Toasted Nut “Larabar” Balls

Since my last post elicited so many requests for recipes, I thought I would share this recipe. This is not a Larabar, but it has been inspired by their concept. I use toasted nuts, rather than raw as toasting not only gives it a beautiful flavor, but it also reduces phytic acid in the nuts. (You could also soak and dehydrate the nuts before using them in this recipe.) Coconut flakes and coconut oil add creaminess, and dates sweeten and hold it together. This recipe is plump full of the toasted nuts and coconut flakes, with just enough dates to hold it together and sweeten it. The most dominant flavor is the nuts with the coconut and dates fighting for second place.

While still sweet to our tastebuds, it’s significantly less sweet than the usual Larabar, which makes is a better treat for our needs as we have to watch how many even natural sugars we consume. The coconut oil not only gives the balls a nice texture and taste, but also provides a healthy fat to slow down the sugar rise in your body from the fruit.

The recipe is both simple and easy to adapt. If you want to make this more like a Larabar increase the amount of dates you use ( use probably around 10 more dates). With more dates it would become their coconut cream pie flavor. I made these into balls because this recipe is just a tad too crumbly to hold together a bar. But the ball shape gives a better kid size snack anyway (give them 3, and they will feel like they had a special treat, but still have less than a larabar).

If you are looking for a concept closer to a candy bar, this recipe should fit the bill.

Toasted Nut “Larabar” Balls

16 pitted dates
1 scant cup of fine coconut flakes
¼ cup of coconut oil
Scant ¾ cup of walnuts ( or nuts of choice)

In a food processor, combine 16 pitted dates with one scant cup of coconut flakes and ¼ cup of coconut oil. Start processing until the dates are in very small pieces.

Meanwhile, toast a scant ¾ cup of walnuts, or nut of your choice, in a small saucepan over medium heat. Toast until the nuts are starting to brown and fragrant. Chop coarsely and add to the date/coconut mixture and process until the nuts are finely chopped.

Roll about 1 tablespoon of this mixture into little balls. Serve right away or keep in the refrigerator, tightly sealed. They will keep at least several weeks.

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I love beautiful and simple food that is nourishing to the body and the soul. I wrote Fresh: Nourishing Salads for All Seasons and Ladled: Nourishing Soups for All Seasons as another outlet of sharing this love of mine. I also love sharing practical tips on how to make a real food diet work on a real life budget. Find me online elsewhere by clicking on the icons below!


  1. says

    These look and sound great, Kimi! While I like the idea of Larabars, sometimes they are too much (even when homemade). So a ball version seems perfect. 🙂


    • KimiHarris says


      I bet you could! I haven’t tried it personally, but I bet it would work. It would just give it a different flavor. 🙂

      • Meghan says

        I always use pitted prunes in place of dates when I make my any homemade version of “larabars,” since prunes are so much cheaper than dates. Works very well 🙂

  2. says

    Mmmmmm… I love the sound of this simple version, and look forward to trying it! I can’t help but add that it’s not only a delicious snack, but the dates and coconut can be especially nourishing for those with digestive challenges. (according to Chinese medicine). Do you mind if I share this on my blog in your name?

    • KimiHarris says

      Interesting, Sharon! Thanks for asking about sharing it. My preference is to have people link to it, rather than copying and pasting, if possible. 🙂

  3. Kelsey says

    I’ve been making these kind of bars regularly lately. They are delicious. My husband’s favorite is one with sesame seeds and dried apricots with the coconut to give it a very tropical taste. My favorite is with crispy almonds and peanut butter and cocoa powder with dates and coconut flakes and oil – yum! And yes, the best part is these things are so adaptable, I just make whatever we’re feeling like, and they are SO quick! Pecans are delicious in them, as well.

  4. CindyC says

    Very yummy! They might keep for several weeks but they will not last that long here & it’s just me eating them.

  5. Nicky B says

    Yum, thanks for those Kimi – like that they are really nutty as often recipes for things like this seem to have a much higher percentage of dried fruit and just a bit of nuts. Will try making them with the soaked almonds I’ve been doing (I’ve found the info under your nourishing foundations on those so helpful – thank you!). Plus also like the idea of adding in some nut butter & cocoa, Kelsey – good idea!

  6. amanda k. says

    So funny i just finished whipping up some “coconut balls” then went to the computer and there they were. i put dried coconut, coconut oil, ground almonds, maple syrup, vanilla, pinch of salt, and carob powder to help it stick together. my daughter plays A LOT of soccer and i need snacks for her before practice/ after school. these are great. she loved the taste of them before i added the carob but i couldn’t think of something more neutral to add to make them stick together. any suggestions?

  7. Janine says

    Just made these with pecans instead of walnuts (what I had in the kitchen) They are Awesome! I agree that Larabars can be too big, these are perfect little snacks. And, all organic…even better!

  8. Karen B says

    I wonder how they would taste without the nuts, I am allergic. Maybe some toasted seeds. I will have to give it a try, they sound yummy.

      • Karen B says

        That’s what I was thinking. I will let you know. But first I have to pick up some dates. I only have figs. I have all the other things. Hopefully I will be able to stop after work.I can’t wait to try.

      • Karen B says

        I finally tried these and they are yummy. I did use pumpkin seeds. I dry roasted them in the pan and then chopped them. I will try some other combos. Thanks for the recipe.

  9. says

    I love the Japanese plate that you are serving them on in the photo! I have those kinds of plates from living in Japan for 7 years. I am really looking forward to trying your recipe. Thanks!

  10. says

    Thanks so much! I’ve always wanted to set aside some time to experiment with a LaraBar-ish homemade snack, but you did it for me. Hooray!


  11. Nina says

    We love to make all sorts of versions of these! We do make them in little bite-sized balls though – the little ones find this much easier (they are a quite chewy and dense.) We aften take them a long trips and camping too. I add flaxseed, cherries (our favorite!), cranberries, dried apples, apricots, raisins, different nuts, cocoa, vanilla, or whatever suits my fancy that day. Occasionally, I press them into a pan and cover with melted carob or chocolate chips. This is a really great basic recipe. Hope your families enjoy them as much as we do!

  12. Stacy says

    Thanks for the inspiration! I made two different versions (formed into small balls around 1″ in size) yesterday… though by trial and error so no exact measurements, but with proportions of fruit and nuts similar to Kimi’s recipe, and adding flaxmeal. Recipe #1 mimics Larabar’s PB&J: peanuts & flaxmeal (~5:1), dates, dry tart cherries, and a bit of sea salt. Recipe #2 is my own… cashews & flaxmeal (also ~5:1), cranberries and coconut plus dates, then rolled in shredded coconut. BOTH turned out yummy, and they were a hit at a party yesterday evening, for kids and adults alike! I added some peanut oil to #1 because it looked dry, but then found it to be too oily and had to increase other ingredients to compensate, so careful with adding oil, try to form a ball first, and add oil slowly as a last step. I was more careful with recipe #2 and they turned out perfectly. I’m sold on this being a regular project, so easy and healthy!

  13. Kim Daniels says

    I tried to make these and I can’t get them to form balls. The mixture is too crumbly. What can I add? Can I refrigerate the mix for a while and then try to form balls? Help!

  14. Natalie says

    The recipe sounds great, similar to what my midwife offered to me at one of my post-pregnancy appointment, it was great for increasing milk supply (though it had unsoaked (raw) oatmeal, I don’t know how to make it with soaked raw oats…), it had more ingredients in there too. Anyway, I can’t wait to try this! So simple and sounds divine!

    ONE QUESTION though: which food processor do you use Kimi, or anyone else for that matter? I am searching for one I can use to make things such as this recipe and for making homemade mayo and sauces… grind nuts and etc. I don’t know anything about food processors or how to choose one! Help anyone?;)

  15. EileenH says

    Oh, thank you so much for this recipe! I was needing a snack for my teen dd and made these tonight. They are delicious! I’m very interested in the adaptability factor that some of the other readers mention. How would I go about making a “universal larabar recipe”? I apologize if I missed that thread, but this would be so, so wonderful to be able to make different flavors every week. Are the main ingredients always coconut oil, coconut, dates, and some type of nuts?

  16. Christiane G says

    I LOVE these! I’ve tried some other versions and this is a great basic one. I also toasted the coconut and used a few more dates and they were great:) I always have soaked/sprouted nuts on hand so this was 5 minutes of prep – simple.

  17. julie says

    This is a great, universal recipe for a healthy sweet treat! I made these and the only change I made was the addition of about 1 teaspoon of lemon zest and a few squirts of lemon juice. Thanks so much.

  18. says

    Hi Kimi,
    Walnuts are high in Omega 3 & 6 which are very volatile and destroyed when heated… I believe another nut with a more stable oil would be a better option for toasting…pecans or almonds perhaps. This is true for flax and chia seeds as well which I commonly see recommended in recipes where temperatures are more likely to affect the health benefits that would have been received.


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