5 Totally Instagrammable Vegan and Gluten-Free Recipes

The Healthy Convert
Follow the trends and stick to your diet.

Strawberry Blonde Bars

Healthy Convert Strawberry Blonde Bars

These strawberry blonde bars, made with medjool dates and coconut milk, are the perfect fruity finger foods to post on your next Instagram story.

What You'll Need:
Makes 18 bars

For the Base:

  • 80 g (2 3/4 oz) medjool dates, pitted
  • 80 ml (2 1/2 fl oz / 1/3 cup) rice malt syrup
  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz) unsweetened desiccated (shredded) coconut
  • 170 g (6 oz) raw macadamia nuts
  • 170 g (6 oz) buckwheat kernels

For the Filling:

  • 300 g (10 1/2 oz) raw cashew nuts
  • 180 ml (6 fl oz) rice malt syrup
  • 60 g (2 oz) coconut oil
  • 400 ml (13 1/2 fl oz) tinned coconut cream
  • 60 ml (2 fl oz / 1/4 cup) freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 180 g (6 1/2 oz) fresh strawberries, hulled

For the Garnish:

  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) coconut butter, melted
  • 9 fresh strawberries, halved
  • 20 g (3/4 oz) macadamia nuts, chopped


Step 1: Put the cashew nuts for the filling in a large bowl and cover with boiling water. Soak for 30 minutes. Line the base and sides of a 20 cm x 20 cm x 7 cm deep (8 in × 8 in × 2 3/4 in) square springform cake tin with baking paper, allowing the sides to overhang. Set aside.

Step 2: Blend the base ingredients and 30 ml (1 fl oz) water in your food processor until the mixture starts to come together. Press the mixture firmly into the base of your prepared tin. Freeze while you prepare the filling.

Step 3: Drain and rinse the cashew nuts very well. Blend the cashew nuts, rice malt syrup, coconut oil, coconut cream, lemon juice and vanilla in your food processor until silky smooth and well combined.

Step 4: Remove half the filling from the food processor and set aside. Add the strawberries to the food processor and blend until smooth. Pour the strawberry filling over the base and freeze for 1.5 hours. Once set, pour the remaining filling over the strawberry layer. Freeze for 1 hour.

Step 5: Before serving, sit at room temperature for 30 minutes. Carefully remove from the cake tin and discard the baking paper. Cut into bars using a warm, sharp knife. Garnish each bar with a drizzle of melted coconut butter and chopped macadamia nuts. Decorate with a halved strawberry to serve. Store the remaining bars in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 1 month.

Note: You can use maple syrup in place of rice malt syrup.

Mini Caramel Tarts

Healthy Convert Mini Tarts

If 2017 has taught us anything, mini foods are hot in a (not-so) big way. This recipe makes 12 mini tarts, so about one serving—right?

What You'll Need:
Makes 12 mini tarts

For the Base:

  • 40 g (1 1/2 oz) raw sunflower kernels
  • 60 g (2 oz) raw almonds
  • 200 g (7 oz) gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon psyllium husk powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 125 g (4 1/2 oz) coconut oil, solid
  • 55 g (2 oz) coconut sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 85 g (3 oz) coconut yoghurt

For the Caramel:

  • 240 g (8 1/2 oz) coconut sugar
  • 520 g (1 lb 2 oz) tinned coconut cream
  • 60 g (2 oz) coconut oil
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour (cornstarch)
  • 30 ml (1 fl oz) plant-based milk
  • 1 teaspoon ground sea salt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

For the Topping:

  • 80 g (2 3/4 oz) vegan milk chocolate, melted


Step 1: Pulse the sunflower kernels and almonds in a food processor until finely chopped. Add the flour, psyllium husk powder, cinnamon, cold coconut oil and coconut sugar. Process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.

Step 2: Add the vanilla and coconut yoghurt. Process until the mixture starts to come together to form a smooth dough. Turn the mixture out onto a large piece of plastic wrap, shape into a disc and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate for 1 hour to rest.

Step 3: For the caramel, mix the coconut sugar, coconut cream, coconut oil, cornflour, milk and salt in a medium saucepan over a low heat. Whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook for 10–15 minutes, stirring frequently, until thickened. Remove from the heat, then add the vanilla, mixing well. Set aside to cool for 15 minutes.

Step 4: Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced/350°F). Lightly brush a 12-hole standard muffin tin with coconut oil. Divide the dough into 12 equal portions, then evenly press into the muffin holes, covering the base and sides. Fill each tart base with two teaspoons of the caramel and smooth the surface. Bake for 20–30 minutes or until the tart cases are golden and set.

Step 5: Remove from the oven and set aside to cool in the tin for 30 minutes. Drizzle each tart with melted chocolate and refrigerate for 2 hours. Remove from the muffin tin and serve. Will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.

Note: You can replace the cornflour with arrowroot starch if you're avoiding corn. You can also replace the coconut yoghurt in this recipe with Greek yogurt if dairy isn't your enemy.


Healthy Convert Donuts

Donuts, one of the most photogenic foods ever created, are also notoriously hard to make gluten-free. The secret ingredient in this recipe? Chickpeas!

What You'll Need:
Makes 12 small donuts

For the Donuts:

  • 400 g (14 oz) tin salt-free chickpeas
  • 165 g (6 oz) gluten-free plain (all-purpose) flour
  • 65 g (2 1/4 oz) rapadura sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz / 1/2 cup) plant-based milk

For the Topping:

  • 100 g (3 1/2 oz) vegan milk chocolate, melted
  • 150 g (5 1/2 oz) coconut butter, melted
  • 35 g (1 1/4 oz) smooth peanut butter
  • 30 g (1 oz) coconut flakes
  • 30 g (1 oz) freeze-dried strawberries, crushed
  • 30 g (1 oz) crushed peanuts


Step 1: Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan forced/350°F). Grease a 12-hole donut tin with coconut oil. Set aside.

Step 2: Drain the chickpeas, reserving 120 ml (4 1/2 fl oz) of the liquid (aquafaba). Transfer the chickpeas to a sealed container in the fridge and keep for another use. Whisk the chickpea aquafaba until frothy. Add the dry ingredients to a large bowl and whisk to combine. Make a well in the centre and add the frothy aquafaba, apple cider vinegar, vanilla extract and milk. Mix until just combined.

Step 3: Spoon the batter evenly into the prepared donut tin, filling the moulds three-quarters of the way up. Bake for 10 minutes or until lightly golden and puffed. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes then remove to a cooling rack.

Step 4: Dip some donuts into the melted chocolate and return to the cooling rack to set. Dip other donuts into the melted coconut butter and return to the cooling rack to set. Drizzle donuts with peanut butter, freeze-dried strawberries, coconut flakes and crushed peanuts. Get creative and decorate! Serve and enjoy! Donuts are best eaten fresh.

Rainbow Meringue

Healthy Convert Rainbow Meringue

This nut-free rainbow meringue recipe is only made better with the knowledge that you've made it yourself.

What You'll Need:
Serves 12

For the Meringue:

  • 400 g (14 oz) tin salt-free chickpeas, chilled, strain and set aside
  • 145 ml (5 fl oz) of the chickpea liquid (aquafaba)
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • 145 g (5 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • vegan yellow food colouring
  • vegan pink food colouring
  • vegan blue food colouring

Optional Garnishes:

  • coconut yoghurt, to serve
  • fresh mixed berries, to serve
  • chopped hazelnuts (optional for nut free)


Meringue with no eggs? The transformation of chickpea water (aquafaba) to fluffy meringue is genius. Caster sugar works best for this recipe.

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 100°C (80°C fan forced/200°F). Prepare a large clean glass or metal mixing bowl that's completely clean and free of grease.

Step 2: Using an electric mixer, whisk the chickpea aquafaba and cream of tartar on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Continue mixing, adding the sugar one tablespoon at a time until all incorporated. Whisk for a further minute, add the vanilla and whisk briefly again. Working quickly, divide the mixture into three separate clean bowls. To make three meringue colours, add a drop of food colouring to each bowl and gently fold through to make yellow, pink and blue meringue.

Step 3: Prepare a piping (icing) bag with a large star-shaped nozzle. Spoon a dollop of yellow meringue into the piping (icing) bag, top with pink meringue and then blue. Repeat until all the meringue is used. Be gentle with the mixture so it doesn't deflate.

Step 4: Line a large baking sheet (cookie sheet) with baking paper. Pipe small circles onto the baking paper. Be sure to only create one even layer so it bakes evenly. Bake for 3.5 hours or until the meringues feel firm on the outside. Do not open the door to tap the meringues until at least 2 hours have passed. Leave the cooked meringues in the oven to cool for 1.5–2 hours, which will allow the meringues to firm up inside. Do not open the oven door.

Step 5: Once cool, remove the meringues from the oven and slide onto a serving platter. Serve with the mixed berries and yoghurt and nuts. Enjoy! You can store the meringues in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.

Note: You can substitute 145 g (5 oz) of rapadura sugar mixed with 1 teaspoon arrowroot starch for the caster sugar. It will still work; however, it will produce a flatter meringue and a less airy texture.

Strawberries & Cream Smoothie

Healthy Convert Strawberry Smoothie

Snap a pic of this adorable smoothie right after your next SoulCycle class.

What You'll Need:
Serves 2

  • 50 g (1 3/4 oz) gluten-free oats
  • 320 g (11 1/2 oz) frozen strawberries
  • 30 g (1 oz) soft medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 300 ml (10 fl oz) coconut milk
  • 200 g (7 oz) coconut yoghurt
  • fresh strawberries to serve
  • flaked coconut to serve


Step 1: Place oats, frozen strawberries, dates, vanilla and coconut milk in a high-speed blender. Mix until thick and smooth.

Step 2: Using two mason jars, place a small amount of smoothie mixture in the bottom of each jar. Top with some of the coconut yoghurt and more smoothie mixture. Continue this process until you have used all the smoothie mixture and coconut yoghurt. Top smoothies with strawberries and flaked coconut. Serve with a spoon and enjoy!

Note: You can use any plant-based milk in this recipe. I love using coconut milk.

The Healthy Convert Book

Recipe excerpted with permission from The Healthy Convert by Nicole Maree, published by Hardie Grant Books September 2017, RRP $19.99 hardcover.