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Mint Nanaimo Bars (Vegan & Gluten-Free)

It ain’t the holidays until I’ve devoured an entire plate and week’s worth of calories of Mint Nanaimo Bars. The crunchy chocolate coconut base smothered in a smooth peppermint flavored frosting and covered with a thin rich layer of chocolate. Whatever you want to call it, this combination of nanaimo bar magic is pure heaven and I’ve taken it a step further to make sure everyone can enjoy it this season by creating a vegan and gluten-free mint nanaimo bar recipe. Can you hear the angels sing?


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A close up picture of chocolate mint nanaimo bars cut up in squares on a table. Theere is one square leaned up against the front one allowing you to see the three different layers in each square.

Vegan & Gluten-Free Mint Nanaimo Bars

A rich gluten-free chocolate cookie crumb base mixed with sweet shredded coconut, crunchy salted cashews, and vegan butter. Whipped, fluffy, and totally dreamy, the middle layer is a sweet mint buttercream frosting. The third, and final layer to these beloved mint nanaimo bars is the thin decadent top coating of vegan chocolate. Put all three parts together and you have the most amazing holiday mint nanaimo bars that are both vegan and gluten-free.

Gluten-Free Chocolate Cookie Crumb Base

I’m all about that base. Bout that base. No treble. ? First step to these amazing mint nanaimo bars is the chocolate cookie crumb base. In most traditional nanaimo bar recipes, you’ll see the base made up of cocoa, graham cracker crumbs, coconut, and walnuts. I’ve kept it fairly traditional while swapping out the walnuts for cashews and changing the cocoa powder and graham cracker crumbs for straight chocolate cookie crumbs.

The key to this naniamo bar base is setting it firm. No one wants to pick up a mint nanaimo bar only to have it crumble in their hands. After all of the base ingredients have been incorporated and placed into a sprayed and parchment-lined 8×8 inch baking pan, start to spread the mixture out evenly. Once it’s evenly spread, gently but firmly pack it down. Don’t be shy here. Count this as your upper body workout. Tightly packing down the base micture will ensure a solid and stable nanaimo bar base.

A bunch of cut up mint green and chocolate Nanaimo bars on a table. The front two nanaimo bars are stacked and the top one has a bite out of it.

Vegan Mint Buttercream Frosting Middle Layer

I am and always will be, a frosting gal. So naturally, the middle layer of whipped mint buttercream is my favorite part of these vegan and gluten-free nanaimo bars. Using vegan butter, beat it on high in a stand mixer for 5 minutes until it’s light and fluffy. This step is critical for achieving a soft cloud-life frosting layer. After the butter has been beaten, add in the remaining ingredients, and again, mix on high until light and fluffy.

Much as I am a frosting gal, I, too, am a green gal. Because let’s be honest…a mint nanaimo bar simply doesn’t feel “minty” enough without this delicious buttercream center being a minty green color. I used 2 drops of green gel food color in the frosting after it had been made. Simply add the food color and mix until combined and cohesive. That said, feel free to skip this step if food color ain’t your thing.

A close up picture of cut up mint Nanaimo bars. The top is a thin layer of rich chocolate that has been sprinkled with coarse sea salt. You can see a teeny bit of the mint green frosting layer peeking out between the cut marks.

Top Vegan Chocolate Layer

A mint Nanaimo bar would be incomplete without this third and final addition: a thin layer of vegan chocolate. Using a microwave-safe bowl, combine the chocolate topping ingredients and heat in 30-second intervals until fully melted and smooth. Make sure to gently stir after each interval. Spread the chocolate layer over the mint frosting and smooth with an offset spatula.

Now here comes the fun part. If you are feeling extra fun or festive you can top these decadent vegan and gluten-free mint nanaimo bars with sprinkles, crushed candy canes, or a little splash of coarse sea salt. Be as creative or as simple as you want. I personally sprinkle on a touch of salt to balance the sweet but again, just like the food coloring, you do you!

A large stack of mint green Nanaimo bars. Each square has a chocolate cookie crumb base, a mint green frosting middle, and topped with a thin layer of rich chocolate.

How To Cut Mint Nanaimo Bars

The trickiest part to this incredibly easy no-bake nanaimo bar recipe is not the actual making of them but the slicing! Many times have I cut into a nanaimo bar only to have the top chocolate layer crack into a few wayward pieces. Does it affect the flavor, no, but if you’re a perfectionist like me it does make my eyeballs twitch.

First step to a clean slice is to allow the mint nanaimo bars to come to room temperature. Second step is to use a sharp clean knife. Heat the knife up with hot water, clean it with a kitchen towel, and skor the top chocolate layer lightly where you plan on cutting. Again, heat the knife, clean it, and cut away. I like to heat and clean with each cut to keep those edges sharp.

A bunch of mint nanaimo bar squares cut up and sitting on a table. The closest nanaimo bar in the center has a bite mark out of it.

The Best Vegan & Gluten-Free Mint Nanaimo Bars

Truly the easiest and yummiest no-bake recipe for this coming holiday season. These mint nanaimo bars come together in a snap and are positively scrumptious. Using gluten-free and vegan ingredients ensures that all your Christmas guests will be able to enjoy a delicious square of chocolate mint delight. Don’t have food allergies or special dietary needs? Awesome! Use good ol’ regular gluten and dairy products! No measurement changes are needed.

A crunchy chocolate cookie crumb base holding up the most delicious fluffy mint buttercream frosting filling and topped with a glorious layer of chocolate yum. These mint nanaimo bars are the perfect holiday no-bake treat. Enjoy them as-is. Sprinkle them up something fancy. Or slice and freeze for a later date. You will not regret making a pan, or two, of these amazing vegan and gluten-free mint nanaimo bars!

A close up shot of two mint Nanaimo bars. On is leaning up against the other on the table showing you the three different layers of the bar.

Holiday Baking Recipes

The holidays are for cozy December days spent in your pajamas baking for family and friends. Here are a few festive recipes that will be a hit this Christmas season:

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A bunch of mint nanaimo bar squares cut up and sitting on a table. The closest nanaimo bar in the center has a bite mark out of it.

Mint Nanaimo Bars (Vegan & Gluten-Free)


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4.7 from 7 reviews

  • Author: Katie Stymiest
  • Total Time: 30 Minutes
  • Yield: 16 Squares 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free

Description

The most delicious vegan and gluten-free mint nanaimo bars perfect for a no-bake holiday treat! A classic Canadian dessert square made up of a chocolate cookie crumb coconut base, whipped mint buttercream frosting middle, and a thin layer of chocolate on top.


Ingredients

Scale

BASE LAYER

  • ½ cup (120g) vegan salted butter, melted *
  • ⅛ cup (24g) granulated sugar
  • 1 ¾ cups (210g) gluten-free chocolate cookie crumbs **
  • 1 cup (120g) sweetened shredded coconut
  • ½ cup (80g) chopped cashews

MIDDLE LAYER

  • ½ cup (120g) vegan salted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups (180g) icing sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vegan milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure peppermint extract
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • optional: green food colouring

TOP LAYER

  • ¾ cup (195g) vegan semi-sweet chocolate ***
  • 2 tsp. vegan salted butter
  • optional: ½ cup festive sprinkles, dash of coarse sea salt, or crushed candy canes

Instructions

MINT NANAIMO BARS

  1. Prepare an 8×8 inch baking pan with non-stick baking spray and parchment paper.

  2. In a large mixing bowl combine all of the base ingredients and mix until a coarse sand-like texture is achieved.

  3. Place the base mixture into the prepared baking pan and very firmly and evenly press down. Set aside.

  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer cream the butter on high until light and fluffy. This should take approximately 5 minutes.

  5. Add in the icing sugar, milk, mint extract, and salt and mix on low until combined.

  6. Add in 2 drops of green food coloring if desired.

  7. Turn the mixer up to high and allow the frosting the whip for 5 minutes.

  8. Spread the mint frosting evenly over the base layer and set aside.

  9. Combine the chocolate and butter in a microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30-second intervals until fully melted and smooth. Make sure to stir gently after each interval.

  10. Spread the chocolate evenly on the mint buttercream layer and add sprinkles/toppings if desired.

  11. Allow to fully cool and set for at least 1 hour in the refrigerator before slicing. See slicing tips in post.

  12. Cut into 16 squares and enjoy! Store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.

Notes

* I use Becel plant-based bricks

** Kinnikinnick has a great gluten-free and vegan chocolate cookie crumb product that I always use in my baking

*** I use Pascha 55% semi-sweet chocolate chips for the top layer

  • Prep Time: 30 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 Minutes
  • Category: Squares
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: American

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 Square
  • Calories: 355
  • Sugar: 38 Grams
  • Sodium: 79 Miligrams
  • Fat: 19 Grams
  • Saturated Fat: 9 Grams
  • Unsaturated Fat: 6 Grams
  • Trans Fat: 1 Gram
  • Carbohydrates: 46 Grams
  • Fiber: 2 Grams
  • Protein: 2 Grams
  • Cholesterol: 47 Miligrams

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16 Comments

  1. Made an adaptation of these for work—used GF Oreos and left out the nuts (had to be nut free). I also used eggnog flavoring instead of peppermint—-it was a HUGE hit. People couldn’t believe it was vegan!






    1. This sounds phenomenal Casey! I’ve never tried eggnog with chocolate and I think I need to give it a shot now!

  2. I made these last year for Christmas and again this year! I love the peppermint flavor and that they’re so festive looking with the green. I add crushed candy cane on top too to add a bit of extra Christmas fun!






  3. These came out sooooo good!
    I used Gluten Free Oreos for the base. I followed everything else exactly.
    So delicious!






  4. Family favourite!! They are on our cookie list each Christmas and quickly disappear. We love these so much more than ‘regular’ Nanaimo bars as they aren’t as sweet and the peppermint is a great flavour – this year we sprinkled crushed candy cane in top for a little extra something

  5. Made these but made substitutions because I wasn’t too concerned about it being gf/ vegan. They were absolutely delicious!






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