Healthy oat and flax date squares

Healthy oat and flax date squares with a crunchy whole grain crust and a gooey sugar-free date filling made with no dairy, eggs, or nuts!

Healthy date squares with a crunchy oat and flax crust and a gooey sugar-free date filling made with no dairy, eggs, or nuts!

This past weekend was a pretty low key one. The weather was gorgeous on Friday, so JZ and I went on a bike ride to the farmers market to pick up some ingredients for lunch and dinner.  I also picked up a gorgeous cauliflower that I’m making risotto with this week as well as the last of the season’s local blackberries – I can’t believe summer is really over!

The skies opened up once we got back, so we spent the rest of the rainy afternoon cozied up with some blankets and a vanilla scented candle while he did some work and I edited these pictures.

After a dinner of pork tenderloin Diane (here is the recipe – it was pretty good!) and falling asleep on the couch in the last 5 minutes of the Leafs game against Detroit, we were in bed by just after 10 pm.

Gosh, that makes me sound old. And my obsession with date squares just adds to my premature senior citizen status. I mean, before getting into blogging, I’d never met anyone under 70 who likes date squares. I love them though! Buttery, crumbly, gooey, and sweet – they’ve got all the components of a perfect dessert.

My version is a healthier twist on the classic dessert, based upon a date flax bar I had at Borough Market in England. These healthy oat and flax date squares are low in added sugar and fat, making them healthy enough to be an everyday snack. Plus they’re free of dairy, eggs, and nuts, so they’re a safe choice for allergies. But the real selling point is all the fibre in these guys! With oats, flax, and dates, there’s tons of the good stuff in these squares to help move things along – if you know what I mean.

… I really do make myself sound old, don’t I?

Healthy date squares with a crunchy oat and flax crust and a gooey sugar-free date filling made with no dairy, eggs, or nuts!

Healthy oat and flax date squares
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Healthy oat and flax date squares with a crunchy whole grain crust and a gooey date filling. Dairy free, egg free, nut free. Vegan option.
Author:
Yield: 16 squares
Ingredients
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • ½ cup ground flax
  • ¼ cup melted coconut oil
  • 4 tbsp honey
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ + ⅛ tsp salt
  • 1.5 cups pitted Medjool dates (about 15 dates)
  • ¼ cup boiling water
Instructions
  1. Before getting started, preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a 8x8" square baking pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a food processor, combine the oats and flax, and process until the oats are slightly ground (don't grind them into a flour). Then add the melted coconut oil, honey, vanilla, and salt, and process until everything is combined. Remove mixture from the food processor into bowl, then take about ⅔ of the mixture press it down firmly into the baking pan to form the bottom crust. I spent at least 5 minutes making sure it was very firmly pressed down.
  3. Give your food processor a quick wipe if needed to remove any crumbs, then add the Medjool dates and boiling water. Process until it is a soft, sticky paste. You may need to add more or less water - you want it to be a consistency that you can spread on top of the crust, but isn't too liquidy. When it is a good consistency, carefully spread it on top of the oat and flax crust.
  4. Then take the remaining ⅓ of the crust mixture and sprinkle it evenly on top of the date layer, pressing it down lightly.
  5. Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 25-30 minutes, then remove and let the pan cool on top of a rack before removing. Cut into 16 squares and store in an airtight container in the fridge for 2 weeks.
Notes
To make recipe vegan, replace honey in crust with brown rice syrup.

Healthy date squares with a crunchy oat and flax crust and a gooey sugar-free date filling made with no dairy, eggs, or nuts!

Looking for more healthier dessert recipes? You might like:

Gluten free & vegan oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies

Vegan oatmeal raisin chocolate chip cookies

Vegan jamoca almond fudge cookies

Healthy mocha almond fudge cookies that are vegan and made with whole wheat flour!

Leave a Reply

  1. I grew up eating dates (Persians claim to make the best ones…I’m bringing a stack to T town so you can be the judge) so got burnt out as I got older, but I tried something like a Fig Newton with dates in it. It was pretty epic. Then I found out the date filling had only like 1% dates in it. Hi 5 to an early bed time. Sometimes.

  2. Hahaha I know, i feel the same way when I tell anyone about using dates! Next it will be prunes….then you really know you are old :P These do sound good, and dates do actually taste amazing, so I am sure they would be great. I will have to save them, as I am avoiding fiber till after the race, but pinning for later :)

  3. I’m lucky if I make it to 10 p.m. on a Friday night. Normally, I’m half asleep on the couch next to the Hubby by then. These date bars sound great, and I like anything which keeps things moving, if you know what I’m saying. ;)

  4. I LOVE DATE SQUARES! I’m not 70, but I know what you mean, I really do hehe. I haven’t had one in years because I kind of forgot about them. I think they need to come back asap. These are going on my holiday baking list for sure! PS. also like that the filling is just dates because they’re so intensely sweet on their own–like candaaaay ;)

    • That’s what I love about dates – they’re like nature’s candy! I can barely keep them in my pantry long enough to bake with them because I’m always just eating them on their own!

  5. I think we all have a secret love for date squares ;)
    I always use butter, but actually coconut oil seems like a great idea because coconut+date is quite the match! Thanks for sharing your “healthied” recipe for date squares!

    • These definitely have a different flavour than date squares made with butter (which are also fantastic), but I quite like it! I treat these more like a granola bar than a dessert.

  6. I’m on the most RIDICULOUS date kick right now! Like… you don’t even want to know how fast I’m going through the huge 2 lb. boxes that I buy in Costco :lol: They’re just so perfect, though… Sweet, gooey, caramelly, and actually good for you. Love these, lady!

  7. These look amazing – saving the recipe for later! I love catching up on all the blog posts I’ve missed over the past week – we had pork tenderloin for dinner tonight too AND we’re sitting on the couch with wine and the Jets vs Nashville game #twinning

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    • Hi Diane, I don’t typically include nutrition information for recipes in my posts, but I put the recipe into a recipe analyzer and this is what it told me when it is cut into 16 squares: 178 calories, 6 g fat, 4 g fibre, 3 g protein, and 19 g sugar per square. Hope that helps!

  10. You definitely don’t have to be over 70 to love a date square. The key is that it has to be made just right. These look amazing (and like they were made just right!) Love the healthy ingredients you used (does that make ME sound like I’m 70?? ;))

    • Hi Mary! The best substitution for coconut oil in these bars would be butter becase it has similar characteristics to coconut oil when cooled (ie. they both harden). I don’t know if any vegetable oils would work quite as well. Hope that helps!

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  14. Looks delicious and was anxious to try it since my family and I love date squares, especially this healthy version! Unfortunately, after carefully pressing the oat mixture, as I spread the date paste (which was quite spreadable), the oats were sticking up to the spatula, which became very messy!!! Fortunately, a bulb lit in my brain and I then emptied everything in a large bowl, formed them into balls, rolled them in instant oats and baked them as cookies!!!! It was delicious with a nutty taste!!! Oopsy, I even added some Chia seeds!!! Certainly a No-guilt cookie!!!

    • Hi Rashieda, I’m so sorry these didn’t work out for you! I think next time you need to make sure you press down the oat mixture VERY firmly into the pan. Anyway, that was a great idea to make them into cookies – I’m sure they were delicious!

  15. Hello, Chelsea,

    thank you so much for sharing this recipe with me. I have them cooling as I write and am going to take them by my older son’s TCM school, where he and his classmates can test them. I am sure they won’the touch the sides on the way down.

  16. These were very good, thank you so much, and so easy to make (I used my blender). My husband loved them but thought they should be thicker so I am going to double recipe next time and use the same size pan for thicker ones.

    • Hi Julie,

      Thanks for the feedback – I’m so glad you like them! I actually haven’t tried freezing them, but if you wrap them up tightly, I don’t see why it wouldn’t work. Let me know how freezing them turns out! :)

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  19. Can I just say WOW? This is amazing! I had some Paleo Fig Newtons on my radar, too, so when I got home to make them, I ended up grabbing the dates I had planned for these, and started squeezing my Fig Newtons’ lemon into the dates. I had to roll with it. Turned out freaking awesome, though!

    So, if you ‘accidentally’ a whole lemon into the date mix, don’t panic! Just turns out extra tangy.

    Actually got a comment from my guinea pigs that ‘No, seriously, these are REALLY good.’

    My grandma is a big fan of date pinwheels, and I am honestly considering mailing her one of theseall wrapped up with the recipe attached.

    Thank you for this awesome, healthier version of a classic treat!

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