Despite having a healthy image, most oatmeal cookies and granola bars are loaded with sugar and fat. While a granola bar may be great for an athlete that needs the extra calories, most of us don’t fall into that bucket. That’s why I came up with these vegan, gluten-free cookies with no added sugar or fat.
Before you get too excited, let me just tell you upfront that if you’re expecting a buttery, sticky sweet oatmeal cookie, you’re going to be disappointed. But think of these as a healthy mid-day snack and they’re a real treat. Sweet, chewy and satisfying.
Like with a good banana bread, the trick to making these cookies successfully is in the ripeness of your bananas; I’m talking black-with-a-few-specks-of-yellow ripe. The reason for this is that there is no additional sugar or liquid in this, so if your bananas aren’t extremely ripe, there won’t be enough moisture or sweetness.
Raw cashews with their mildly sweet taste and creamy flavor take the place of butter, and while I haven’t tried it, you could probably substitute any nut butter by weight for the cashews if you feel so inclined. While I’ve opted to rely on the bananas alone for sweetness, if you really want a sweeter cookie, you can blend in a few dates into the banana mixture, which will significantly increase the sugar content. As for the dried fruit, I used dried cranberries because it’s what I had in the pantry, but any sweet dried fruit such as raisins and cherries will work just fine.
Vegan Oatmeal Cookies
- 10.6 ounces (300 grams or about 2 large bananas) very ripe banana
- 2.7 ounces (75 grams or about 1/2 cup) raw cashews
- 1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 6.7 ounces (190 grams or about 2 cups) rolled oats
- 2.3 ounces (65 grams or about 1/2 cup) dried fruit
- Put the oven rack in the middle position, and preheat to 300 degrees F (150 C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Put the bananas, cashews, nutritional yeast, cinnamon and salt in a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth.
- Measure out the rolled oats and dried fruit, and place them in a bowl. Stir in the banana mixture.
- Use your hands to roll out balls of dough, and flatten them onto the cookie sheet. Because they contain no leavening they will not rise, so you can put them pretty close together.
- Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the edges are lightly browned and the cookies are chewy.
- These are best served warm, so if you have leftovers, just heat them up in the microwave for a few seconds.
Yield: 12 cookies
Marc Matsumoto is a culinary consultant and recipe repairman who shares his passion for good food through his website norecipes.com. For Marc, food is a life long journey of exploration, discovery and experimentation and he shares his escapades through his blog in the hopes that he inspires others to find their own culinary adventures. Marc’s been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and USA Today, and has made multiple appearances on NPR and the Food Network.