No-Bake Vegan Brownies with Chocolate Ganache

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Stack of delicious Raw Vegan Brownies with Coconut Oil Chocolate Ganache Frosting

As of March 13, John and I have been married five years. We did it!

Bowl of dates with pits removed for making Raw Brownies

To celebrate I’m sharing 20 random facts about us that you may or may not know. Here goes.

  1. John hates the smell of brownies baking (hence this no bake recipe). He literally vacates the house when I’m baking anything reminiscent of them.
  2. I love sweets; he could care less.
  3. We both grew up in Kansas.
  4. We dated four months before getting engaged.
  5. We honeymooned in Breckenridge, Colorado, but didn’t ski once. (We ate our way through town and napped all day – it was perfect.)
  6. We were opposites growing up – he was into computers and I was into sports and my hair.
  7. We’ve lived in three states and moved 10 times in our five years of marriage!
  8. We both think Portland, Oregon, is the greatest city on Earth (where we currently reside and intend to stay forev-ah).
  9. Between the two of us, we’ve visited 14 countries since getting hitched.
  10. We don’t have kids but are expert succulent caretakers.
  11. I’m 2 years older than John. He’ll be 27 this year and I’ll be 29 (cougar alert).
  12. We’re lovers of good wine and coffee.
  13. I have one older sister, John is the oldest of six!
  14. Before Minimalist Baker I had many jobs, including web writer, barista, house cleaner, and waitress at approximately 100,000 restaurants.
  15. John went to law school and hated it. So I put him to work on Minimalist Baker (wink, wink).
  16. We desperately want to visit Iceland, Ireland, and pretty much every other country we haven’t been to yet.
  17. We have a Sunday tradition of eating pizza and watching Saturday Night Live.
  18. John is a voracious reader. I can hardly sit down long enough to write a grocery list.
  19. While I write the content and take the photographs for the blog, John does literally everything else. We make a good pair.
  20. I think he’s the best thing that’s ever happened to me.
Pressing gluten-free vegan No-Bake Brownie batter into a pan
No-Bake Vegan Brownies on a sheet of parchment paper

Now that you’ve taken a virtual tour of our relationship, onto dessert! You deserve it.

These brownies are entirely raw (except for the frosting) and super fudgy and rich. They come together in about 20 minutes and require simple ingredients you likely have on hand right now – such as,

Walnuts
Almonds
Dates
Cacao (or cocoa) Powder + Nibs
Sea Salt

Making easy butter-free Vegan Chocolate Ganache Frosting in a mixing bowl

And the ganache? Oh man.

It’s butter-free and utilizes coconut oil for an extra creamy finish.

While your brownies are chilling, whip this up in about 15 minutes and you’re good to go!

Bowl of homemade Vegan Chocolate Ganache Frosting
Batch of Raw Vegan Brownies topped with chocolate ganache frosting and chopped walnuts

Spread it on thick, friends. This isn’t the time to skimp.

These gems are everything you want in a brownie. They’re:

Rich
Dense
Super fudgy
Studded with walnuts (and cacao nibs) for crunch
Incredibly satisfying
Simple to make
& Highly shareable

Freshly sliced batch of our No Bake Vegan Brownies with Walnuts and Cacao Nibs
Squares of the Best Raw Vegan Brownies with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

One bite in and I was done for.

Hence the reason I shuffled downstairs and handed these off to our apartment manager. Brownies of any form are too tempting to have around the house.

Not to worry, though. I managed to consume three before giving them away. OK, maybe four…

John had none, obviously.

Platter filled with a batch of our Super Fudgy No Bake Vegan Brownies recipe
Stack of the BEST Raw gluten-free Vegan Brownies topped with Chocolate Ganache Frosting

If you try this recipe, let us know! Leave a comment, or – our favorite – take a picture and tag it #minimalistbaker on Instagram so we can see. Cheers!

Holding up a raw gluten-free vegan brownie for a delicious dessert
Squares of our delicious dessert recipe of Raw Vegan Brownies with Chocolate Ganache
Stack of our Fudgy Raw Brownies for a gluten-free vegan dessert

No-Bake Vegan Brownies with Chocolate Ganache

Simple, raw vegan brownies studded with walnuts and cacao nibs! A 5-ingredient coconut oil chocolate ganache is optional but recommended for a fudgy, decadent finish. A healthier vegan, gluten-free dessert!
Author Minimalist Baker
Print
Batch of Raw Vegan Brownies cut into squares and topped with walnuts
4.89 from 154 votes
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 1 minute
Total Time 21 minutes
Servings 12 (brownies)
Course Dessert
Cuisine Gluten-Free, Vegan
Freezer Friendly 1 month
Does it keep? 3-4 Days

Ingredients

BROWNIES

  • 1 1/2 cups raw walnuts (divided // as original recipe is written, 1 cup (93 g) + 1/2 cup (47 g) // plus more for topping)
  • 1 cup raw almonds
  • 2 1/2 cups dates (pitted // if dry, soak in warm water for 10 minutes then drain // 2 1/2 cups equal ~15 ounces)
  • 3/4 cup cacao powder or unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 Tbsp cacao nibs (plus more for topping)
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

GANACHE FROSTING (optional)

  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 cup dairy-free dark chocolate (chopped)
  • 2 Tbsp coconut oil (melted // or sub vegan butter)
  • 1/4 – 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt

Instructions

  • Place 1 cup walnuts (as original recipe is written // use 2/3 of the total if altering batch size) and the almonds in food processor and process until finely ground.
  • Add the cacao powder and sea salt and pulse to combine. Transfer to bowl and set aside.
  • Add the dates to the food processor and process until small bits remain. Remove and set aside.
  • Add nut and cocoa mixture back into food processor and while processing, drop small handfuls of the date pieces down into the food processor or blender spout.
  • Process until a dough consistency is achieved, adding more dates if the mixture does not hold together when squeezed in your hand. You may not use all the dates.
  • Add the brownie mixture to a small parchment lined 8×8 dish (as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) and before pressing, add remaining 1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts (as original recipe is written // use remaining 1/3 of walnuts if altering batch size) and cacao nibs and toss to combine and evenly distribute. Then press down with hands until it is flat and firm. I like laying down a piece of plastic wrap to prevent sticking and get it really flat.
  • Lift parchment paper to remove brownies from dish and use hands to slightly squeeze in the sides to create a smaller square – this will make the brownies slightly thicker and more dense.
  • Transfer back to dish and place in freezer or fridge to chill for 10-15 minutes before cutting into 12 (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size) even squares (If adding ganache, slice afterwards!).
  • FOR THE GANACHE: Add almond milk to a mixing bowl and microwave for 45 seconds or until very warm. Alternatively, heat in a small saucepan until just simmering, then transfer to mixing bowl.
  • Immediately add chocolate to warm milk and loosely cover. Don’t touch for 2 minutes so it can melt.
  • Add salt and stir gently with a wooden spoon to incorporate, then add melted coconut oil and use a whisk to mix. Set in fridge for 10 minutes to thicken.
  • Remove from fridge and add powdered sugar a little at a time to thicken. Whisk again to combine. If it’s still too thin, add another few Tablespoons powdered sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
  • Frost brownies generously with frosting and then top with additional raw walnuts and cacao nibs (optional). Slice into 12 even squares (amount as original recipe is written // adjust if altering batch size).
  • Store brownies in an airtight container to keep fresh. Will keep for 3-4 days at room temperature, or in the freezer for at least 1 month (though best when fresh).

Video

Notes

*Brownies adapted from my 5-minute Vegan Espresso Brownies.
*Nutrition information is a rough estimate calculated with ganache.

Nutrition (1 of 12 servings)

Serving: 1 brownies Calories: 390 Carbohydrates: 44 g Protein: 9.4 g Fat: 23 g Saturated Fat: 7 g Trans Fat: 0 g Cholesterol: 0 mg Sodium: 90 mg Fiber: 8 g Sugar: 31 g

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My Rating:




  1. Kelsey says

    Omitted the cocoa nibs (as they’re quite pricey per kilo here). Cut into small slices, and instead of ganache – melted Lindt 70% dark chocolate (vegan friendly!) over the top and added a sprinkle of crushed walnut. They were delicious & looked like little gourmet brownie chocolate bars.

  2. Ruthie says

    These were one of the best things I’ve made from this blog!! I used sunflower seeds in place of the walnuts and did a very thin layer of melted Hu chocolate hunks over top. They were wonderfully rich and chewy, similar in texture to a Larabar or RXbar. Definitely worth the effort. Go make these!!!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Ally! We think doubling this recipe would work in a 9×13, but we haven’t tried it and cannot guarantee results!

  3. MamaZ Shaman says

    This is a lovely recipe with great images and clarity!

    I have now made it many times and I make my own varieties with medicinal ingredients of all types that benefit health.

    For example, I had clients with Parkinson’s so I used ingredients to help with that, and for clarity other ingredients, energy, immune, etc.

    I wanted to reach out and thank you! Appreciate you, it’s just perfect and so are you! :)

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Aw, thank you so much for your kind words and lovely review! We are so glad you enjoy the recipe and love your creativity in adding medicinal ingredients! xoxo

    • Toni hunt says

      Hi .. my boyfriend isn’t fond of walnuts can I replace it with coconut flour? And if so.. how much would you recommend?

      • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

        Hi Toni, we haven’t tried this recipe with coconut flour so we cannot guarantee results. We’d suggest starting with 1/2 cup and adding more until you reach the right consistency (watching the video may help). Let us know how it goes!

  4. Nicole says

    These were lovely, although the brownie base was less sweet and more dry/crumbly than I’d prefer, even though I usually like bitter chocolate and it did hold together in the dish. Next time I’ll try what some other commenters mentioned and add a splash of maple syrup to the batter. The ganache is great though!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Interesting! Thanks for sharing your experience, Nicole. Let us know how it goes if you try it again!

  5. Benny Adam says

    Just wondering if there’s any modifications you’d suggest to make the base recipe less crumbly/ dry. How to make it more fudge-y and cuttable while still no bake?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Benny, make sure you’re using dates that are sticky, and you could perhaps use fewer nuts. Also, if you set it out of the fridge for a few minutes, it should soften a bit. Hope that helps!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hi Chinelle! For this recipe the walnuts and almonds create sort of a rough “flour” that helps hold together the other ingredients, so we aren’t sure that nut butter would work. Let us know if you give the recipe a try!

      • Chinelle says

        Thanks for the speed reply. I will get back to you if I use nut butter. I made these yesterday and they were amazing. Forgot to add the chocolate chips but still really good.

      • Dayna says

        Could I sub almond meal or almond flour for some of the nuts? Would one of them make the brownies more “sticky”? I made these as directed -minus the ganache – once before, and they were awesome (so much so that my husband requested them for his birthday treat), but I found they fell apart a little more easily than desired. Taste was absolutely amazing though! Just looking for something that will help hold them together more?

        • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

          Hi Dayna, we’re so glad you both enjoyed them! We think almond flour or almond meal should work, but we’d suggest starting with less of it. Let us know if you try it!

      • Stephanie Zick says

        Wonderful recipe! We put in a few spoonfuls of nut butter at the end of blending and my kids loved it! Much healthier than store bought brownies.

  6. Michele says

    I made these brownies today, you’re right they were nice and easy to make. I decided not to go with the Ganache, maybe next time. My mixture wasn’t quite coming together so I added 2 Tblsp of sugar free maple syrup and that did the trick. It’s seriously delicious 🥰🥰

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Great! Thank you for sharing your experience and troubleshooting tip, Michele! We’re so glad you enjoy them =)

  7. Tracy says

    OMG. I could leave it there but let me add a few words; these brownies have to be the best I’ve ever had and that includes those from my pre-vegan days. They are gooey, chocolatey, nutty, flavoursome bits of mouth heaven! And I’m sorry MB, I abso-bloody-lutely disagree with one of your comments…they are NOT very shareable!! They are MY brownies, MINE!
    I do share them because I’m a polite girl but a bit of my heart dies as I watch them disappear into some persons big gob! Thank you for this and so many of your other recipes. Hugs from the UK. Tracy 🙂

  8. susi says

    I have been trying various vegan brownies and since I have always been a brownie junkie none of them were quit up to scratch. I came across this one but I was not sure because I really never believed in no bake cookies or cake. But that was all before I made these brownies. These are simply amazing and I cant wait to share it with my vegan (and non vegan!) friends! Thank you minimalist baker!!

  9. Alaina says

    I have made these brownies countless times. They are one of my favorite things EVER!!!! Amazing recipe, thank you!

  10. Samara says

    Thank you. This is a wonderful recipe. Dense, rich and decadent( in the most healthy way).I personally like making it without the ganache. I love that I can use just 4 ingredients. I use Kimia dates and raw cacao (and walnuts and almonds). If you’re using your hands I find that if you wet your hand it’s easier to handle the dough and finally as the recipe suggests press down with plastic .
    I have a question . I pre made this cake for my partner’s bday ( a week in advance) I’ve put it into the freezer currently. Shall I take it out and put it into the fridge the day before the bday? And then maybe keep it at room temperature for an hour before serving ?

  11. Trish says

    This recipe is perfection! Thank you for sharing. I added 1/4 cup of coconut to the nut mixture.

    God bless you for sharing.

  12. Kerryn Wood says

    Made these little treats of decadence this afternoon and put in my freezer to set while I went out. Just got home to taste test and I’m so afraid I’m going to eat the lot before I get a chance to share!!!!!
    I had a little trouble getting my ganache creamy, but I’m willing to try again….and again….AND AGAIN!!!! YumBo!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We’re so glad you enjoyed them! Thanks for sharing, Kerryn! We’d say maybe try a different brand of chocolate in the ganache to see if that helps.

      • Kerryn says

        I tried again and used different chocolate, AND followed your recipe a little more closely and let things cool properly…worked a treat. About to make them for a fourth time!!!!

  13. Moni says

    I made these brownies a few years ago and they were amazing!! I must have made them 50 times over a few month period. But now several years later I have been looking for the recipe again and I swear it’s different than it used to be!! The ganache was always my favorite part of the brownies, but I don’t remember it having chocolate chips or icing sugar in it. Is this an updated recipe? I’d love to find the original one if it still exists somewhere! Thanks for your help and your delicious treats

  14. Nikki Baker says

    I made this for my friend’s birthday who is vegan. It went down really well! Super rich & yummy. Love your recipes!

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Thanks so much for the lovely review, Nikki. We are so glad you enjoy our recipes! Next time, would you mind leaving a rating with your review? It’s super helpful for us and other readers. Thanks so much! Xo

  15. Margie Phillips says

    These brownies are beyond Deelicious!!! I am vegan, my husband is definitely not, but the first time I made them he fell in love with the deep and satisfying flavor. Now he asks for them as snacks for his lunch or just daily go-tos. They are actually better than original flour based brownies. I can make these statements honestly because I am a sweet craver and these are wondrous. Thank you for the recipe!

    I did make some changes in the subsequent batches, only because I needed to substitute types of nuts I had on hand. Instead of walnuts in one of my batches, I substituted pecans and they were perfect.

    I also made the ganache a bit different a time or two because, again, needing to substitute. I used a tablespoon of coconut butter/oil, 3 Tbs cacao powder, 2 Tbs nut milk….. heated until bubbly, then added Swerve confection powder to consistency, 1/8 tsp vanilla and a sprinkle of sea salt. This works very well and is very good.

  16. Mary says

    Thank you for sharing this recipe, I just made it and it turned out amazing. I also added sesame seeds, coconut powder + a pinch of cinnamon into the brownie mixture for extra taste.
    Either way a super healthy and delicious desert, and prepared so quickly!

  17. Lisa Staples says

    Is there a substitute for the powdered sugar? I have a sensitivity to stevia and I can’t have corn in my diet so I can’t use cornstarch. Would coconut sugar mixed with arrowroot powder work and if so, do you know how much of each I would use?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      Hmm, maybe! But we haven’t tried it, so we can’t guarantee results. Let us know if you try it!

      • Margie says

        RE: To Answer a Question about Sugar or ConfectionerSugar Substitute…..

        I am responding to the question about a substitute for confectioner’s sugar:
        I don’t particularly like the after taste of stevia in cooked foods, so I have used successfully, for many years, ERYTHRITOL as a plant based, sugar free, zero calorie sweetener. No after taste and it works beautifully with any recipe. I even use it in making my ice creams.

        ERYTHRITOL: It comes in either granulated or confectioner powder form under the name of SWERVE or you can buy it under its organic name…and then pulse the granulated version to make powdered form.
        The SWERVE brand is organic, NON GMO, and is derived from fruits and vegetables.

        Hope this helps.

  18. Isabelle says

    Absolutely amazing, used salted almonds and came out fantastic. The frosting is good! Best brownies ever, can not stop eating

  19. Diana F. says

    Wow! I made this exactly as listed and it was so so delicious. I have never tried dates before in a recipe and i am pleasantly surprised. I don’t have a food processor and it was a little tough to break up the dates in my blender, so eventually i took them out and just mixed into the nut mixture with my hands.. still came out perfect. Thank you!!

  20. Heather says

    Thoughts, ideas and or suggestions on a sub for the cacao nibs? I’m going to go search for them…when next I go to the store, but that could be another week, in the current SIP. Thanks. Be well.

  21. Jasmine says

    Bought dates just to try this recipe! But I don’t have a food processor… would it be fine if I just pulsed in a Nutri ninja?

    • Avatar for Dana @ Minimalist BakerSupport @ Minimalist Baker says

      We haven’t tried, but it might work! It can be a little tricky to chop dates in a blender without overheating, so just go slow!

  22. Alexander Grace says

    Shazaam, two years after a triple bypass surgery and severely restricting sugar, salt, and adopting a plant based diet, this recipe would be my foray back to a comfort food I had missed, without the ganache of course. After another year I am back and I am glad your site is still here ~ Thank you.

  23. Maria says

    This must be the tenth time I go to google and write mimimalist + brownie + no bake to find you. This brownie is sooo good. May you never close down your page :D Have a great day! Maria