Well, I finally did it—feast your eyes on these grain-free, nut-free vegan chocolate chunk beauties!! Whew. Nicole and I, along with a couple bonus mama testers (shout-out to Cynthia and Jen!), teamed up to test about 25 batches of cookies these past few weeks! High fives all around. I couldn’t do it without these amazing ladies.
Over the years I’ve been asked so many times to develop grain-free vegan cookies…and nut-free vegan cookies…and grain- AND nut-free vegan cookies! Haha. So you know what I did? I created grain-free and nut-free vegan cookies. It wasn’t easy, but the journey was rather delicious. These cookies have actually been in the making for a couple years as I went back to an old grain-free cookie recipe that I started developing and then forgot about. Score!
This recipe uses cassava flour, which is a grain- and gluten-free flour made from yuca with good binding properties and a neutral flavour. I wanted so badly to share a swap for the cassava flour (as I know it’s not a common ingredient), but I’m just not quite there yet—although I have been experimenting with arrowroot starch as an option! Stay tuned. So today, instead of a flour swap, I thought I’d share some other allergy-friendly OSG cookie recipes that might suit your needs in the list below. I’ve also included suggestions for where to find cassava flour within the recipe itself.
If you don’t have cassava flour on hand and still want to make some cookies (of course you do!), here are some of my nut- or grain-free vegan choco chip cookie options:
Nut-free vegan cookies:
- Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies from Oh She Glows Every Day, p. 213. You can swap the peanut butter for natural smooth sunflower seed butter.
- Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, p. 265. See the nut-free option on page 266.
Grain-free vegan cookies:
- Crispy Almond Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies from The Oh She Glows Cookbook, p. 265. See the grain-free option on page 266.
Gluten-free vegan cookies:
Any faves out there? I’d like to think there’s something for everyone. :)
Let baking season begin in 3…2…1…GO!
Grain-free, Nut-free Chocolate Chunk Cookies
9 medium/large cookies
I’ve had so many requests for a grain- and nut-free version of my popular vegan chocolate chip cookies and I’m so happy to have one to share at long last. These delicate cookies are light as air and use sunflower seeds (both in butter and ground form) to create a rich and “nutty” cookie. Sometimes sunflower seeds can lend a bitter flavour, but these cookies have a mellow and pleasant taste! I also use cassava flour, which is a grain- and gluten-free flour made from dried yuca. I’ve found it has good binding properties and a neutral flavour for baking. You can purchase it on Amazon or find it in some health food stores. It’s very important to follow the instructions exactly as written as these cookies are sensitive to even small changes. This recipe is adapted from my Jumbo Chocolate Chunk Cookies.
For the wet ingredients:
- 1/4 cup (63 g) natural smooth sunflower seed butter*
- 2 tablespoons (25 g) packed brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons (30 mL) pure maple syrup
- 2 1/2 tablespoons (37.5 mL) coconut oil (room temp) or grapeseed oil**
For the dry ingredients:
- 6 tablespoons (54 g) raw sunflower seeds
- 3 tablespoons (30 g) cassava flour***
- 1 teaspoon (2 g) ground chia seed****
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1/3 cup (50 g) dark chocolate squares
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
- To a large bowl, add the wet ingredients (sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and oil) and stir until completely smooth.
- Place the sunflower seeds into a food processor and process for about 40 to 60 seconds until a fine meal forms. You want to process the seeds to as fine a meal as possible without them turning into butter!
- Add the dry ingredients (ground sunflower seeds, cassava flour, ground chia seeds, baking soda, and salt) to the wet mixture bowl and stir until thoroughly combined. The dough will be very sticky, but this is normal. Chop the chocolate, reserving one heaping tablespoon for later. Stir the remaining chopped chocolate into the dough until combined.
- Using a 2-tablespoon (30-mL) cookie scoop (or simply a spoon), scoop small mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheet a few inches apart. There’s no need to flatten the mounds as they’ll spread out during baking. Now, using the chocolate you set aside, press a few chunks into each mound (this just helps the cookies look a bit more chocolaty when baked!).
- Bake for 10 to 11 minutes (I bake for 10 minutes) for a soft and tender cookie.
- Remove cookies from the oven and cool directly on the baking sheet for 10 minutes. Using a spatula, gently transfer each cookie (they’ll be very fragile) to a cooling rack for another 10 to 15 minutes. The cookies will be crumbly until they are fully cooled, so it’s very important that you give them some time to firm on the rack (I know, it’s the hardest thing you’ll ever do!).
- Serve and enjoy! Cooled cookies will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for 1 to 2 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 weeks. I love the delightful “snappy” texture these cookies get as the chocolate firms up from chilling!
* The sunflower seed butter should be 100% sunflower seeds without any added sugars or oils. I use Organic SunButter. Be sure to stir the sunflower seed butter before measuring and avoid using the dry/hard butter at the bottom of the jar. If using thicker seed butter, the cookies won’t spread as much when baking.
** If your coconut oil is hard as rock, you can melt it over very low heat and then cool before using. Avoid using warm coconut oil as it’ll melt the chocolate chips.
*** Cassava flour can be a bit tricky to locate. Your best bet is to buy from an online retailer (such as this one on Amazon) or a natural food store.
**** To make ground chia seed, add seeds to a high-speed blender or coffee grinder and blend/grind on high until a flour forms. An equal amount of ground flaxseed also works in place of chia, but it will yield a thicker cookie. I prefer using ground chia. Leftover ground seeds can be stored in the freezer in an airtight freezer bag for future use.
Angela – these look delicious, can’t wait to try these!! And I LOVE your photography! The background looks great- and I love that last cheeky photo ;)
Aww thank you, Sandra!! I’ve been focusing on changing up my photography (with different surfaces and props) a bit lately after not being happy with it for a while…so that means the world to me. :) Thanks so much for the encouragement!
Thanks so much for this, can’t wait to try it! My daughter was recently diagnosed with Celiac, and I’m struggling to find gluten free (and oat free) options that are ALSO nut free for school!
Oh I can imagine how tricky that is, Allison…I hope you both enjoys these cookies. They are quite delicate at room temp, so my advice if packing in a lunchbox would be to chill them until firm and then place them next to an ice pack.
Hi Angela! Thank you for your great recipes! I can’t wait to try these cookies! Speaking of cookies, most of my go-to cookie recipes come from your cookbooks & blog! One question- do you think avocado oil would work instead of coconut/grapeseed oil in this recipe?
Hey Anna, Oh I wanted to try an avocado oil version, but never got around to it! If the oil has a neutral flavour I’d say it should be fine to swap. Some avocado oils can be quite strong, so just do a taste test before using. I used grapeseed oil as an alternative to coconut oil since it has such an undetectable flavour. :)
Can I sub the cassava flour for wheat flour?
Hi Jackie, We tested a trial using spelt flour and it was too dry and crumbly, so my guess is wheat flour would produce a dry, crumbly texture as well..but I’m not certain of course. :) Because these are vegan + grain-free + nut-free, we found the cookies are very sensitive to changes. If you do any experimenting, I’d love to hear how it goes!
I LOVE Your jumbo chocolate chip cookies…these look delicious too! :)
So glad to hear that Brittany! Thanks :)
Oh, these look so yummy and I’ll definitely use my scale to measure ingredients, since you said these are a bit sensitive to changes. Do you know if tapioca flour or any others of the starch flours (potato or arrowroot) might work? I’m uber-gluten-free – no rice, even – so I’m looking forward to baking them!
I’m currently working on an arrowroot starch version, but it’s not quite ready to “formally” share yet. Nicole and I were both successful with swapping the cassava with 3 tablespoons arrowroot (in addition to baking an extra minute and letting them cool a bit longer), but another mama tester said they were crumbly using arrowroot so will need to keep testing it. Hope this helps!
According to the back of a box of tapioca starch, tapioca IS cassava.
I found out that tapioca flour is more refined than cassava flour, all from the yucca root.
Yay!! This is wonderful and congratulations! This is so awesome. I haven’t tried the recipe, YET. But, the idea behind this is amazing. Not to mention that they look crunchy and delicious, too.
Question: You’ve probably already mentioned this on your site, but what brand of chocolate chips do you use? I want a vegan, healthy sugar option.
Hi Amanda, Thank you! I agree they do look crunchy but they are actually super soft and tender. Most of my cookies tend to be chewy with crispy edges, but these are so soft and tender. :) For cookies I love to use Green and Blacks chocolate bars – 70 or 85% and then I chop it up. If I am using chips, I will use Enjoy Life (but I admit, their flavour isn’t that complex and they’re high in sugar).
Thanks so much for posting this recipe. I have been using so many of your recipes for years but was recently diagnosed with about a million food sensitivities and have had to eliminate so many things (including all grains, nuts, seeds and coconut).
I’m wondering what the chia seeds are for in this recipe? I would need to make a substitution. I can use tigernut oil for the coconut oil and tigernut butter for the sunflower butter, but I’m not sure about the chia seeds.
Thanks so much!
Hey Stephanie, Oh I can relate to the food sensitivities! I just had testing this summer and I’ve been cutting out all of my “avoid” foods for the past several weeks. It sure isn’t easy! The chia helps bind the cookies. I did swap ground flax for the ground chia and it worked fine…the cookies are just a tiny bit thicker when using ground flax. I hope this helps and I would love to hear how your tigernut trial goes!
Favourite OSG cookies?! After eating batches of these, they are definitely on the list…gooey, chocolatey and chewy and beyond delicious (they literally melt in your mouth!) I have to say, every time I make your Snickerdoodles (gluten-free) from the blog everybody dies for them! I have given that recipe out more times than I can count. My all time fave, though, is your Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies from Oh She Glows Everyday. I constantly make them as thank you gifts, Friday treats, winter day warmers or just because I have the ingredients on hand ha ha ha!
I still laugh when I think about how disappointed my sister was when she found out the flourless PB cookies didn’t make the first cookbook! hahah…they are her favourite too. ;)
I have had cassava flour in my pantry forever and haven’t found a recipe I loved with cassava so it has been sitting there for way too long. When I saw this recipe I knew I had to try. I followed it exactly as written except subbed coconut sugar for brown sugar. They are SO yummy. I will definitely be making this time and time again. They do have a strong sunflower taste but I really like it! Wonderful recipe!
Hi Stephanie, I’m so glad they were a hit! Thanks for your review. And I had to laugh at your cassava comment…I’ve had a bag of it in my pantry for ages now, and this is my first recipe experiment where I actually liked the cassava addition. I hear you can make great cassava wraps with the flour so that’s next on my list!
Can these be made oil free, e.g., using whole applesauce, with similar results?
Hi Chris, Since these cookies are grain-free, nut-free and vegan (!) I’ve found they are super sensitive to recipe changes. I haven’t tested them swapping the oil out, so I can’t say for sure. If you try anything please let us know how it goes!
These worked perfectly with tapioca flour. You were so right about letting them cool thoroughly. When they first emerged from the oven, I immediately thought they were a flop–crumbled to the lightest touch. 10 minutes of cool time (felt like forever!) and they had solidified and were great. Tender, as you note above, is the perfect way to describe them I also used coconut sugar in place of brown sugar. Now I just have to get them in the freezer before I eat the whole batch!
Yes that cooling time is so crucial! :) I’m so glad tapioca flour worked…thanks for sharing! Did you use 3 tbsp?
These look so good Angela! I’ve been reading your blog practically since the beginning, and I’ve loved your photography at every stage — there something very cozy and nostalgic about it. I love going through your old recipes when it’s chilly outside with a mug of tea! Your new props and backgrounds look great.
Hey Michelle, you’re so sweet to say all of this! It really made me smile. I’ve felt like I’ve been in a photography rut for a while so I’ve been LOVING getting some new surfaces and props to use since it’s been a few years since I really invested in any. I’m trying to bring back a bit more of my “cozy” photography vibe while still keeping it modern looking. It’s a fun challenge! I love hearing that you cozy up to the blog with a tea. :) Thanks so much for your support!
These look AMAZING! I am such a sucker for chocolate, and have been searching for years for a healthy choc-chip cookie. I think my dreams have finally come true! Plus, as they’re nut free, I can share them with my partner…. maybe…
haha love this comment :) I hope you love them! Please let me know what you think!
Hey Angela! Love your books! They’re so amazing! I have two questions for you!
Q1. Are you planning on releasing a new book?
Q2. I currently own your “Oh She Glows Cookbook” 2014 edition! Do you have the nutritional facts online? Like calories/macros and such? Thanks so much! Keep doing what you’re doing. You’re truly an inspiration to me.
Aww thank you for the kind words! I hope to release a third cookbook at some point. :) Unfortunately, I only have nutritional data for the second book, not the first one. So sorry about that!
I would guess cassava flour would be easy to find in an ethnic food store, for those wondering! We saw it everywhere in South America.
I’m curious if you gave chickpea flour a try? I would think it could be a great grain-free substitute for a cookie. I haven’t tried it myself…have been waiting for my favorite bloggers to do the work first. Haha.
Hey Jen, Ah yes good tip! I haven’t had a lot of luck with chickpea flour in sweet recipes..the flavour is just too strong for me and I find it jumps out even when used in a small amount. I love it in savoury recipes though (like my chickpea pancakes!). My guess is that it wouldn’t bind these cookies enough if swapped for the cassava flour. I had a pretty good outcome swapping a starch (arrowroot) though and I think another reader mentioned tapioca starch worked. :)
OMG!! This looks sooooo good. Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely have to try this!
Angela, these cookies look wonderful and yummy!!! The idea about crunchy choc-chip sounds good. I am anxiously waiting to try this recipe this weekend. Hopefully I will be able to produce the same delicious ones.
Angela! Those cookies look yummy! I am a fan of chocolate. Can’t wait to try! I hope mom will love it too.
A question – do you have any storage tips for non-grain based flours like cassava in this recipe, and other flours like sorghum, etc.? I know that grain-free baked goods tend to not last as long as wheat flour based products, and i’m worried about stocking up on many different types of flours if I don’t end up using them fast enough. I have a zillion gluten free recipes I want to try all with different types of flours!
Hey Allison, I’ve heard of people putting them in the freezer (in freezer safe zip bags) for longer storage, but I haven’t tried it yet myself. :) I’m sure it would help though!
When using Tapioca flour, how many tablespoons would you recommend?
Hi Ted, Another reader said tapioca did work well. Here is her comment: “These worked perfectly with tapioca flour. You were so right about letting them cool thoroughly. When they first emerged from the oven, I immediately thought they were a flop–crumbled to the lightest touch. 10 minutes of cool time (felt like forever!) and they had solidified and were great. Tender, as you note above, is the perfect way to describe them” To me it sounds like it was a 1:1 swap (so she used 3 tablespoons). I’d love to hear how it goes if you try it!
Yum!! These are groundbreaking. Seriously. Chocolate chip is one of my all-time faves, but I have a problem with grains. They make me tired! I can’t wait to try these. I shared these on my Facebook page too. Will tweet them too. Thanks again!
Hey Kristen, I’d love to hear what you think if you try the cookies! Thanks for sharing the recipe love too.
This recipe will make all the people in my house (big and little) happy! I don’t do very well with grains (read: so much bloating), but I love to have some sweet treats in the house. YUM.
I made those today and they were a hit with my family! Thanks for sharing the recipe! Definitely not the last time I’m making them! :)
YUM!!! I absolutely love this recipe. So grateful for a version without nuts, grains, eggs or baking powder. With this solid skeleton you created as a reference for play, I have been experimenting with replacing the sunflower seeds + butter with sesame seeds and tahini, slightly altering the ratios of cassava flour to sesame seeds powder, and have added AIP baking powder (cream of tartar and baking soda in a 2:1 ratio). THANK YOU for sharing this very valuable recipe!!
PS: I have been following your work since the very beginning, as I was recovering from orthorexia its been helpful to journey in the virtual world with your stories…
PPS: I am also from New Brunswick!
Hello fellow Maritimer! ;) Thank you so much for your kind words Josianne. I’m so glad you’ve been having so much fun with the cookie recipe! Thanks for sharing :)
I have made this today. All of us of my family love Vegan Chocolate. Now I’m pro in Chocolate making. Credit Angela!! Thanks for sharing vague less presentation.
Hi Angela! These look great. Do you think that oat flour could work? Or maybe a combo of oat flour and coconut flour?
Hey Olivia, I’m not sure to be honest, but I would recommend making my One Bowl Chocolate Chunk Cookies which are made with oat flour and almond flour (if you can have nuts?) https://ohsheglows.com/2016/06/15/one-bowl-jumbo-chocolate-chunk-cookies-vegan-gf/ I’d love to hear what you think!
I do eat chocolate chunk cookies a lot but haven’t tried grain-free vegan cookies. I’ll definitely get this going on Saturday or Sunday.
I’d love to hear what you think if you try them Elizabeth!
Well, I learned my lesson – again – to read the recipe all the way through first! I went out yesterday and found cassava flour at the health food store and only bought it because it was on sale. Even so, $7.50/pound! Then I read I only need 3 T of it, AND I need sunbutter, which I don’t have. I’m wanting these too much NOW for another 40-minute drive so I’ll give them a whirl with almond butter instead and see how it goes. I’ll be back!
First tip, make a double batch!!! Seriously, I had to buy 2 lbs of cassava flour, so I’ll definitely be making these again. I had to use almond butter, so not nut-free, but they worked out well and not too crumbly. Hubbie says as long as a cookie doesn’t fall apart when he picks it up it’s OK by him. These passed the test! They were tender, as you say. I used grapeseed oil and will try coconut oil next time. Maybe I should have adjusted the oil down a bit since I used almond butter. I’m sure I’ll be trying variations for a long time to come! I also found tapioca flour at an Asian market quite a bit cheaper than at the health food store, so I’ll be trying that out too. Oh, I highly recommend using a Trader Joe’s 85% chocolate bar as it has a nice hit of vanilla in it and that was a wonderful finish. I had to put the last four in the freezer or they’d be gone in one sitting. Thanks for the new keeper!
Oh my goodness, these are the BEST cookies I’ve had in many, many years! They are seriously the perfect combination of chewy and crispy. I couldn’t stop raving to my mom about how good they are. And I keep stopping over there just to steal more…
These taste EXACTLY like normal, non gluten free/vegan cookies do. And they freeze very well. Thanks for the awesome recipe!
Hey Brock, Im so glad to hear this! :) Thanks for letting me know
First of all, thank you, Angela, for sharing such a beautiful recipe with us. I made it today. Everyone in my family liked it.
Hey Cynthia, Oh I’m so glad to hear this. Thank you for letting me know!
Not sure what I did wrong, but the batter melted into one solid pan cookie – but I’m sure they will still be delicious.
I think I figured it out. I didn’t let the coconut oil cool down before I added it…oh well. I will try again!
These are our favourite cookies!! I use coconut sugar instead of brown which might be the reason but does anybody else notice the cookies go green inside? The taste amazing still but ya oddly turn green.
Also to cut back on oil I’ve done this recipe with applesauce and just cooked them longer. My favourite ration is halfing the required amount of oil with oil and applesauce.
Seriously the best recipe ever! Just weird to have the green inside. We also don’t refrigerate them because they stay softer that way.
Hey Angela, I tried this recipe this weekend and they were absolutely delicious! I am always looking for a new chocolate chip/chunk recipe and this will definitely be put on rotation.
No way to skip past the photos and talking to the recipe? That’s a lot of scrolling to have to do especially on a phone. :-\
Hi is it possible to omit the sugar and just use maple syrup? I made these and love them, but usually don’t like things so sweet so was hoping this would still work!