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Homemade Lara Bars

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Delicious no-bake Homemade Lara Bars are Whole30 compliant and paleo. Packed with flavor from dates and cashews, they are the perfect bite. Variations include apple pie, cherry pie, and chocolate.

homemade lara bars in a blue glass bowl

 

Have you ever tried a Lara Bar?  They’re gluten-free, dairy-free, and vegan to boot.  But shockingly, they are not taste-free; they’re absolutely delicious.  I was dairy-free while nursing Jack, and I ate my fair share of Lara Bars, but at $1+ a pop, they’re not an everyday snack.

Are Lara Bars Whole30 Approved?

Yes, to an extent. Lara Bars are allowed on Whole30 as long as they do not contain vanilla extract, peanuts, or chocolate chips, and aren’t meant to be a dessert. From the Whole30 page:

“They’re an okay choice for on-the-go food—stash one in your gym bag, desk at work, or purse for those stuck in traffic/late night at the office/cross-country flight kinds of days.*

However, not all varieties of Larabars are Whole30 compliant. Those that contain vanilla extract, chocolate chips (which are sweetened with sugar), or peanut butter are out for your program. Here’s a list of compliant varieties, compiled by Whole30 Instagram follower @Gettin.Body.Back.Girl (and vetted by the Whole30 team).

Compliant: Apple Pie, Banana Bread, Carrot Cake, Cashew Cookie, Cherry Pie, Chocolate Coconut Chew, Coconut Cream Pie, Key Lime Pie, Lemon Bar, Pecan Pie, Pumpkin Pie.

Non-compliant: Blueberry Muffin, Cappuccino, Chocolate Chip Brownie, Chocolate Chip Cherry Torte, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough, Coconut Chocolate Chip, Gingerbread, Peanut Butter and Jelly, Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip, Peanut Butter Cookie, Snickerdoodle.

Leave the vanilla extract out and then yes they are. Don’t go crazy with these during a round of Whole30 as they’re meant to be an occasional snack and not considered a treat.” (source).

To make these Lara Bars Whole30 compliant, leave out the vanilla extract. Keeping the cocoa powder in is up to you as technically cocoa powder is Whole30 compliant…but these walk the line of SWYPO.

Here’s How to Make Them:

  1. Pulse nuts in a food processor until they are in small pieces. Some larger pieces will remain, and some of the pieces will be very small.
  2. Add the pitted dates, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Process until the mixture comes together in one large ball. Depending on the size of the dates, you may need to add a few more to get the mixture to come together.
  3. Pinch off a small bit of mixture and roll it into a ball about the size of a small ping pong ball. If desired, roll the ball in unsweetened shredded coconut.

Pro Tips/Recipe Notes:

  • Need to make more or less of the recipe? Click and slide the “servings” number on the recipe card and the ingredients will adjust as needed. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
  • Make sure you are using the “pulse” function of your food processor instead of the “on” or “blend”. This will make sure they are chopped into pieces instead of becoming nut butter.
  • Store in an air-tighter container on the counter. They will keep for weeks, but I guarantee you’ll eat them all prior to that.
Ok, so how much do these cost?  Let’s run the numbers!

Dates- $8.39 for a package.  It will make 4 batches, so $2.09
Homemade vanilla – like $.04
Nuts – $.97 from the bulk section
Total: $3.10. 
The recipe made 20 balls for a total of $.15 per ball.

Variations of Homemade Lara Bars:

  • Apple Pie Lara Bars (add cinnamon and dried apples)
  • Cherry Pie Lara Bars (dried cherries. Use unsweetened dried cherries to be Whole30 compliant)
  • Mexican Hot Chocolate Lara Bars

Homemade Lara Bars are stupidly easy and fast to make. Everyone loves them, they keep forever (but they’ll be gone within a few days), and they are free of refined sugar.

The base recipes of dates + nuts allow you to be super creative with new combinations. The possibilities are endless. The number of “balls in my mouth” jokes being made in the house?  Also endless.

Making this recipe or others?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #sustainablecooks. I can't wait to see your take on it!

homemade lara bars
Print
5 from 3 votes
Homemade Lara Bars
Prep Time
10 mins
Total Time
10 mins
 

Homemade Lara Bars are incredibly easy and super delicious. Just four ingredients gives you a healthy and fast gluten-free treat.

Course: Snack
Cuisine: American
Keyword: Homemade Lara Bars
Servings: 20 balls
Calories: 59 kcal
Author: Sarah
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pulse nuts in a food processor until they are in small pieces. Some larger pieces will remain, and some of the pieces will be very small.

  2. Add the pitted dates, cocoa powder, and vanilla. Process until the mixture comes together in one large ball. Depending on the size of the dates, you may need to add a few more to get the mixture to come together.

  3. Pinch off a small bit of mixture and roll it into a ball about the size of a small ping pong ball. If desired, roll the ball in unsweetened shredded coconut.

Recipe Notes

Make sure you are using the "pulse" function of your food processor instead of the "on" or "blend". This will make sure they are chopped into pieces instead of becoming nut butter.

 

Store in an air-tighter container on the counter. They will keep for weeks, but I guarantee you’ll eat them all prior to that.

Nutrition Facts
Homemade Lara Bars
Amount Per Serving
Calories 59 Calories from Fat 27
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 3g 5%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Potassium 85mg 2%
Total Carbohydrates 6g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 3g
Protein 1g 2%
Calcium 0.8%
Iron 2.2%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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30 comments on “Homemade Lara Bars”

  1. Great post, Jack and Sarah!! I think I have everything I need to make these, including the vanilla “booze”! 🙂

  2. Please don’t laugh at my question…

    I HATE the taste/consistency of dried fruit. Does it taste like dried fruit and have the consistency?

  3. E,HA HA IDIOT. j/k

    The consistency and taste is like cake batter or fudge. You will NOT taste “just” dried fruit

  4. Found this recipe via Real Food Wednesdays. I love Lara bars, so I’m definitely going to try these, thanks! –Shanon

  5. Wow, these sound great! Will try them soon.

  6. @ All About Us – link away! Glad to hear you enjoyed the “balls”.

  7. I made these this weekend and they are half gone. I have a huge sweet tooth and I love how “naughty” they taste, but know they aren’t! If you don’t care I am going to link this post up with my blog. Thanks for sharing this!!!

  8. Do I keep this in the freezer or fridge or just in a container on the counter? I don’t want it to go bad. How long will it be good for? Thanks!!

  9. Wow, sounds great, unless you’re diabetic! Those are barely more than cookies. The nuts help a little.

    That’s a LOT of sugar. Yes, it’s fruit, but fructose and sucrose will both spike your blood sugar levels, and leave you with a crash. Be moderate in your serving sizes, especially with the young’un.

    I would suggest adding some whey protein isolate to the mix, which will give your body something to hang onto as it processes all those carbs. This is pure protein, no lactose or any other stuff. If you are allergic, try soy, albumen, or another protein you are able to tolerate.

    You can also add a little inulin or psyllium husk powder. No taste or calories, lots of fiber. This will add bulk.

    Puffed grains, such as rice, barley, or wheat can also stretch the sugars out a bit.

  10. Ande,
    a) I never claim to be a nutritionist. If you’re looking for a blog with diabetic recipes, you’ll likely need to look elsewhere.

    b) puffed rice cereal is a simple carb which the body will process just the same as most sugars (yes, even dried fruit sugar). Plus it only has 2g of protein per serving. Why would you add a simple carb that will further spike your insulin, when the protein from the nuts is much much higher than cereal?

    c) whey protein seems like one of the biggest snake oil sells in history. Protein powder is a ripoff and only makes people think they’re making healthy choices.

  11. Great answer, Sarah.

  12. I can’t believe you called the dates cockroaches! I think the same and for the longest time, couldn’t eat them but just started too over the last few months! I was cracking up reading that! LOVE IT! and can’t wait to make some bars!
    Karen

  13. These are amazing and I am officially addicted 😉 Great on-the-go/short-on-time breakfast. Great snack for after a run. So easy to make and my kids love them too! Thank you for sharing!

  14. I’ve had this post open in a tab for about 2 days and finally tried a date to see if I could stomach them again. I can and I actually *like* them. So I made a half batch of these. They are WONDERFUL! I may have to dial it down on the cocoa powder a bit, though, if I’m only making a half batch (I may have tripped and spilled a bit too much into my processor). I also used local pecans instead of walnuts/almonds. Still works out well, in my opinion 🙂

  15. I stumbled upon your blog a few days ago while looking for a healthy fruit dip. I’ve had your tab open on my browser for a couple days since, going back every time I have a minute to read a new recipe or post. They all look so great! I hope to try these soon and I hope my boys will eat them. I love the peanut butter cookie Larabars, um, YUM! Thanks so much for your blog. I am trying to make the move to real foods for my family and you have so many great tips to help get us there! So far we have cut out most processed foods and maybe I’m being naive, but if I want junk food, I at least try to grab the organic or all natural ones. We’re almost completely free of HFCS. Yay!

  16. Oh, and I love your humor!

  17. So, these look awesome. As my hubby plows through 3 lara bars a day (yes, PER DAY), I really need to try making these. Do you keep them in the fridge or just on the counter?

    By the way, Target is the cheapest place we have been able to find real Lara Bars (usually $5 for a 5 pack). But still, I hate spending that much on a snack.

    Off to add these ingredients to the grocery list!

    • We keep them on the counter.

      Have you looked at Costco to see their cost? They also have TrioBars which are crazy good, and one day I will learn how to make them!

      • The closest Costco to us is over an hour away, and I was VERY disappointed with their selection after all the awesome things I had read from multiple blogs. I just think that Montana isn’t hip to the healthy eating thing.

        I don’t think I have heard of a TrioBar. I will have to look into this.

  18. How many balls does it take to equal a larabar? Like $0.15 times ___? 🙂 Haha I am also cheap! And do you think this would hold up if making a military goodie box or would heat make it melty? Thanks frugal mama!!

    • Depends on the size of your balls… 🙂 I would say 1.5-2 would equal a Lara Bar. I have shipped them from Seattle to Denver, and then the people in Denver flew to Portugal with them. They have also flown from Seattle to Denver, and Denver to Greece and held up well. The key would be to ship them in something with structure, like a cheap ziploc or rubbermaid plastic container.

  19. Looks amazing, I am planning to try them out soon for quick and easy snacks for my son who tends to get “hangry.” I tried pinning it, but the pinterest button did not work… not sure if it is an issue on their end or yours, but thought you would like to know.

    • Thanks for letting me know. I just tried it myself to double-check and it worked. Silly question, but were you already logged in to Pinterest? Hopefully, it is an isolated issue and not more widespread.

  20. Sarah — for the “flavor varieties,” you can add chocolate chips, that’s easy, but would you just _add_ cherries or substitute for anything like the dates? How about the apple pie ones, do you just add dried apples to the date recipe? Asking for a friend ; – ) . These look really good.

    • Please tell your “friend” that I add to the dates, not in lieu of. 🙂

      In some case, depending on how much additional dried fruit I am adding, I would up the cashews by a few tbsp.

  21. these are so good!

  22. I love your balls!

  23. They look like poop balls. Yummy poop balls, but poop balls just the same. 😉

  24. Your links to homemade vanilla do not work in this post just so ya know!