These vegan fig bars are like the classic fig cookies–a sweet filling sandwiched between layers of flaky crust–with one big difference: they are fat-free.
I hope you enjoy this “rerun” of a recipe I associate closely with Christmas. It’s my low-fat, veganized interpretation of the fig-filled cookies my husband’s grandmother always made for Christmas. D looked forward to those cookies every year, and once he married a vegan, his grandmother often made a special egg-free batch just for us. Sadly, she’s no longer with us, but I think of her whenever I make these fig bars.
I made an impulse buy the other day, one of those “rings” of dried figs. I’ve been missing fresh figs all summer, so when I saw these dried figs in the store, I bought them without thinking. But then they sat on my kitchen counter taunting me with memories of my yummy, but definitely not low-fat, Holiday Fig Bars. Since I’ve been trying to cut down on sugar and refined foods lately, making a batch of those bars would not be in my best interest.
But visions of fig bars persisted, as such cravings will when you have the primary ingredient sitting right on your kitchen counter. I finally broke down this afternoon, just in time for my afternoon pot of coffee (another substance I should probably give up but won’t), and made vegan fig bars.
Actually, I decided to make vegan fig bars healthy. I revamped my recipe so that the oil is gone, the refined flour is history, and the sugar is . . . well, the sugar is reduced. It’s gotta have something in it besides figs, you know!
You will be amazed at how good these are. They’re low in everything, except flavor.
Skinny Figgy Bars
- 8 ounces dried figs (one round package)
- 4 ounces pitted dates
- 2 tablespoon slivered or chopped almonds optional
- 2 drops anise extract optional
- 1 tablespoon agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
- 2 tablespoon water
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ginger
- 2 cups regular or quick oats use certified gluten-free oats if necessary
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 4 ounces unsweetened apple sauce
- 3 tablespoon agave nectar or other liquid sweetener
- 1/4 cup water
- Preheat oven to 375 F.
- Make the filling: Snip off the figs’ stems, and put the figs, dates, and almonds into the food processor. Grind to a coarse paste. Stir in the remaining filling ingredients and process until mixed. Set aside.
- For the crust, grind one cup of the oats in blender until powdered. Combine the oats (ground and unground), baking powder, and salt in a mixing bowl. Stir in the apple sauce, agave nectar, and water, mixing well to a thick consistency. Press half the crust mixture into the bottom of an oiled, eight-inch square cake pan (use a wooden spoon or your hands). Spread the fig mixture evenly over the crust. Smooth the remaining crust mixture over the filling. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until lightly browned. Allow to cool completely before cutting into bars.
- Icing (optional): Mix powdered sugar (about 3 tbsp.) with a little water (Start with 1/2 tsp.) until the right consistency. Add vanilla or almond extract to taste (just drops). Drizzle over top of bars before cutting.
Nutritional info is approximate.
Be sure to check out all my favorite holiday desserts.
Happy Holidays to you all!
AlmielDecember 19, 2012 at 11:45 am
You don’t have to let this get posted to the comments. Just wanted you to know I caught a typo in the ingredients. You wrote SILVERED instead of SLIVERED (all caps to make it easier to read) for the almonds. 🙂
Susan VoisinDecember 19, 2012 at 12:42 pm
Wow, I can’t believe I never caught that all these years! Thanks so much for pointing it out. I’ll correct it as soon as I’m able to.
MariaDecember 19, 2012 at 1:34 pm
I love your recipis!
Buuut here in Denmark, we dont have applesauce at the store, so do you have a suggestion to what i can use instead of applesauce?
Susan VoisinDecember 20, 2012 at 8:51 am
Maria, I think it’s pretty easy to make apple sauce at home. You just cook chopped apples until they become tender and then mash them or purée them.
Erica ClementsDecember 26, 2012 at 3:15 pm
Made these for Christmas and have not felt guilty eating three a day! They’re so delicious and nutritious!
JoyousJanuary 4, 2013 at 1:21 am
Made the Skinny figgy Bars today. They were tasty, but I had a difficult time making them. Maybe someone can help. I almost burnt up my Vitamix trying to chop the figs and dates and they were hard to get out of the blender. Can they be softened with warm water or something. Is there a trick or better way? The lemon and spices give a nice zing to the fig mix. The crust is rather chewy and I may have overcooked them a bit. I will give this another try and use the tip of one respondent to pre-chop the figs and dates. Thanks for the recipe, we really appreciate some added healthy sweets to our No oil, vegan diet.
Susan VoisinJanuary 4, 2013 at 8:55 am
Do you have a food processor? That’s what I use to make the filling. I can imagine that it would be very difficult to get out of a blender and recommend using a food processor next time, if possible. Soaking the figs in hot water would soften them up, but I don’t think that will make it any easier to get them out of the blender, and it may make them too wet to work right in the recipe.
AnneJanuary 11, 2020 at 6:03 pm
I would like to substitute prunes for the figs. Any red flags?
Susan VoisinJanuary 11, 2020 at 7:29 pm
Not really. I’d love to hear how they come out!
AnneJanuary 18, 2020 at 5:26 pm
I made them with prunes and they turned out great! The only other thing I changed was I added a bit of vanilla extract to the batter. I really appreciate the recipe, thank you.
LarissaJanuary 4, 2013 at 5:47 am
I made the filling with dried mixed fruit, apricots and dates, lemon juice and spices and then the oat bit with porridge oats, water, baking soda, sugar substitute and a little orange juice. It actually worked. I thought the oat mix was too squishy but it’s fine. Gorgeous hot. will be interesting to see what it’s like cold.
Tu AmigaJanuary 4, 2013 at 6:43 pm
I made these this afternoon, and they are wonderful! I tried to follow the recipe as closely as I could the first time, but next time I will make twice the crust and spread it in a 9×13″ pan to make the filling thinner. It was great the way it was, but I have been buying Whole Foods fig bars, and I would like to have a similar amount of filling. Anyway, thank you for a great recipe. We are four months into “low-fat plant-strong,” and this is a keeper. I really appreciate it.
BinnieAugust 5, 2020 at 5:35 pm
Howdo I use fresh figs instead of dried? Thanks for helping.
Susan VoisinAugust 5, 2020 at 5:55 pm
Honestly, I don’t know. I haven’t ever tried, but I’m sure it’s possible if you experiment a little.
TracyMarch 30, 2013 at 9:10 pm
I just found this recipe and I am so excited to try it! My son is gluten free and I just found out that I have Crohn’s and have to go on a very restricted diet. I can have figs, dates and natural sweeteners, but finding good desserts with that is hard! I cannot wait to try this, going to make it tonight for Easter brunch! Do you mind if I share your recipe on my blog?
Susan VoisinMarch 30, 2013 at 9:29 pm
Hi Tracy, feel free to share the link to the recipe but please don’t copy it to you blog. I hope you enjoy it!
MelissaMay 11, 2013 at 10:30 am
These look delicious!
Someone just sent me a HUGE bag of figs in a package, so I’d love to use them in this recipe. But I don’t have dates on hand right now — do you think I could just use more figs, since I’ve got plenty of those?
Susan VoisinMay 11, 2013 at 10:34 am
More dried figs will work instead of the dates, but they will be less sweet. If that bothers you, you can add a little sweetener or sugar to make up the difference. Hope you enjoy them!
erinMay 27, 2013 at 10:52 pm
These sound amazing, but I am wondering if you could convert the 4 oz of applesauce to cups and/ tablespoons for me. Thanks!
Susan VoisinMay 27, 2013 at 11:16 pm
Erin, it’s a little less than a half a cup, so I recommend measuring a half cup and subtracting a tablespoon.
HadasJuly 5, 2013 at 8:17 pm
I made these last night and they were fantastic. I was looking for something to bake that was different than my usual cakes and muffins. Thanks!
MeghanNovember 9, 2013 at 7:53 am
Is there a mistake in this recipe in the Vegan Holiday Kitchen book? It does not include the second cup of ground oats. I made these yesterday, and I knew the crust mixture seemed way too liquidy, but I kept checking the recipe, and I had done everything right.
Susan VoisinNovember 9, 2013 at 8:32 am
Yes, and I am so sorry about that! The error was supposed to be corrected in a later edition of the book, but in at least the first and possibly second, the second cup of oats was omitted. The recipe as it appears here is correct. I hate that there was no way to go back and correct the mistake in the earlier editions.
KatieDecember 20, 2013 at 10:23 am
I just wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your blog. My family has been vegan for about two years now and so many of your recipes have become staples in our home. I’ve been amazed at how many of your recipes have been loved by my 5 year old son and slightly vegan resistant husband. Thank you!
I just made this recipe for the first time and loved it! I had to use apricots instead of figs (my figs were very old) but other than that, I stuck to the recipe. I will definitely be making these again and trying it with figs next time. So delicious!
Kathy GDecember 25, 2013 at 11:17 am
I made these last night. They are very good! I have a question about the crust though because mine did not turn out like your picture. I used an 8×8″ pan like it says. I placed half the dough in the bottom and spread it. It barely covered the bottom so I just kept smooshing it around until it did. Kind of the same thing with the top. My crust did not really rise and it is somewhat hard. Overall, it stills tastes great but I thought the crust should be softer. Any ideas? Thanks, Susan. Love your blog AND your recipes!
jessicaApril 9, 2014 at 2:41 pm
H, i made these this weekend and they were absolutley delicious! do you have any ideas on other flavor profiles. for example pumpkin or apple? what would be a good way to get good consistency with thesse two?
MiramJuly 14, 2014 at 12:19 am
Can you use fresh figs? If so how much?
Fred Kaoud Jr.October 14, 2014 at 4:13 pm
Great but the crust got hard – any tips?
Gillian MyattDecember 19, 2014 at 11:04 am
They sound divine – guess what I’ll be buying tomorrow??
monika petersMarch 4, 2015 at 3:33 pm
OMG!The best bars I ever eat. The easier to make it. Love it. Thank you for recipe.
Judy PapadakisSeptember 6, 2016 at 3:59 pm
I have worshiped your from afar for many years. So glad your health is improving. That first sentence is really true. You are the one who guided me to the Starch Solution and all of Dr. McDougall’s recipes and great health information.
I lost 69 pounds by following the book. Sorry to say that I still have 30 pounds to go. But I am determined to do it.And I was in such denial that I did not even know that I was so enormous.
JuileDecember 21, 2016 at 11:03 am
These look great! I wonder what could be subbed for the apple sauce as I am allergic to apples and most fruits. As it is in the crust is it a binder? Thanks.
Philis HilemanMarch 8, 2017 at 4:58 pm
I am amazed how good these are. Gave a couple to a friend today. She wanted the recipe and will be serving these at the Bible study in our home tomorrow.
Thank you so much for sharing this recipe. I have just recently been checking out your website. Your family is very fortunate to have you and so are many onlookers.
Amazed by His grace,
GloriaApril 1, 2017 at 8:32 am
I absolutely love figs and when I came across your recipe I was excited to make immediately. WOW, outstanding! Such a delicious bar…these will be something I will make regularly. Thank you for sharing your creation!
BurcuOctober 10, 2017 at 2:21 am
I tried this recipe after I ate some kind of vegan fig paste at a nice café yesterday. I looked for some kind of fig bars which are healthy. And luckily I came across your recipe (and other recipes on this great site). Let me tell that I am totally clumsy with cooking and baking, but I am quite happy with the result this time. I mean I managed to bake fig bars (which are delicious) thanks to your instructions. Many thanks. I’ll follow your recipes and try others too. You’ll make a cooker out of me! Why not?:)
Btw, I used walnut instead of almonds and it worked very well too. Another change I made was to use ripe banana (small one) instead of apple sauce.
Have a great week,
Patricia GianneliaDecember 21, 2017 at 7:30 pm
I hope to try these soon – I also wonder if they work with dates…? Date squares are a family favourite, but hard to do in a fat-free version.
CHERYLJune 2, 2019 at 3:38 am
Loved these – was a bit concerned about the amount of oatmeal for the crust so used hald oatmeal and half almond flour – the crust was a bit wet and the filling a bit dry but took my time and spread the filling in spoonfuls – brilliant, thanks so much .. now loking for an apricot bar – using dried apricots … any ideas
Christie FreemanJune 9, 2019 at 4:29 pm
I made these a few years ago, when my 13 yr. old son was much younger, and then lost the recipe. They were EXCELLENT, so I am very happy to have accidentally found the recipe, again! I even made these once when I didn’t have figs, and used only dates and some raisins.. They were still so good. So, all of these years later, my hubby and son still remember my making them and how good they were.
Christie FreemanJune 9, 2019 at 4:31 pm
naamaSeptember 20, 2019 at 2:35 am
can i use fresh figs? not dried
Susan VoisinSeptember 20, 2019 at 9:15 am
I haven’t made it with fresh figs. The amount of liquid you would need would be less, but I’m not sure how much less. You also might need more sugar.
HeidiDecember 7, 2019 at 10:40 pm
Have not yet made these, but planning to try soon. Just wondering, do these freeze well?
Susan VoisinDecember 8, 2019 at 10:02 am
I haven’t tried freezing them, but I don’t think there’s anything in them that wouldn’t freeze well. Hope you enjoy them!
MoniqueJanuary 3, 2020 at 12:31 pm
Hi this sounds devine! However, my family closely follows Dr. Sebi’s nutritional guide, is it possible to substitute one of the following for the oatmeal : spelt flour/flakes, quinoa, fonio or kamut? Thank you for sharing this recipe, it’s the first I’ve come across from your site but I will definitely be taking a look around for others to try 😉
Susan VoisinJanuary 3, 2020 at 2:39 pm
I haven’t tried it with any of those substitutes, but in general I’ve had good luck with using quinoa flakes instead of oats.
PDecember 26, 2020 at 4:59 pm
What type of fruit (or fruit spread) can be substituted for fig in this recipe? Figs are no longer a vegan or vegetarian option for us. Thank you!
ChristineJanuary 29, 2023 at 9:12 pm
These look absolutely delicious.
Just a question about 4 ounces of applesauce… is that 4 ounces in weight or 4 fluid ounces?
Susan VoisinJanuary 30, 2023 at 11:55 am
4 fluid ounces. Thanks for asking.