This Gluten-Free Vegan No-Bake Black Forest Bars recipe is a healthy recipe to make using clean, real food ingredients in only 3 easy steps. It's a 3-layer decadent dessert that's 100% plant-based, raw, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, lectin-free, paleo, and contains no refined sugar.
If you love a cherry + chocolate combination, these Gluten-Free Vegan Raw No-Bake Black Forest Bars are just for you!
Gluten-Free Vegan No-Bake Black Forest Bars
Here's why this recipe works - my top 3 reasons:
- The only equipment needed is a food processor
- Three decadent layers
- Healthy Plant-Based Vegan No-Bake Dessert
Only Equipment Needed Is A Food Processor
No need to drag out two or three different appliances to make this easy no-bake dessert.
You can make them in about 10 minutes using only a food processor.
After that, you just have to wait for them to harden in the freezer before enjoying them!
Three Decadent Layers
There are 3 decadent layers to these clean eating, no-bake bars:
- Bottom Layer: raw, vegan, gluten-free brownie base with walnuts + naturally sweetened with Medjool dates
- Middle Layer: a sweet, chunky layer of cherries + Medjool dates
- Top Layer: smooth and creamy chocolate avocado frosting made with almond butter + maple syrup
And, if you want to take it to another level, just add a dollop of homemade whipped coconut cream on the top and garnish with a fresh single cherry!
Healthy Plant-Based Vegan No-Bake Dessert
This is a dessert you can feel good about eating.
It's made with clean, real food ingredients that are easily accessible.
I used fresh organic cherries because non-organic cherries can contain up to 42 different pesticides.
Please, please, please don’t buy or use the red food colored cherries in a jar.
For example, they can contain an ingredient list like this:
S.A.D. (Standard American Diet) Jarred Cherries: Cherries, Corn Syrup, Citric Acid, Natural and Artificial Flavors. Preserved with: Sodium Benzoate and Potassium Sorbate, Red 40, Sulfur Dioxide (Preservative).
My healthier recipe is organic, plant-based, raw, vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free, lectin-free (with substitutions), egg-free, soy-free, no-bake, paleo-friendly, and contains no refined sugar.
How To Make Gluten-Free Vegan No-Bake Black Forest Bars: Step-by-Step Instructions
Here is how to make this recipe and I'll show you with step-by-step instructions below.
Before beginning, prepare a 9 x 5 loaf pan lined with parchment paper and set aside.
Step 1: Prepare the Brownie Base
Firstly, add all the ingredients for the brownie base to a food processor.
Process until the mixture is well combined and it has a wet, crumbly consistency.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared loaf pan.
Next, press the mixture down firmly in the bottom of the pan with your hands or the back of a spoon.
Set it aside while you work on the rest of the recipe.
Step 2: Prepare the Cherry Filling
Secondly, prepare the cherries by removing the stems and pits.
Cut the cherries in half and add them with the remaining ingredients for the cherry filling to a food processor.
Pulse the mixture 10-12 long times, or just enough to break down the cherries and dates into small chunks.
Take care to not overprocess the mixture.
Next, transfer the cherry filling to the loaf pan.
Spread it evenly on top of the brownie base.
Step 3: Prepare the Chocolate Topping
Thirdly, add all the ingredients for the chocolate topping to a small bowl.
Whisk everything together until it's creamy and smooth and no pieces of avocado remain.
Transfer the chocolate topping to the loaf pan.
Gently spread it evenly on top of the cherry filling.
Step 4: Allow the Bars To Firm
Fourthly, place the loaf pan in the freezer for approximately 3-4 hours, or until the bars harden.
When you're ready to serve, remove the loaf pan from the freezer.
Let it sit on the countertop for just a few minutes so it will be easier to slice.
Step 5: How To Store the No-Bake Bars
Lastly, store in an air-tight BPA-free container in the freezer until ready to serve.
The bars will get soft and lose their shape if left out at room temperature.
Expert Tips + Ingredient Substitutions for Gluten-Free Vegan No-Bake Black Forest Bars
Here are some expert tips to make this recipe perfectly:
Walnuts. Any nut can be substituted here. For example, raw almonds or raw pecans both work well.
Cacao Powder. This can be substituted with regular cocoa powder in the same amount.
Coconut Oil. If you don't like the taste or flavor of coconut oil, use organic refined coconut oil which has zero coconut taste or flavor.
Cherries. I used organic fresh cherries. However, I haven't tested the recipe using frozen cherries but don't see why they wouldn't work.
Avocado. Don't be worried about using avocado in a dessert recipe. It gives the frosting a thick, creamy texture and you can't taste the avocado.
Maple Syrup. If you need the recipe to be 100% lectin-free, substitute the maple syrup with organic date nectar.
Almond Butter. Another neutral nut butter can be substituted here. For example, raw cashew butter or raw sunflower butter.
Want More Healthy Plant-Based Vegan No-Bake Dessert Recipes?
Check out these:
- Gluten-Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Dark Cherry Ice Cream
- Clean Eating Vegan Cherry Tart
- Vegan Black Forest Chia Seed Pudding
- or my CLEAN DESSERTS Cookbook with 72 plant-based vegan + gluten-free no-bake dessert recipes made with clean, real food ingredients just like this one that you will love!
Gluten-Free Vegan No-Bake Black Forest Bars
For the brownie base:
- 1 cup organic walnuts
- 4 organic Medjool dates pitted
- 1/4 cup organic raw cacao powder
- 2 tablespoon organic refined coconut oil
- 1 pinch Himalayan pink salt
For the cherry filling:
- 1 1/2 cups organic fresh cherries pitted, halved
- 8 large organic Medjool dates pitted
- 1 tablespoon organic refined coconut oil
For the chocolate topping:
- 1 organic avocado
- 2 tablespoons organic refined coconut oil
- 2 tablespoons organic raw cacao powder
- 2 tablespoon organic maple syrup*
- 2 tablespoon organic almond butter
Prepare the brownie base:
- Add all ingredients for the brownie base to a food processor and process until it is well combined and a wet, crumbly mixture.
- Transfer the mixture to an 8 x 5 baking pan lined with parchment paper.
- Using the back of a spoon or your hands, press the mixture down firmly and evenly in the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
Prepare the cherry filling:
- Prepare the cherries: de-stem and de-seed the cherries by pulling off the stem and cutting the cherry in half to remove the pit. Place the cherries in a small bowl to measure enough to make the recipe.
- Add all the ingredients for the cherry filling to a food processor and pulse it 10-12 long times, just long enough to break down the dates and cherries into chunks, taking care not to over process.
- Transfer the cherry filling to the baking pan and spread it evenly on top of the brownie base.
- Using the back of a spoon or your hands, press the mixture down firmly and evenly. Set aside.
Prepare the chocolate topping:
- Add all the ingredients for the chocolate topping to a small bowl and whisk it together until it is creamy and smooth and no pieces of avocado remain.
- Transfer the chocolate topping to the baking pan and spread it evenly on top of the cherry filling.
- Place the pan in the freezer for approximately 3-4 hours, or until it hardens.
- When you are ready to serve, remove it from the freezer and let it sit out on the counter top for just a few minutes so it will be easier to slice.
- Store in the freezer in an air-tight BPA-free container until ready to serve because it will get soft if left out at room temperature.
Hi, I'm Karielyn! I'm the published cookbook author of CLEAN DESSERTS and content creator of The Healthy Family and Home™ website since 2012. I specialize in creating easy, healthy plant-based and Medical Medium® compliant recipes that are gluten-free + vegan and made with clean, real food ingredients that you can feel good about eating.