more to be able to utilize the delicious fuel:)

  14. Katie @ Whole Nourishment says:

    I am literally drooling over these. This hazelnut/cherry combo is heaven. Am flying to NY for a conference tomorrow and so wish I had time to make them. Instead packing a trail mix (also good ;-), but definitely going to try these bars soon!

    1. Katie @ Whole Nourishment says:

      Unless soaked, I prefer to not eat raw oats. Have you tried coconut flour or anything else to substitute for oats in these?

  15. Lane | Green Spirit Adventures says:

    These look so delicious! Homemade energy bars are one of my favorite snacks. I’m definitely going to be giving these a try soon!

  16. Katrina @ Warm Vanilla Sugar says:

    The new design is SO fabulous guys!! Also, these bars look perfect!

  17. Matt Robinson says:

    Sonja and Alex, I love all that you do! And the combo of cherry and hazelnut in these bars is so perfect. Thanks!

  18. Elana @ The Inventive Vegetarian says:

    These look AMAZING. I am a fan of all things hazelnut and will definitely have to try these out. Thanks for sharing!

  19. CakePants says:

    These sound awesome, and it just so happens that I have a bunch of hazelnuts I’ve been looking to use up! I love that these bars are made from *real* foods, unlike so many of the store-bought energy bars whose ingredient lists read like chemistry labs.

  20. Sina @ the kosher spoon says:

    Such a perfect snack! I’ve made these with cashews and cocoa powder as well. I like the dried cherries idea.

  21. Michelle says:

    Yum! Ever since I tried your raw brownie recipe, I have been incorporating Medjool dates and cocoa powder into my oat bars. Now you have me wanting to try hazelnuts.

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