Vegan and gluten free oatmeal breakfast cookies totally packed with seeds and whole grain oats for an ultra healthy, delicious start to the day. Made with a rich base of sunflower seeds, these are nut free and sugar free and very high in protein. Skip to the recipe →
This post was originally published in February 2018. It has been updated as of November 2019 with new information added to the text and recipe.
Healthy Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies
Think of these breakfast cookies as portable porridge with all the toppings. They’re made with oats (obviously), three kinds of seeds, raisins, dates, cinnamon, and some coconut oil.
Not just for breakfast, I’ll have one as a snack at any time of the day, and they’re full of protein, fibre, and healthy fats – perfect energy food. If you love oatmeal cookies, you’ll love this super easy, healthy breakfast version.
The cookies are soft, surprisingly rich and buttery, and ultra filling despite tasting like dessert. Sunflower seeds add a lot of flavour and a nice shortbread-like bite.
It’s like a much more convenient form of granola and cookies are always more fun than bars, I think, although I’m sure you could make granola bars out of this too. They end up being huge, hearty cookies, a meal in one! Especially if you have one with a berry smoothie in the morning.
Sweetening with Dates – No Sugar!
In the past little while, I’ve tried to cut my sugar intake down considerably, and left any honey or coconut sugar out of my baking. I don’t use refined sugars but added sugar is still sugar, even though I try not to use much of it.
I’ve been trying to sweeten everything with fruit and just have a little honey with my porridge in the morning, partly because coconut sugar is both imported and expensive, and partly just to see how we’d feel.
I don’t think Graham has noticed much of a difference but I’ve found that my energy levels are a lot higher and steadier. It was especially noticeable around my period, when I usually have a huge slump and end up on the couch for three days. This past month I worked right through it AND didn’t have any breakouts.
One of the bigger issues I have with our sugar consumption is snacks; I had been making granola bars and things like that without a recipe and just throwing in some sugar or honey without thinking about it.
These sugar-free, date sweetened cookies have become my go-to now, both for a super speedy breakfast when it’s needed, and as a daytime snack when there’s only so much hummus and veggie sticks a person can eat!
What Can I Substitute?
These are flexible – as long as you keep the base recipe the same, all of the add-ins can be changed out to your personal preferences. So keep the oat base, keep the dates, and most other things can be substituted.
Switch out seeds for nuts, raisins for other dried fruit (dried blueberries are out of this world), or try adding a little nut butter. If you don’t need to keep them gluten free, spelt flour can be used in place of oat, but use a ¾ cup instead of a full cup.
The chia acts as a binder here so don’t ditch it, though you can do a flax egg instead of you don’t have any chia on hand. Or a regular egg if you eat them. I’ve also had messages from readers noting that they work well with butter if you’re not dairy-free.
Cinnamon can be changed to another spice you love, or add some more spice to make things a bit more exciting. I never use medjool dates, just the cheap smaller ones, and any work as long as they’re pretty soft.
You should be able to form cookies without the mixture crumbling, so if it’s dry after making an substitutions, add another splash of milk. Please don’t sub coconut flour 1:1 for the oat flour.
Sometimes I leave out all of the dried fruit and go for straight chocolate chips instead. You do you.
Can the cookies be made without coconut oil?
I have tried changing out the coconut oil for a liquid oil, but it doesn’t work as well. The coconut oil acting as a solid at room temperature helps to hold the cookies together.
If you really want to try without, add three tablespoons of peanut butter or sunflower seed butter, and reduce the oil down to two tablespoons. I’ve done that before with olive oil, and though the texture isn’t as nice, they did hold together.
I have never tried to make these completely oil free. You may be able to sub applesauce for the oil, and I’ve had readers who have done this successfully, but I haven’t tried it yet.
How can I make these cookies without a food processor?
I get this a lot, and you can indeed make your own healthy oatmeal cookies without a food processor! There are just a few more steps.
First, use pre-ground oat flour, which you can buy almost everywhere these days. Then switch out the sunflower seeds that you’d be grinding up to form part of the base with almond flour or another nut meal – this takes away the nut-free element, but I’ve never seen seed flour to buy.
Mash the dates with a fork, soaking them ahead of time if needed, and melt the coconut oil. Mix everything in a large bowl, and you’re good to go.
If your dates are on the dryer side, or the mixture seems too crumbly, add a couple extra tablespoons of milk. Mixing by hand doesn’t bring the cookies together quite as well as in a food processor, so a little liquid might be needed.
If you don’t want to go through the extra steps, try these healthy trail mix cookies (made with buckwheat flour) instead.
More great date-sweetened recipes
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- 220 grams / 2 cups rolled oats, divided
- 110 grams / 3/4 cup raw sunflower seeds, divided
- 60 grams / 1/4 cup raisins
- 50 grams / 1/4 cup chia
- 40 grams / 1/4 cup pepitas
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 120 grams / 1/2 cup dates*
- 70 grams / 1/4 cup coconut oil
- 60 ml / 1/4 cup oat milk, or another non-dairy milk
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F and grease or line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Place 110 grams / 1 cup of the oats and 70 grams / 1/2 cup of the sunflower seeds into the bowl of a food processor fitted with the blade attachment. Mix on high for a minute or two, until a coarse flour forms.
- Place the flour into a large bowl and stir in the remaining oats, sunflower seeds, raisins, chia, pepitas, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda.
- Blend the dates, coconut oil, and milk in the food processor until the dates have broken down and a paste forms. Add this to the oat mixture and use your hands to mix very well, until fully combined. There should be no streaks of flour remaining.
- Form 10 large balls with the dough, each about a heaping 1/4 cup in size. Press them with your hands to flatten to about 3cm / 1in. high and place onto the prepared baking sheet. Repeat until all of the dough has been used, and then bake for 13-15 minutes or until the edges of the cookies are golden.
- Remove from the oven and cool for about ten minutes on the baking sheet before removing and cooling fully on a rack. They'll be a little fragile until they're completely cool. Store in a sealed container on the counter for up to three days, or freeze for up to a month.
• I'm sure the cookies keep longer than three days, it's just that they haven't lasted longer than that in our house!
• See above for notes on substitutions and how to make these without a food processor.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 251 Total Fat: 9g Saturated Fat: 3g Unsaturated Fat: 4g Cholesterol: 2mg Sodium: 760mg Carbohydrates: 26g Fiber: 5g Sugar: 9g Protein: 7g