Decadent vegan 7-layer bars with an almond-oat crust, date caramel, coconut butter and flakes, chocolate chips, and peanut butter! Easy to make, gluten-free, and insanely delicious!
Have you ever had a 7-layer bar? If not, have you even lived?
When I was working at a coffee shop many years ago, the baker would often make 7-layer bars to sell, and I’ve had it in the back of my mind for a long time to recreate them “healthier” and vegan. Today is that day, friends. Let’s bake!
The base for this decadent 10-ingredient dessert is an almond-oat crust naturally sweetened with dates and maple syrup that originated from our Creamy Vegan Lemon Bars!
The result is a crispy, salty, slightly sweet crust that makes the perfect foundation for these ooey, gooey bars.
- 1 cup (90 g) gluten-free rolled oats
- 1 cup (112 g) raw almonds (organic when possible // we don't recommend sprouted almonds, which burn easily in the oven)
- Scant 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 2 Tbsp (30 ml) maple syrup
- 2 medjool dates (14 g), pitted (if dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes then drain)
- 3 Tbsp (45 ml) melted coconut oil*
- 1 cup packed pitted dates (200 g), pitted (if dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes then drain)
- 1-2 Tbsp (15-30 ml) water
- Pinch sea salt
- 3 cups (240 g) unsweetened coconut flakes, divided (process 2 1/2 cups (175 g) into coconut butter, reserve 1/2 cup (35 g) for topping)
- 3/4 cup (75 g) chopped raw pecans (or other nut or seed of choice)
- 1/3 cup (85 g) creamy salted peanut butter (or sub other nut/seed butter of choice)
- 2/3 cup (80 g) dairy-free chocolate chips (we prefer Enjoy Life brand // or sub cacao nibs for a less rich dessert)
- Prepare crust by preheating oven to 350 degrees F (176 C). Line an 8x8-inch baking dish with parchment paper and extend paper up over the edges.
- Add oats, almonds, and sea salt to a high-speed blender or food processor. Pulse into a fine meal.
- Add maple syrup, dates, and coconut and and pulse until a "dough" forms that holds together when you squeeze it between your fingers. If it appears too dry, add more dates or water for moisture.
- Add crust to the parchment-lined pan and use your hands to spread it into an even layer, pushing the crust up to the edges of the pan so it contains the filling well. To achieve a uniform layer, cover a flat-bottom object (such as a drinking glass) with parchment paper and press down firmly.
- Bake for 12 minutes. Then remove from oven and set aside.
- In the meantime, prepare date paste by adding dates to a food processor and blending until small bits remain or a ball forms. Then add water 1 Tbsp (15 ml) at a time until a spreadable caramel paste forms. Add a pinch of salt and blend once more.
- Begin layering: To the crust, add date paste and then pecans, peanut butter, coconut butter, coconut flakes, and lastly chocolate chips.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes more or until the edges are golden brown and the toppings are slightly toasted. Be careful not to burn the coconut flakes.
- Remove from oven to cool for at least 20 minutes. Then carefully cut and serve warm. Otherwise, let cool until the chocolate and coconut butter are firm - 6 hours or overnight. To speed cooling time, you can also chill in the freezer or refrigerator. Store leftovers covered in the refrigerator up to 5 days or in the freezer up to 1 month.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate for 1 of 24 bars calculated with the oil (I cut them into 9 bars for photos, but they’re quite rich and we would recommend smaller servings).
Did You Try This Recipe?
Let us know how it went! Comment and share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #JOINTHEALMX