Healthy Vegan Date Flapjacks
Vegan date flapjacks are soft, sweet and chewy, with a subtle nutty tahini flavour. They’re a great healthy snack option, and contain no added sugar or dairy. Enjoy them as an afternoon treat, or as an on-the-go bite between meals.
What are date flapjacks?
Flapjacks are a quintessential British treat, usually made from oats, golden syrup and butter. In the US, they might be known as ‘oat bars’ or ‘granola bars’.
These are certainly not American flapjacks, which I’m told is another word for pancakes! These healthy vegan flapjacks are nothing like pancakes, but I’m certain my US readers will love them too.
The perfect flapjack is not too greasy or sweet, neither is it dry or bland. It’s a delicate balance, to make a flapjack which isn’t too dense nor crumbly.
Healthy date flapjacks give you a perfect slow release energy that will keep you going between meals. They’re also great for outdoor adventures, camping, days out and picnics.
This recipe uses store cupboard ingredients, so you can whip up a batch whenever you fancy a healthy snack.
Are flapjacks healthy?
You wouldn’t normally think of flapjacks when coming up with healthy snack ideas, as they are usually laden with butter and added sugar. Making healthy flapjacks seemed like quite the challenge.
Well, these flapjacks did it! The sweetness comes from dates, both blended into the liquid ingredients, and left in chunks throughout the flapjacks. Dates are sticky and sweet and give some great texture.
Tahini is used as a healthy fat to help keep the date flapjacks together. It is made from toasted and blended sesame seeds, and provides a lovely flavour (it reminds me of halva!).
I’ve been able to remove all of the processed sugar and butter, and replace them with wholesome ingredients. The sweetness comes from dates, the stickiness from tahini, with chewy oats and chunks of dates throughout.
Homemade vegan flapjacks are so much better than store bought, as you know exactly what is going into them. Oats are a great healthy ingredient, as they’re a whole grain and an excellent source of fibre.
Are dried dates healthy?
There is some question over whether or not dried fruit is healthy. Yes, a piece of fresh fruit is certainly healthier for you, as the volume of fruit reduces when dried, but it still contains the same amount of sugar.
That does however mean that they are also dense in nutrition and fiber. In this situation, where it is the option of refined sugar vs sugar from dried dates- dates are definitely the winner.
Why I love vegan flapjacks
- They are so easy to make! All you need to do is mix a few ingredients together, press the mixture into a tin, and bake.
- They’re full of fibre and make a filling snack with plenty of slow release energy.
- Processed sugars are replaced with natural sugars, and butter is replaced with good-for-you tahini.
- These date flapjacks are naturally gluten free.
- They’re freezer friendly so make a great grab and go snack.
- Eating one of these feels like a real treat!
What ingredients are needed for date flapjacks?
Traditionally, flapjacks are oats, butter, golden syrup, and extra brown sugar! This healthy flapjack recipe uses oats, but none of the other unhealthy ingredients.
Oats– I would suggest rolled oats for this recipe. Jumbo rolled oats are ok, but don’t hold together as well. Don’t use quick cook or instant oats, as they won’t have any texture. If you are celiac, make sure your oats are certified gluten free.
Dates– These are chopped up into chunks and mixed through the sugar free flapjacks.
Mixed seeds– For some crunch and an extra nutritious boost, stir some seeds through the dry mix.
Baking soda– This helps to keep the sticky date flapjacks fluffy and soft.
Salt– A bit of salt always brings out the best in sweet recipes.
The wet ingredients are blended together to make a sticky mixture. I would suggest that you don’t try any of this straight from the blender, as it’s ridiculously moreish!
Dates– Dried pitted dates are so budget friendly. They can be a little too dry at times, but we are going to soak them in boiling water to soften them before blending. Medjool dates make for the stickiest date flapjack recipe.
Water– To soak the dates and thin down the wet mixture to the right consistency.
Tahini– You can find this in most supermarkets, or you can make your own.
Coconut oil– A little bit of oil stops the dairy free flapjacks from being too claggy.
Vanilla extract– A hint of vanilla adds a subtle sweetness to the recipe.
To make this easy flapjack recipe you will need a large mixing bowl. You will also need a blender or food processor to make the wet mix. A stick blender or bullet blender will be fine for this job, as long as it is high powered enough to cut through the sticky dates.
You will also need an 8 inch square baking tin, and greaseproof paper to line.
How to make date flapjacks
10 minutes before you begin, soak 150g of dates in boiling water.
Preheat the oven to 180c/350f, and line your tin with baking paper.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, chopped dates, mixed seeds, baking soda, and salt. Stir until they are combined.
To a blender, add the tahini, coconut oil, vanilla extract, soaked dates, and 60ml of the soaking water. Blend on high until the mix is mostly smooth.
Tip the wet mix into the dry ingredients, then stir them together until the wet mixture completely coats the dry. If it’s a little too sticky, add some extra oats 1 tablespoon at a time. If it’s too dry, add a splash of extra date soaking water.
Press the mixture into your lined baking tin, creating an even layer. You can use the bottom of a glass to press the mix firmly into the tin.
Place the tin into the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the date flapjacks are golden brown.
The flapjacks should still be slightly soft when they come out of the oven, but don’t worry, they will firm up as they cool. Once you can handle them, remove from the baking tin and transfer to a wire rack.
These healthier flapjacks also make great snacks for a picnic, camping or as lunchbox treats.
My top tips for flapjacks which hold together
The key to sugar free flapjacks holding together is packing the mixture down really firmly into the pan. I would recommend using a glass for this, as the bottom of a glass is the perfect smooth, flat surface. This works best if the glass is cool, as the mixture won’t stick to it this way
I would also recommend cutting through them partially whilst they are still warm, then cutting all the way through once they are cooled completely. This ensures that they don’t break apart and crumble.
Ingredient substitutes or additions
Spices– Add some spices to your dry mix for an extra boost of flavour. How about cinnamon or mixed spice? Cocoa powder also works well for chocolate flapjacks.
Nuts– Chopped nuts work really well as a substitute for seeds. I would recommend pecans, pistachios or cashews. Make sure you chop them well otherwise they might cause the date flapjacks to fall to pieces.
Dried fruits– Use other dried fruit as mix ins, such as raisins, cranberries or cherries. You can use these as a replacement for the chopped dates, or add in a few extra.
Chocolate– Dark chocolate chips are delicious in these dairy free flapjacks. Mix them through or sprinkle them on top towards the end of cooking. Opt for bittersweet or a lower sugar option.
Nut butter– You can swap the tahini for your favourite nut butter. Smooth almond, cashew or peanut butter all work well.
These flapjacks will keep for up to 5 days in an airtight container. Storing them at room temperature is absolutely fine, but you could store them in the fridge to keep them fresher for longer.
If you want to enjoy your healthy flapjacks warmed, just pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time until they reach the desired temperature.
You can also freeze the date flapjacks for up to 3 months in an airtight container. They defrost quickly at room temperature, so pull one out in the morning and it will be defrosted in time for your afternoon snack. Likewise, you can pop them in the microwave to quickly defrost.
Healthy Vegan Date Flapjacks
- Blender or food processor
- 8 inch square baking tin
- Greaseproof paper
- 240 g rolled oats
- 100 g dried dates chopped
- 50 g mixed seeds
- ½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ tsp salt
- 150 g dried pitted dates
- 100 g tahini
- 2 tbsp coconut oil melted
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 10 minutes before you begin, soak 150g of dates in boiling water. Preheat the oven to 180°c/350°f, and line the tin with baking paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine the oats, chopped dates, mixed seeds, baking soda, and salt. Stir until they are combined.
- To a blender, add the tahini, coconut oil, vanilla extract, soaked dates, and 60ml/¼ cup of the soaking water. Blend on high until the mix is mostly smooth.
- Tip the wet mix into the dry ingredients, then stir them together until the wet mixture completely coats the dry. If it’s a little too sticky, add some extra oats 1 tablespoon at a time. If it’s too dry, add a splash of extra date soaking water.
- Press the mixture into your lined baking tin, creating an even layer. You can use the bottom of a glass to press the mix firmly into the tin.
- Place the tin into the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until the date flapjacks are golden brown.
- The flapjacks should still be slightly soft when they come out of the oven, but don’t worry, they will firm up as they cool. Once you can handle them, remove from the baking tin and transfer to a wire rack.
Made this recipe?
I’d love to know how you got on- let me know how it turned out in the comments below!
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