Raw Brownies and 30 Healthy & Whole Desserts

In Desserts/ Recipes

Raw Brownies | A Couple Cooks

“Healthy desserts” is something of an oxymoron, we know. But right now, it’s the best term we have to describe desserts that are made of whole, nourishing foods. We’re all for splurging on standard desserts on occasion, but we’ll admit — sometimes a meal needs a sweet ending and we’re all out of our splurge quota for the week. So most often, we try to tailor the desserts we eat so that they contain nourishing whole foods. They’re better on the stomach and leave us feeling energized instead of sluggish.

We’ve devised the term “healthy & whole” to describe this type of dessert. What we look for in a healthy & whole dessert recipe is that it contains mostly real foods (like nuts, fruit, cocoa powder, milk, even chocolate on occasion), if possible contains natural sugars (like honey, maple syrup, or dates), and is relatively light on the refined sugar, refined flour, and butter (within reason).

What we don’t call a healthy & whole dessert are those not-too-healthy recipes with “healthy” ingredients added (like adding simply black beans to brownies or zucchini to chocolate chip cookies), or desserts that are categorized as healthy based entirely on calorie count and/or unreasonably tiny servings.

One of our first ventures into healthy desserts was the raw brownie, inspired by My New Roots. The thought that you could make a treat to satisfy your sweet tooth made only of dates and nuts changed our whole paradigm. We decided the photograph from our original post on the raw brownie needed a bit of updating, so we’ve re-photographed it here, updated the recipe, and added a list of the top 10 healthy & whole desserts from our site, as well as 30 extras from around the web.

Did you make this recipe?

If you make these raw brownies, we’d love to hear how they turned out. Leave a comment below or share a picture and mention @acouplecooks on Facebook or Instagram.

This recipe is…

Vegetarian, gluten-free, vegan, plant-based, dairy-free, egg-free, refined sugar-free, naturally sweet


Raw Brownies + 30 Healthy Desserts

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  • Author: a Couple Cooks
  • Yield: 10 to 12 brownies


  • 12 Medjool dates
  • 1 cup walnuts
  • ½ cup cocoa powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt or sea salt
  • ¼ cup slivered almonds


  1. Remove the pits from the dates.
  2. In the bowl of a food processor, place 1 cup walnuts. Process on high until the nuts are finely ground. Add ½ cup cocoa powder and ⅛ teaspoon kosher salt. Pulse to combine.
  3. Turn on the food processor. As the processor is running, add the dates one at a time. Once all the dates have been added, the mixture should be crumbly but easily formable. Add 1/4 cup slivered almonds and pulse several times to combine.
  4. In a small, square dish, press the dough into the desired thickness and shape (even if it does not fill the entire pan). If desired, place in the refrigerator or freezer for 15 minutes to firm up. Store refrigerated for about a week, or frozen for several months.


Adapted from My New Roots

Do you have a favorite wholesome dessert recipe? Let us know!

Healthy + Whole Desserts | A Couple Cooks

Our top 10 favorite healthy & whole desserts from A Couple Cooks

1. Raw Brownies (pictured above; recipe below) 

2. Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse

Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse (4 Ingredients) | A Couple Cooks

3. Flourless Chocolate Cakes

Flourless Chocolate Almond Cakes | A Couple Cooks

4. Triple Berry Raw Brownie Parfait

Triple Berry Raw Brownie Parfait | A Couple Cooks

5. Strawberries with Balsamic, Greek Yogurt, and Mint (not quite in season right now, but one of our favorites ever

Strawberries with Balsamic, Greek Yogurt, and Mint | A Couple Cooks

6. Dark Chocolate Coconut Milk Ice Cream

Dark Chocolate Coconut Ice Cream | A Couple Cooks

7. Roasted Bananas with Toasted Coconut

Roasted Bananas with Toasted Coconut | A Couple Cooks

8. Five-Spice Roasted Pears

Five Spice Roasted Pears | A Couple Cooks

9. Healthy Chocolate Milkshake

Healthy Chocolate Milkshake | A Couple Cooks

10. Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Clusters

Dark Chocolate Pistachio Cranberry Clusters | A Couple Cooks

20 More from Around the Web

Frozen Chocolate Bananas from Love and Lemons

Berries and Coconut Cream from Love and Lemons

Raw Almond Cacao Nib Bites from Oh Ladycakes

Dark Chocolate Pomegranate Mousse from Oh My Veggies

Vegan Fudgsicles from Vegetarian Ventures

Raw Carrot Cake with Citrus Frosting from The First Mess

Honey and Wild Blueberry Smoothie from Pinch of Yum

Prosecco Poached Peaches and Coconut Yogurt from Girl Versus Dough

Peanut Butter Bites from Sprouted Kitchen

Watermelon Granitas with Coconut Whipped Cream from How Sweet It Is

Black Bean Chocolate Chili Cherry Cookies from My New Roots

Grilled Pears with Cinnamon Drizzle from A House in the Hills

Vegan Salted Dark Chocolate Nut Bars from Dolly and Oatmeal on Food 52

Yogurt Brulee from Not Without Salt

Raw Vegan Banana Cream Pie from Minimalist Baker

Baked Figs with Honey, Ginger, and Vanilla from London Bakes

Ricotta Pear Stacks from Food Loves Writing

Avocado Chocolate Pudding from Edible Perspective

Strawberry and Quinoa Parfait from Foodie Crush

Peach Crisps from Cookie and Kate 



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  • Reply
    March 12, 2014 at 2:21 am

    I should have looked at this tomorrow since it is about time to go to bed and I am getting serious dessert cravings now. :p Your previous raw brownie recipe was the first of your recipes that I made. This was a nice reminder that I should make it again. :)

  • Reply
    Shelly @ Vegetarian 'Ventures
    March 12, 2014 at 8:28 am

    Yes! This is the best kind of round up – I’m in love with those dark chocolate pistachio clusters (so colorful, petite, and delicious looking!). I find it so great to have so many wonderful resources like the recipes you mentioned above to curb sweet cravings without compromising health. There is nothing more satisfying than enjoying a dessert that you know you are retaining tons of nutrients from in the form of dates, nuts, and spices.

  • Reply
    Katrina @ WVS
    March 12, 2014 at 8:37 am

    Oh my goodness, what a list!! Love the look of these brownies too…yum!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2014 at 10:31 am

    Love this approach – we’ve been pretty good had just having plain yoghurt with a splash of honey or a couple of squares of dark chocolate when the sweets craving strikes but I’m excited to branch out a bit more but still keep thing slight + nourishing!

  • Reply
    Stephanie @ Girl Versus Dough
    March 12, 2014 at 10:46 am

    See, now I want to eat all of these all at once for dessert… still healthy, right? ;)

    P.S. Thanks so much for the shout-out!

  • Reply
    March 12, 2014 at 12:55 pm

    Thanks for including our cream pie! Those brownies look fab. Cheers!

  • Reply
    Dixya @ Food, Pleasure, and Health
    March 12, 2014 at 5:02 pm

    thanks for this roundup..I love to end my meals on a sweet note and healthy desserts are always the way to go :)

  • Reply
    March 13, 2014 at 3:44 pm

    What a line-up, love it!

  • Reply
    March 15, 2014 at 9:32 am

    I’m not sure this is what you intended to do with this post, but Thursday night I made flourless chocolate cakes and last night the dark chocolate coconut ice cream…hmm…which one should I make tonight?

  • Reply
    Elizabeth Yelle
    May 2, 2014 at 1:18 pm

    Your raw brownies are a revelation. I’ve been making them for a couple of months now and each time, I am still amazed at how good they are! I like them more than regular brownies (partially because they are just as delicious and because I feel great about eating them). Thanks so much for these!

  • Reply
    August 15, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Would these work with another nut? Husband is allergic to walnuts :(

    • Reply
      August 15, 2014 at 5:39 pm

      Almonds should work about the same! You may need to adjust the quantity slightly :)

  • Reply
    Brianna Franzese
    June 20, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I make these date/nut bites all the time. Our favorite. For the kids I usually use much less cocao powder. Even for me I could. When I am triple batches it just costs less to us less cocao and a little does go a long way. Thanks for the awesome recipe.

    • Reply
      June 21, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      I am SO glad to hear this! They’re a staple in our house as well :) Many times people say kids take some getting used to on these (then love them!) — good idea using less cocoa powder!

  • Reply
    Brianna Franzese
    June 20, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    Oh and I store them in the freezer usually and just grab when we need. :)

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