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Decoding Vegan Desserts


Ever wonder what desserts vegans indulge in while everyone else tucks into rich animal product based treats? To the outsider, holidays or special occasions such as Easter, Valentine’s Day or Birthdays may seem like a troublesome time for vegans because what’s a celebration without decadent, dairy based sweets? Well, it turns out vegan treats are good enough to rival any traditional confectionary ideas. In a series of posts,  Joburg Style Magazine called on Vegan bloggers to share a few recipes which may lead you straight into veganism.

This recipe comes from Maria Praeg of The Healing Root.


Banana Nice-Cream Breakfast Bars

by Maria Praeg

Often times when creating raw desserts or bars they are made with many expensive ingredients such as seeds, cashew nuts, almonds, nut butters, superfoods, cold-pressed oils and the like. When creating these bars I was trying to construct a predominantly raw bar that is not only decadent and delicious but is simultaneously relatively cheap and healthy by using everyday household ingredients that you are likely to have lying around the kitchen or pantry. 

The base is made from coconut and oats, which means they are providing a perfect balance between complex carbohydrate (which provides slow release energy) and a faster release of energy via the simple carbohydrates in fruit. Fruit is likely the only simple sugar/carbohydrate that is truly good for you! Fruit is queen. Unlike other simple sugars, the fibre in fruit slows the absorption of sugars into the blood stream. The base of these bars imparts a lovely nutty taste from the toasted coconut as well as a divinely crunchy, solid, and chewy texture from the oats and dates. The different layers of ice cream are made from frozen bananas and various natural flavours that are added in the blending process (you will need a food processor or blender for this recipe). The nice-cream layers are dairy-free, gluten-free, oil-free and made using only natural and raw ingredients.

These bars can be a slight labour of love, but they are definitely worth it! What makes them an ideal snack attack treat is that you can keep them in the freezer for up to 2 months as a perfect go-to sweet treat, dessert, breakfast-on-the-go or afternoon tea time staple. They are also the perfect thing to rope the kids into getting involved in over Easter or any other festive family get together – they’re colourful, delicious and you can rest easy knowing that when the kids demand to lick the bowls clean they’re eating only good, wholesome goodness.



For the Base

2 cups Jungle Oats (or other quick cooking oats)

½ cup desiccated coconut

½ cup firmly packed pitted Medjool dates

3 tablespoons sweetener of choice (maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave, honey if you are plant based and not vegan etc)

½ teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 tablespoon ground flax seed

2 tablespoons water

Chocolate Nice-Cream Layer

4 frozen bananas (2.5 cups frozen banana coins)

6 tablespoons raw cacao powder

1 tablespoon ground flax seeds

5-6 tablespoons plant-based milk (soy milk, almond milk, oat milk, rice milk etc)

1 tablespoon sweetener of choice (maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave, honey if you are plant based and not vegan etc)

Pinch of salt

Pink Nice-Cream Layer

4 frozen bananas (or 2.5 cups frozen banana coins/chopped banana)

2 tablespoons sweetener of choice (maple syrup, brown rice syrup, agave, honey etc)

5-10 drops liquid stevia (optional if you’d like it a little sweeter)

2 beetroots, juiced OR 1 cup strawberries (or berries of choice)

For Serving

1/2 slab 75% Dark Lindt Chocolate

Mint for garnish




  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. In a baking tray place the oats and spread out evenly. Once the temperature has reached 180, place the oats into the oven for 10 minutes. After the ten minutes, take the oats out and add the desiccated coconut into the oats. Stir well. Add the tray back into the oven for a further 10 minutes. Keep your eye on the coconut – it might take slightly less than 10 minutes depending on your oven. Take the tray out if the oats and coconut are golden brown and smelling toasty. Set aside to cool.
  2. Pit your dates and measure to make ½ cup packed pitted dates. In another bowl place 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseeds and 2 tablespoons of water and set aside to create your “flax egg”. In your food processor place the baked oats mixture, the dates, the salt, sweetener, coconut oil and pulse until the content resembles coarse crumbs and is just starting to stick together when pressed together. Now add your flax egg and process some more until it creates semi-loose “dough” that can be pressed into a baking dish.
  3. The baking dish I used was 22cm x 22cm. Grease the baking dish with coconut oil and then press the oat dough firmly into the dish. Using a spring form pan is first prize as it allows for one to take the bars out easily. It is not 100% necessary though. However, if you are not using a spring form pan you will likely have to mess one bar up to gain access to the other bars when cutting them up and serving. Once the dough is pressed in firmly, set it aside until your layers are ready for layering.
  4. Place all the ingredients for the chocolate layer in your cleaned food processor. Blend until smooth and creamy, taste and adjust if needed to suit your palette. Once it’s smooth like ice cream, spread it out onto the cooled oat mixture. Spread evenly. Place into the freezer for minimum 1 hour so that it is slightly solid/firm before you place the second layer of ice cream over it.
  5. You can either make the pink layer straight after you’ve spread the chocolate layer on the oat base and place it in a Tupperware in the freezer so that it’s ready for spreading once the chocolate layer has solidified. Or you can make the pink layer about 10 minutes before you spread it over the chocolate layer (minimum of an hour later). To make the pink layer simply place all the ingredients for the pink layer into your cleaned food processor. Blend until smooth, sweet, creamy and delicious. I made my pink layer about 10 minutes before spreading it over the chocolate layer so that it melted slightly making it slightly runnier for easy spreading.
  6. Once both layers are spread evenly on the coconut-oat base, place the entire thing back into the freezer and ideally let it sit overnight or alternatively let it sit in the freezer for a few hours until serving (or until solid to the finger – mine took about 4 hours to set properly).
  7. When getting ready to serve, melt your chocolate either in the microwave or on the stove. If using the stove method start by bringing a small pot of water to the boil and placing a small heat proof bowl over it to create a bain-marie. The bowl shouldn’t be touching the water (this enables the water to steam heat the chocolate and therefore melt the chocolate gradually and evenly).
  8. Take the baking dish out of the freezer. If you have a spring form dish, unclasp it to release it and then proceed to cut squares of your desired size. If using a regular baking dish start by letting the bars sit for a couple of minutes to soften slightly. Then heat up a sharp kitchen knife under some hot water and cut one square out (this first square might be slightly tricky to get out, be patient and persevere!). Once you have the first square out the rest will come out with a lot more ease. Cut all of the bars up and drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve immediately or if it’s taken you slightly longer to cut them, place back into the freezer to firm up and then serve them fresh from the freezer!
  9. Tuck in and ENJOY. They are so worth the labour of love. What is also ideal about these is that you can make big batches and simply keep them in the freezer for those times when you’d like something sweet, decadent and satisfying but don’t feel like the schlep of making anything.


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