These strawberry cream bars are a no bake gluten free and vegan dessert with a cashew cream center and chocolate topping.
So on day 24 of this self-inflicted paleo challenge, shit hit the fan. And by that I mean I spent the day in a hummus factory and came face to face with two dozen gourmet donuts. I’ll let you guess how that went…
Truth be told actually, I was pretty proud of myself in the donut situation and only tried like 1/8th of this amazing toffee crunch flavor (it was amazing) but when presented with the opportunity to sample the entire line of Sabra’s hummus, I didn’t even have to think twice about breaking up with paleo for the day.
If there’s one thing in paleo that I disagree with anyway it’s the whole legume thing. I understand and have seen the first hand effects of grains and dairy on my body but ain’t nothing wrong with some beans.
Beans are technically a vegetable and I will eat as much of them as I damn well please thank you very much. Which is exactly what I did, eating probably about half my weight in the stuff throughout the day.
These strawberry cream bars? These are not paleo. I made these exactly 2 days before starting my paleo challenge and since 3 of them are still sitting in my freezer, every time I open it I cry a little for not having the foresight to make that bottom layer oat-less so I could’ve enjoyed them over the past 3 weeks.
I’m not gonna lie, there was one night I was so desperate for dessert, I scraped the bottom off and totally ate the strawberry cream center and chocolate top.
While I couldn’t be further from vegan if I tried, I have this weird obsession with cashew cream, the vegan go-to in desserts. The cashew strawberry center in these is on point, people (or shall I say on fleek?).
So much so that I have plans to recreate this bar in a protein packed tart cherry version very soon and I can assure you one thing, they’ll be paleo this time around.
No Bake Strawberry Cream Bars
For the base
- 1 cup oats
- 6 pitted medjool dates
- 1/4 cup almonds
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Pinch kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon nondairy milk
For the cream filling
- 1 cup hulled and halved strawberries
- 1 cup plain unroasted cashews that have been soaked in water for at least 1 hour, drained
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil
For the topping
- 1-1/2 tablespoons coconut oil melted
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
- Cacao nibs optional
- Line an 8 x 8-inch baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a food processor, combine the oats, dates, almonds, vanilla and salt. Process until finely chopped. Add the milk, and continue processing until the mixture comes together. Press the mixture into the bottom of the baking dish, creating an even base layer.
- Add all the ingredients for the cream filling to the food processor, and process until smooth and creamy, scraping down the sides as necessary. Spread the cream on top of the base in the baking dish. Freeze for 10 minutes.
- In a small bowl, mix together all the topping ingredients until fully incorporated and smooth. Remove the dish from the freezer, and pour the chocolate mixture on top. Tilt the dish so that the chocolate covers the cream evenly. Sprinkle a handful of cacao nibs on top, if using.
- Freeze until completely set, about 3 hours. Remove from freezer, and let sit for 5 minutes before slicing into squares.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition information can vary for a variety of reasons. For the most precise nutritional data use your preferred nutrition calculator based on the actual ingredients you used in the recipe.
Gina Matsoukas is the writer, founder, photographer and recipe developer of Running to the Kitchen — a food website focused on providing healthy, wholesome recipes using fresh and seasonal ingredients as much as possible. Her work has been featured in numerous media outlets both digital and print, including MSN, Huffington post, Buzzfeed, Women’s Health and Food Network.