Grain-free, Nut-free Vegan Chocolate Chunk Cookies

by Angela (Oh She Glows) on September 6, 2018

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!

4.8 from 5 reviews
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Grain-free, Nut-free Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Vegan, gluten-free, grain-free, nut-free

By

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.

Yield
9 medium/large cookies
Prep time
Cook time

Ingredients:

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

Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C) and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. To a large bowl, add the wet ingredients (sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, maple syrup, and oil) and stir until completely smooth.
  3. 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!
  4. 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.
  5. 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!).
  6. Bake for 10 to 11 minutes (I bake for 10 minutes) for a soft and tender cookie.
  7. 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!).
  8. 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!

Nutrition Information

Serving Size 1 of 9 cookies | Calories 180 calories | Total Fat 13 grams
Saturated Fat 6 grams | Sodium 90 milligrams | Total Carbohydrates 14 grams
Fiber 1 grams | Sugar 7 grams | Protein 3 grams

Green and Black's 85% Dark Chocolate was used in the nutritional info calculation.
* Nutrition data is approximate and is for informational purposes only.

Tips:

* 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.

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{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

Sandra September 6, 2018 at 1:26 pm

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 ;)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 6, 2018 at 1:34 pm

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!

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Allison September 6, 2018 at 1:27 pm

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!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 6, 2018 at 1:30 pm

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.

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Anna September 6, 2018 at 1:46 pm

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?
Thanks!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 6, 2018 at 4:59 pm

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. :)

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Jackie September 6, 2018 at 4:38 pm

Can I sub the cassava flour for wheat flour?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 6, 2018 at 4:56 pm

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!

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Brittany Audra @ Audra's Appetite September 7, 2018 at 10:50 am

I LOVE Your jumbo chocolate chip cookies…these look delicious too! :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 7, 2018 at 12:38 pm

So glad to hear that Brittany! Thanks :)

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Lisa September 7, 2018 at 11:02 am

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!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 7, 2018 at 12:37 pm

Hey Lisa,
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!

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Amanda September 7, 2018 at 6:25 pm

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.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 8, 2018 at 6:06 am

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).

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Stephanie Brakefield September 8, 2018 at 12:59 pm

Hi Angela,
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!
Stephanie

Reply

Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2018 at 8:55 am

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!

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Nicole W. (Oh She Glows Recipe Tester) September 8, 2018 at 3:01 pm
Recipe Rating:

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!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2018 at 6:07 am

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. ;)

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Stephanie Moore September 8, 2018 at 6:37 pm
Recipe Rating:

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!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2018 at 6:03 am

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!

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Chris Peltz September 8, 2018 at 6:48 pm

Can these be made oil free, e.g., using whole applesauce, with similar results?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2018 at 6:02 am

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!

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SBRNYC752 September 8, 2018 at 10:58 pm
Recipe Rating:

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!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 10, 2018 at 6:00 am

Yes that cooling time is so crucial! :) I’m so glad tapioca flour worked…thanks for sharing! Did you use 3 tbsp?

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Michelle @ Sunkissed Kitchen September 10, 2018 at 7:58 pm
Recipe Rating:

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.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 11, 2018 at 8:05 am

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!

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Britt September 10, 2018 at 9:41 pm

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…

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 11, 2018 at 8:00 am

haha love this comment :) I hope you love them! Please let me know what you think!

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Kristi Guo September 11, 2018 at 10:51 pm
Recipe Rating:

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.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 18, 2018 at 10:19 am

Hey Kristi,
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!

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Jen Sotolongo September 13, 2018 at 3:39 am

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.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 14, 2018 at 6:23 am

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. :)

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Teniesha Collins September 13, 2018 at 3:49 pm

OMG!! This looks sooooo good. Thanks for sharing this. I’ll definitely have to try this!

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Brent September 13, 2018 at 5:01 pm

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.

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foody September 18, 2018 at 12:22 am

Angela! Those cookies look yummy! I am a fan of chocolate. Can’t wait to try! I hope mom will love it too.

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Allison September 19, 2018 at 9:15 am

Hi Angela,
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!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) September 19, 2018 at 12:17 pm

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!

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