I KNOW. Recipe titles like ‘secretly healthy vegan cookie dough’ are annoying! I try to be very judicious with making claims like this, but I’m serious this time. These little chocolate chip-laden bites of goodness are whole foods based, health-promoting, and despite all of that they are also delicious. Free of added sugar while totally satisfying your cookie dough craving!
When I was growing up, I had to do cookie dough fundraisers a number of times for school or for groups that I was in. I remember getting a few tubs of the store bought cookie dough under the pretense of supporting myself. Chocolate chip, sugar, peanut butter.. whatever the flavor, I would eat the dough from the freezer raw, never even getting to the point of baking it. It probably wasn’t supposed to be edible like that and it definitely wasn’t vegan.
This vegan cookie dough is a homage to those cookie dough-snacking days of my youth, but made with real, plant-based food. Some similar recipes use chickpeas but I decided to make my recipe even weirder and add red lentils to it (you can omit them if you’re not a fan) for extra fiber and protein. This is NOT a low calorie food. It is based on nutrient dense walnuts, hemp seeds, flaxseeds, and dates. Lots of good omega-3 fatty acids in there!
I know that sounds like a strange list of ingredients but hear me out. I fed this chocolate chip cookie dough to 3 different non-vegans and it was very well-received. The walnuts create a rich, deeply-flavored base just like they do in my (cooked) vegan oatmeal raisin cookies. The hemp seeds add a buttery texture, and the toasted flavor from the flaxseeds reminds me of baked cookie edges. The cooked red lentils are just a liiitle bit doughy once blended. Plus, dates have a bit of a brown sugar-esque thing going on. Add a dash of vanilla and some vegan chocolate chips and you’re in serious choco chip cookie territory.
If you don’t have any tasty brands of vegan cookie dough in your area or aren’t sure where to buy it, perhaps this homemade recipe will help you get your fix. Note: I have not tried baking this; it’s meant to be eaten in raw vegan cookie dough form. I doubt it would hold up in the oven 🙂
Because it is stored in the freezer, this healthy vegan cookie dough fudge is great if you’re cooking for one or for two. You can munch on whatever amount you want and store the leftovers for quite a while.
This recipe is free from added sugar if the chocolate chips are omitted or sugar-free chocolate chips are used, but otherwise it’ll have a little bit from those. 🙂
Healthy Vegan Cookie Dough Fudge Bites with Chocolate Chips
- 1 packed cup pitted dates soaked in hot water for 1-2 hours (I used deglet noor dates)
- 1 cup walnuts roughly chopped
- 1/4 cup hemp seeds (shelled hemp hearts)
- 2 tbsp flax seeds
- 1/2 cup cooked red lentils
- 3/4 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/4 tsp salt or to taste
- 1/3 cup dairy-free chocolate chips (optional) (or use cacao nibs for a completely added sugar-free option)
- Don't forget to soak your dates first before getting started!
- Heat a large skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts. Stir frequently and cook for 3 minutes. Add the hemp seeds and flax seeds to the pan. Continue to cook and stir frequently until walnuts and flax seeds are lightly browned, 2-4 more minutes.
- Transfer the walnut and seed mixture to a food processor. Pulse several times, scraping down the sides if needed, until broken into crumbs.
- Drain the soaked dates, and add them to the food processor along with the cooked lentils, vanilla extract, and salt. Blend as smooth as possible, scraping down the sides if needed.
- Stir in the chocolate chips if using. Line a small, square or rectangular container with parchment paper and spread out the mixture onto the parchment. Let set in the freezer for 1-2 hours; then slice into cubes. Store in the freezer in an airtight container.
This recipe is adapted from my healthy brownie batter freezer fudge. If you’re a chocolate fan then I HIGHLY recommend trying that recipe too. It’s similarly nutritious and delicious! Thank you to Vegan Richa for the idea to add red lentils to my recipe.
Other healthy sweets from the blog:
P.S. If you’re looking for a vegan cookie dough that you can actually bake, then you should also try my classic vegan chocolate chip cookies!
Valintina Salvatierra says
This looks amazing! Do you think the hemp seeds could be substituted for something else, as I wouldn’t know where to get those where I live?
For the nutrition facts it says “one cookie dough square” is that in reference to the entire pan or each bite size peice?
Shannon @ Yup, it's Vegan says
Hey Laura, sorry for the confusion, that’s for each piece (I’d say they’re more like three bites :)), assuming you divide the recipe into 16 pieces.
I made this today! It tastes amazing!! I’m a big fan of anything dried fruit + nut combo, but I never would have thought to add lentils. Thank you so much for this recipe!
Would I be able to use cashews or a different nut? I’m allergic to walnuts 🙁
Shannon @ Yup, it's Vegan says
I think the recipe texture will still come out nicely with cashews, macadamia nuts, or pecans. Choosing a higher fat, richer nut is key here – I probably would not use almonds, for example. All of these substitutions will change the flavor but I’m guessing the end result will still taste nice! I do think walnuts have an especially “cookie dough-like” flavor though so just making that caveat. Let me know how it goes!
Blaze of glory says
I had the fortune of getting to eat a few of these when Shannon brought them to a gathering. YOU WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED!
Kari @ bite-sized thoughts says
Wow – I’ve seen lots of vegan / healthy cookie dough recipes but never one with lentils. Love it!