Everyday Paleo Fruit N’ Nut Bars

I recently posted on my Facebook page a quick recap of the recipe we created at home which was similar to what most folks recognize as a Lara Bar.  The Lara Bar is a bar made primarily of dried fruit, dates and nuts.  My kids love these bars and I will continue to purchase them now and then but making my own has proven to be extremely cost effective, fun, and incredibly easy. Even better – we can make unique creations and experiment with different flavor options!

Here are three different types of bars we made this week.  These bars have been super handy to toss into lunch boxes or to grab for a quick snack in the car or after school.  I hope you enjoy and post to comments some of the creations or ideas you and your family come up with!

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Apricot Bars

½ cup raw almonds

1 cup raw pecans

¼ teaspoon sea salt

12 Medjool dates

1 cup dried apricots (unsweetened)

Spice Bars

1 cup raw almonds

½ cup roasted cashews

1/4 teaspoon sea salt

20 Medjool dates

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Coconut-Cherry Bars

1 cup raw almonds

½ cup raw pecans

12 Medjool dates

1 cup dried cherries (unsweetened)

2 tablespoon coconut oil

1/2 cup finely shredded coconut flakes (unsweetened)

¼ teaspoon salt

The directions are the same for the first two recipes with only a couple minor differences for the coconut cherry bars.  For whichever bar you decided to make, follow these steps:

1) In a food processor, pulse only the nuts and the sea salt until finely chopped but still chunky. Some will be ground up almost like almond meal but they will not all be consistent, and that’s totally ok.

2)Pour your nuts into a mixing bowl.

3)Add the dried dates and other dried fruit to the food processor and process until it makes a paste (it will probably turn into a giant sticky ball when it’s done).

4) For the last recipe, add the coconut oil to the dates and cherries and process the three items together.

5) Add the date mixture to the nuts and use your hands to kneed the nuts and the dates together until well mixed (this is messy but fun).  For the last recipe, pour the coconut flakes into the bowl with the nuts and then add the date mixture and kneed away.

6) Grease a baking sheet with either grass fed butter or coconut oil.

7) Make a big ball out of your bar mixture and push it down onto your greased baking sheet.  Cover the ball with some plastic wrap and using a rolling pin (or a bottle of wine if you don’t own a rolling pin), roll out the mixture to your desired thickness. I like mine about 1/2 an inch thick or a little less.

8) Cut the rolled out mixture into the desired shape and amount that you would like.  I did not make mine as big as the store bought Lara Bars because they are often too big for my kids and making them into small approximately 2 inch squares seems to be perfect for us!

Each recipe makes about 15 bars and I figured it cost approximately .50 cents per bar, so that’s about 45 bars for $22!  I purchased the dates and nuts from Trader Joes and the dried cherries and apricots from my local health food store.

Enjoy!

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Comments

  1. Chris says

    This is a great way to make some easy snacks and its so much cheaper. I’ve made these before and they turned out great. You can also throw them in the dehydrator if needed, to take away some of the “sticky”

  2. Marta says

    Good ideas! I’m making them as well at home, but want to experiment with other flavors. I usually just put everything in the food processor and then make small balls and chill them in the fridge.

  3. Michelle says

    These sound great and Lara bars are so expensive. How long do they keep? What is the best way to store them. Thanks!

  4. Michelle says

    These sound great and Lara bars are so expensive. How long do they keep? What is the best way to store them. Thanks!

    It was great meeting you at AHS :)

    • Sarah says

      I have been keeping them in a airtight container in the fridge and I have a feeling they would last a very long time being that it’s only fruit and nuts!! Great to meet you as well Michelle! : )

  5. Becky says

    These look just like larabars! (and I’m sure they taste just like them too!) Thank you so much for the recipe, I am totally going to try these!

  6. Stacy W says

    I’ve been wanting a homemade Lara bar recipe! I can’t wait to make these for myself and save some big bucks!!

  7. Stacey says

    I am SO excited to try this! I’m living in a dorm, so not having to bake these is going to make my life so much simplier! Not to mention the money I’ll save! :]

  8. Raquel says

    Can’t wait to make these. Thank you for sharing. Do you have to melt the coconut oil before adding it to the Coconut Cherry recipe? My husband LOVES cherries and I know he’ll want me to make that particular one immediately.

  9. Tom R. says

    I try not to get too caught up in the fructose argument but am curious about your thoughts, considering your recipes (and Lara Bars) are sweetened mostly using dates.

    • Sarah says

      I suggest using common sense with anything that seems like a treat. If you are sustaining your life on these bars, it’s probably not such a great idea of if you are trying to make some body composition shifts I would not recommend eating these all of the time but for families with kids or for a snack now and then, I say go for it, it’s real food. However, like with anything else, folks need to decide for themselves if this is something they should be eating and if so how often.

  10. Lisa Weber says

    Once again, you never cease to amaze me. Thanks! Can you now wow with me a zucchini muffin recipe? Something easy, nothing fancy, using just coconut or almond meal flour?Thanks.

  11. CNYmicaa says

    What do you think about adding protein into these? could you add egg white protein in do you think? That is one of the reasons I stopped eating Lara bars, they were mainly carbs…

  12. Jen says

    This idea will be handy when our apricot tree at our new house bears fruit. Anyone have any Paleo ideas for figs?

  13. says

    Hi Sarah!
    I am a larabar lover as well and have been making them for a while and I have a variation to share with you! I make Key Lime Larabars. I use the same method you do. Here’s the recipe-
    1/3 c. dates, 1/2 c. raw cashews, ¼ c coconut, 1 t. lime zest 1/2 tsp. vanilla, 2 T. lime juice
    Love love LOVE your blog! I am a huge fan of everything you are doing!
    ~Margaret

  14. Nancy says

    Thanks for the recipe! I’m always afraid to make homemade packaged food but these really do turn out just like the originals. Hubby voted your cherry version better because of the coconut.

    I ended up making apple flavored ones with one cup dried apples instead of apricots, and added a tablespoon of cinnamon to the mix.

    Also, my fruit didn’t make a very good paste(for the apples or the cherries) and wouldn’t stick into bars, but adding a tablespoon of water or two and reblending everything in the food processor did the trick.

  15. Summer says

    Sarah,
    Are medjool dates hard to find? And where do you typically find them? These look yummy. I can’t wait to try them. Thanks!

    • Sarah says

      I buy medjool dates from either Trader Joe’s or Costco so typically they are not too hard to find. You can also often find them in the produce section of major grocery stores! : )

  16. Yvette says

    Sarah,

    Any particualr reason you did not buy the dried fruit (cherries and apricots) at TJ’s as well? The TJ’s I go to actually carries unsulfated apricots as well. Would these make to dry a bar?

    Yvette

  17. Shannon says

    We have made a breakfast cereal out of a similar recipe. Using a food processor, I put in raw almonds and cashews, raisins, dates and coconut. I let it get to the consistancy that I like (have tried more ground and more chunky versions), add some salt and coconut oil, then put it in a glass bowl and refrigerate it. The coconut oil hardens up making it ‘chunky’. I don’t have any measurements but no matter what you can’t mess up. I usually have it with more nuts than dried fruit. I spoon some out and pour milk (whatever variety you use) over it. My family loves it. Too much. We have to limit it.

  18. Misty says

    SO FREAKING DELICIOUS! Seriously, these are just like the Lara Bars. Many times people will try to mimic a recipe, but this really is amazing and just like the real thing. I’m very new to Paleo and I’m really struggling with the no dairy part as many of my mornings were cereal in a cup on my way to work. I don’t always have time to make eggs, so I made these bars as a quick breakfast bar and they are so delicious. Now if I can just keep my husband from popping them like popcorn!

  19. Jim says

    We’ve been making a slight variation for a while and the kids love it – ground nuts, dates, a bit of shredded coconut, some coconut oil and a spoon of unsweetened cocoa powder. If only there was a “nut free” version they could take to school!

    Another trick is, instead of using a baking sheet, we press it by hand into a baking tin lined with platic wrap so the finished piece is rectangular, though still thin. Makes it easier to cut into squares without all the jagged edge bits that always seemed to fall apart.

  20. Lilychemgirl says

    I LOVE your blog and recipes Sarah :) These sound similar to the paleo truffles I make for my kids school lunches. I use fewer dates (maybe 6 dates to 1.5 cups nuts), a little coconut oil, a teaspoon of unsweetened baking cocoa – whizz in the food processor and then shape into balls and roll in either baking cocoa (my 7 year old doesn’t like coconut threads) or coconut threads. The kids think they are a candy, lol, and they are absolutely delicious and look like a ‘regular’ truffle. Only problem is Mama really likes them too!
    We are not yet 100% paleo here, but are making great strides, a lot of which are due to your website and podcast. Book is in the mail from Amazon :) Thanks!

  21. Kate says

    Do you pit the dates? Or does your food processor handle those? Or is Trader Joe’s just so wonderful that they are already pitted? Mine made some weird noises, I peeked in and was able to pull 12 lovely little pits out. I got my dates from the bulk section at our local HEB (Texas chain grocery store that is really quite nice). I was also surprised that the fruit mixture was harder than the nut mixture to process – shaking all over the counter. What kind of food processor do you use?

    ok, 4 questions is all I’ll ask. I made the cherry coconut – I wish you coined the “yum-o” phrase, not Rachel Ray….. these bars are yum-o for sure!

    • brian plaskow says

      Please for the love of God, pit your dates if you’re using Medjool dates! I almost broke a tooth on my first bite. I had to pick through the sticky mess looking for all the other pits.

      That being said, these turned out great! This was the first thing I made with our brand new Cuisinart 9-cup food processor (wedding gift). Thanks for the great recipe!

  22. John says

    Cashew’s Paleo? This is a commonly debated issue. Cordain put’s them on the good list, they are not a legume. Other paleo advocates say no to cashews. I always say go by how you feel! What’s great about this recipe is nuts are interchangeable : )

  23. Marcheline says

    Sounds yummy! Especially the one with cherries.

    P.S. It’s “knead”, not “kneed”. (Mentioned twice in #5) 8-)

    • traderpaul says

      I made these with my kids who weren’t keen on dates. I figured that the dates were an important ‘gooey’ component that would hold the bar together so I substituted 1/2 of the dates for a similar amount of dried cranberries.
      Worked fine and the kids loved them!

  24. says

    Our local WFoods doesn’t sell Larabars, but an even more expensive option, at $3.29. And you’re right: it’s about the same size as a Larabar and both are just too much for any of us. We split them every time… except there’s five of us paleo-maniacs and so one half is always stuck to the side of my wallet at the end of the day.

    Gonna make these tomorrow!

  25. Marybeth says

    I tried the cherry and coconut variation. I used walnuts as I did not have pecans. Very tasty except I believe it needs more coconut oil as mine were very crumbly and did not stick together after I “kneaded” the heck out of it. But am enjoying it anyway.

  26. Lace says

    I tried to like Lara Bars, but couldn’t do it…there was always an off taste (maybe from the wrapper?). These bars, however, ARE AMAZING!!! I did the coconut recipe and can not imagine my fridge without them in it. My friends are hooked, too :) I’m thinking of adding shredded carrots for a kind of carrot cake-sans the cake.

    THANKS AGAIN FOR ANOTHER GREAT RECIPE, SARAH!!

  27. Shari says

    Made three batches tonight and YUM! Coconut cherry, cherry, and chocolate coconut (altered the cherry coconut recipe by swapping 6 more dates instead of cherries and added 2T unsweetened cocoa). Thanks for sharing!

  28. Kitty says

    I made these and they are super yummy! Yet another snack that will aid me with converting the BF ;)

    I have always been bad rolling out anything, so I formed mine into balls and rolled them in super fine coconut flakes.

    Thanks again for a rocking recipe. And thank you Margaret for posting a Key Lime recipe, those are my fave!

  29. Davida says

    Hi! I am a really huge fan of your blog and have been delighted with the recipes that I’ve tried out at home. I really want to try this recipe but am unfortunately allergic to almonds. What (if any) would be an acceptable nut substitute?

  30. Sharyn Mulqueen says

    Just made these – kinda combined both recipes and fiddled a bit. Mixed cashews, almonds, dates, apricots and dried cranberries. Super easy and yummy! But how do you store them?

  31. Shannah says

    FYI, leave out the pumpkin pie spice and add two heaping tbsp cocoa powder and they qualify as “candy bars” for six year olds. I have had to hand out the “candy bar” recipe to two mommies.

  32. Vanessa says

    Hi, Love the blog. Such useful tips for making paleo seem achievable. So my question is for someone who is new to the paleo scene, and is trying to lose weight.. how often would you allow yourself one of these bars? Thanks!

    • Sarah says

      Hi Vanessa! If you are trying to lean out, I would treat these like at treat or honestly avoid them all together for a while unless you can make sure you only eat a very small amount every now and then. : )

  33. ginnie says

    Because I tried to use a mini food processor in the beginning, I ended up having to put all ingredients back into my big processor and I ended up with fruit n nut balls…then rolled em in unsweetened fine coconut. .Tomorrow I will attempt the bars again because the balls were absolutely yum!

  34. Kam says

    Holy moly, I just made the coconut cherry recipe & it came out amazing. I’m having to use serious restraint to prevent myself eating the entire tray in 1 sitting. Many thanks for the recipe!

  35. Kate says

    I just made these in less time than it takes my son and I to decide which Lara bars to buy – so easy!! I used prunes (shhh, don’t tell my son, he thinks they are dried plums ;)) and almonds since that is what I had on hand, through in a generous shake of cinnamon and they worked like a dream! Freezing them briefly to make cutting and storing easier. Thanks so much!

  36. Alison H says

    I just made the Apricot Bars and OMG they are delicious. I had to add a little more dates and apricots, but other than that…perfection!!! I will be making so many versions of these in the coming months. My 3 year old has found another paleo snack to add to his repertoire :-)

    THANK YOU!!!!

    • Sarah says

      You are very welcome! Too funny but I just made a batch too but instead of apricots this time I used dried figs, a few dried cherries, and a bunch of cinnamon and just walnuts. SOOO GOOD!!!

  37. Amy says

    Made the cherry coconut today — BIG hit!! Thanks for the great recipe.

    I had stopped buying the kids Lara bars because they were too expensive and disappeared way too fast. I don’t know if this version is that much cheaper, since I had to buy everything except the almonds that I already had on hand, but they are tasty and my son and I had a blast making them together.

    • Amy says

      *UPDATE*

      I have made these three times with great success using Medjool dates. Thought I would try with a different kind of dates I found in the bulk aisle — Peglet (sp?), since they were about 1/4 the price of the Medjool.

      Uh, yeah…. not so good. Flavor is nice, but the dates were smaller and not as moist. I tried to compensate for the size by nearly doubling the number of dates (they’re roughly half the size of the Medjool), but it still didn’t work. The bars are crumbly and don’t hold together well.

      But they still taste great!

      • Claudette says

        Amy, I had the same problem. Who knows what a medjool date is, anyway? I live in rural Arkansas. Arkansas is Fat! I can see why, too. We are so limited in our choice of available foods. I think I am going to try the prunes, instead, next time.

        Sarah, love you and your blog. You seem so nice!! I am just starting this Paleo journey.

  38. Amy says

    I bought all the ingredients for the cherry-coconut bars this evening. I can’t wait to make them! A couple questions though – How do you store these? Fridge or no? Also, how long do they keep? Thank you!!

    • Sarah says

      I store them in the fridge in an airtight container and although we go through them pretty fast I would bet that when kept in the fridge they would last a really long time since what they are made with is more or less non-parishable anyway!

  39. Jenelle says

    I was just wondering has anyone tried and had success using Californian Dates? I can’t seem to find any of the Medjool dates…
    Many thanks!

    • Candace says

      I used the the California dates and mine turned out really yummy. I used the spiced bar recipe above and had some nuts leftover after I used a 10 oz bag of dates. Hope that helps. I’ll probably use the extra as cereal :)

    • Sara says

      You have to get them in the loose grain section of the market. You know the plastic bins where you can scoop what you need for grains, dried fruit, nuts, etc. I just found them this weekend at Hannafords super market. I’m sure that Whole Foods has them also, or Trader Joes.

  40. tonya says

    just made the cherry ones and theyre great! question though…..can we leave these out…..or should we leave them in the fridge?

  41. Nicole says

    Just made these today and man are they waaaayyyy tastier than store bought!!

    Question though: do the dates have a seed of sort that should be removed?
    I did use a cheapy food processor, so it could just be that it wouldn’t chop it up. Otherwise, AH-mazing!!

    • Suzanne says

      I have made them both ways… WITH seeds in and out. Great both ways. I have a cheap food processor, but other than ‘processing’ longer…. fine! I figure we eat a lot of seeds in our lives and they are good for us, these can’t hurt!

  42. heather says

    i had no luck with medjool dates from trader joes and my little food processor, so i tried the vitamix and that wasn’t much better–plus the mess oiy! any tips on processing the dates? plus my cashews from traders + dates ran me about $1 a bar. i will gladly pay more for them at the store unless i can figure out a way to do this easier and with less mess lol! help!

  43. Lori says

    I made the Apricot/Date bars and they are fabulous….quick question…are the supposed to be soft and chewy or a harder texture? Mine were soft and chewy…but yummy..had to take them to my tennis girls this morning because i cannot be trusted!!

  44. Veronica says

    Made these last week and they are a hit with the kids! I made the Spice Bars. These will be a staple in our household. Thank you!

  45. Laura says

    Hi Sarah! I’m loving your book, Everyday Paleo – thank you! :)

    I tried making these bars tonight and am wondering what attachment you used on your food processor. I’m not having much success. (Yes, I removed the seeds.) Looking at what I ended up with, it would be easier to grab a handful of nuts and a date! Help!

    • Doug Merriott says

      If you are using California Dates they are a little more dry than the Medjools. I found that drizzling a little cold water while processing works best, just cover your hand in water and let some drip in to the machine, repeat until you get the ball of dates, add the nuts and mix well.

  46. Kiki B says

    This is great, thanks for posting! I had been wanting to try making something similar to nak’d bars (raw fruit-nut bars) at home because, let’s face it, they’re SO expensive to buy all the time. They do make a great quick snack, though, so I always keep a few around. Now this will save me some money AND an hour drive each way to the only store I know of that sells them! Looking forward to trying them all!

  47. Rebecca says

    Sarah – made these in spice today….they are delicious!!!! Beat store bought all day long! Found the dates at Costco for $2 cheaper/pound than Trader Joes. Trying the cherry ones tonight – call me addicted! Thanks for all you do.

  48. BlessedCP says

    I really had a difficult time getting these out of my Vitamix. Since the bottom doesn’t come off on the pitcher is was nearly impossible to get the mixture out from under the blades. Would LOVE any tips any of you experienced Vitamix users have.
    Thanks for the great recipes.

  49. Robin says

    I just made this recipe and they are soooo good! Much better than any of the Lara bars. I used the apricot recipe but used walnuts (I didn’t have any pecans) and I also added a few handfuls of dried unsweetend cherries. They are so yummy that I can’t stop eating them! Thanks for the recipe!

  50. Shay Jay says

    Love the idea of making these “Lara Bars” at home. Are there any alternatives to using Dates at the base? I love them but my Mom does not. Any suggestions woudl be greatly appreciated. Keep up the good work Everyday Paleo team!

      • andrea says

        i just made the apricot ones tonight..they didn’t have dates at the trader joes so i picked up a bag of assorted raisins and some prunes. i had no idea how much 12 dates would be so i just estimated and if its too dry just add some more :)

  51. Carol in Columbus, OH says

    Very yummy — I’ve made the Spice Bars and the Coconut-Cherry Bars and needed to double the amount of Medjool dates in order for everything to hold together fairly well into a ball. For the Coconut-Cherry Bars I also added 1/2 cup raw cacoa nibs (i.e. pure unsweetened cocoa). Thanks for sharing!

  52. Jen says

    My daughter (15 year old) is just starting the paleo diet to lose weight (she needs to lose 20 lbs.). I want to help her, however, I don’t know anything about paleo. These fruit and nut bars look like something she would like but I am worried about portions. How many should she limit herself to per day? Is this a treat or meal? Can you recommend any good books on portions and servings that are easy to understand? I make all of our meals from scratch but I do use a lot of paleo unfriendly foods, so I am going to need to change our entire way of cooking and eating. I am in the dark.

    • andrea says

      hey jen! i think it’s great that you’re trying to help you’re daughter. it’s so hard being young and feeling like you’re going through it alone. i’ve read from a few diff paleo blogs that if you want to lose weight then you should limit nut and fruit intake. i’m not a paleo pro by any means but i’d say these are a snack and limit them to one a day at most.

  53. Jacey says

    Just made the cherry bars but subbed unsweetened, dried apple instead of cherries and added cinnamon, nutmeg and a little vanilla extract. SO tasty!

  54. Clint T says

    Got a question. can you substitute the dates for figs? The part of the country im in has figs in abundance right now. Just wondering if anyone has tried to use them.

    • Sarah says

      I personally have not tried these yet with dried fits but I’m sure you could, I would just make half a batch at first to make sure it works however.

  55. Katy says

    Hi I’d love to try these for my daughter for school however they are a nut free school – any suggestions for a nut free version.

  56. Jamie laRue says

    I’ve tried other DIY Lara Bar recipes, but this one is the best, in my opinion, due to the addition of sea salt. The salt just makes the flavors all come together. I don’t bother using a rolling pin– I just flatten the with my hands, free style. The whole family loves them!

  57. Connie says

    If you can’t use nuts, try sunflower or pumpkin seeds. Sunflower seeds are more “nut-like” in taste, IMO.

  58. Maria says

    This looks really yummy! Must make asap! And a tip in regards to the dates vs. Machines hassel. I recently found out that many arab stores/ greengrocers with large selections of different ethnic foods have pre-processed date paste in packs of ca. 500grams. (i am based in Copenhagen Denmark) All the ones i have seen 4-5 brands are 100% dates, no nasties. It has made it so easy for me to make balls/bars. Eliminates the struggle with the machine and the time used for taking out the seeds. You can just chop nuts (and cherries/apricots) in a blender/processer and mix it in with the date paste by hand, like it was cookie dough.

  59. Bev says

    I couldn’t get my fruit mix to form a paste and the mix was too dry so I’m going to eat it with a spoon instead. Can imagine would be great if I had managed to make them into bars! :)

  60. Amber says

    These taste SO MUCH BETTER than I thought they would (and I had high expectations.) I just made them with my kids and it’s going to take some will power to not eat any more than I already have tonight. I used just dates and coconut with almonds and pecans because we are out of dried cherries and they are amazing!!! I’m telling everyone about them. Thanks so much for the recipe.

  61. Tami says

    I think these look fabulous! My son is currently deployed and trying to eat healthy. He has asked for Paleo type snacks. Do you think these would be ok for shipping? It takes about 10 days for a package to reach him. If not these do you have any other suggestions?

  62. lorna says

    I made your cherry coconut bars – they are awesome!!! thanks for sharing your recipes!!! i added to the recipe a bit by using almonds, pecans and walnuts, but lightly toasting them first…and swapped in about a 1/4-1/3 cup of dried pineapple (no sugar added) for cherries – so 2/3-3/4 cup of cherries and the rest pineapple. i had to add another tablespoon of coconut oil to get them to stick with this combination…but they came out really great…

  63. Sinda says

    I rolled mine into small 1″ to 1-1/2″ balls. They are easier to store in a container…and they don’t stick together. I LOVE these bars!!!!!!!! Thank you so much for sharing your recipe!!!

  64. Lindsey says

    I just made the apricot ones- SOOO GOOD!!! Also, I just pressed them into a coconut-oil greased Perfect Brownie pan and I got 18 perfectly cut squares! :)

  65. Jen says

    I wasn’t sure if someone had already asked this… but BOTH of my kids classrooms are completely nut free. With us being paleo i”m having a difficult time coming up with something other than just dried fruit and fruit for snacktime. Lunch is different, there’s a nut free table that the kids who are allergic have to sit at. These sound good, but I think I remember seeing somewhere that you could do nut free Larabars? Do you have a suggestion on how to convert this? They can bring in coconut, seeds, dry fruit, stuff like that.

    Thanks!

  66. DJG says

    I made the apricot bars last weekend and they were outstanding! Thank you for sharing this recipe. It’s a huge help to me in having a ready made paleo snack available. I just need a bigger food processor now :)

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