This recipe for vegan date squares is super easy to make, creating deliciously classic date and oat crumble slices! With a crisp bottom, smooth layer of dates and crumbly oat topping, this recipe brings all the traditional flavors and textures of non-vegan date slices!
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Are Date Squares Vegan?
Most date square recipes are not vegan because they use butter or non-vegan margarine. Typically, this is the only non-vegan ingredient which means date square recipes are easy to veganize – simply select a vegan butter or margarine substitute.
The date crumble recipe in this post is an old family recipe that was one of the easiest recipes I’ve ever veganized! It tastes like a traditional date square and there’s no way anyone would know it’s vegan!
Oat and Date Slice Ingredients
This recipe uses 5 simple ingredients that you likely have on hand! Even with such basic ingredients, this dessert is truly delicious!
- Dried dates: Creating a delicious layer of pureed dates only requires basic cooking dates; no need to spend the extra money on fancy dates meant for eating. We’re going to soak the dates before pureeing anyway!
- Rolled oats: Oats add a great taste, texture and crunch to the date slice crust and crumble layers.
- Brown sugar: Brown sugar is the perfect choice for a delicious crust and crumble! Some recipes add sugar to the dates, but I’ve never understood why, considering dates are perfectly sweet on their own. I only use the sugar to create the crust and crumble.
- Whole wheat flour: The classic recipe I’ve based this one from uses all purpose flour. However, I like to use whole wheat flour and it works perfectly in this recipe. Whole wheat flour has a slightly nutty flavor which I think is welcome in a date square!
- Vegan butter or margarine: My family’s classic recipe calls for margarine, which I often have on hand, but if you’re a butter fan, it should work just as well. This binds together other crumble ingredients and creates a delicious, rich base layer and crumble topping. Just soften the vegan butter before using by bringing it up to room temperature.
How to Make Date Crumble Slice
This recipe is effortless to make, especially if you have a food processor. If not, read below for details on how to prep the dates using a pot on the stove!
Step 1: Prep Dates
There are two ways to prepare your dates for this recipe. For the longest time I used a pot on the stove because that’s the directions in my family’s original recipe.
Then I discovered how much easier it was to use a food processor and haven’t looked back.
Either way, you need to soak the dates first. If you have time, soak them in the fridge overnight. If you haven’t done this, a quick soak in boiling water works as well. Simply boil 8.5 cups (2 liters) of water and pour over the dates. Let them sit for 30-45 minutes, until soft all the way through. Strain away your soaking water.
If you have a food processor, simply add the soaked, drained dates and puree until smooth. You’ll need to stop and scrape the edges down a few times, but it’s a quick process.
If you don’t have a food processor, save 1 cup of the soaking water and add to a pot with the dates (remaining water strained away). Cook over medium-low heat until the dates are extremely soft and you can them mash them (I use a fork to press dates against the side of my pot until I get the right texture).
Food processors create a more concentrated, thicker date paste for the center layer. Using a pot may “water down” the dates, but since they have such a concentrated sweet flavor, you may even prefer it this way!
Step 2: Prep Crumble
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry crumble ingredients, including flour, oats and brown sugar. Once mixed, add the vegan margarine (or softened vegan butter).
Crumble the margarine into the dry mix using a pastry cutter, fork or your hands. Mix the margarine throughout the dry ingredients until there aren’t any sections of completely dry ingredients.
If you grab a handful of crumble mixture and press it in your hand, it should hold together but then crumble away with light pressure.
Step 3: Assemble Dates and Crumble in Dish
Grease a 9x13 baking dish with extra vegan margarine or a cooking/ oil spray.
Pour about ⅔ of your crumble mixture into the pan and firmly press down to form an even layer. Firmly pressing your crumble ensures the bottom of these date slices hold together once cooked.
Next, spread pureed dates evenly across the top. It’s best to scoop small amounts of date puree all over the pan rather than dumping a larger pile in the middle.
Dates are sticky, so use water on a spatula or your hands when working to smooth the dates.
Finally, sprinkle your remaining crumble mixture evenly across the top. Lightly press this layer down.
Step 4: Bake and Serve
Place your date crumble into an oven preheated at 350 °F for 30-35 minutes, until the top and bottom is golden brown.
Allow to cool for 15-20 minutes so the crust can firm. Then, cut into squares or slices and serve!
How to Refrigerate and Freeze Vegan Date Squares
Refrigerate fully cooled leftover date slices in an airtight container for up to a week (maybe up to 2 weeks; they last quite a while).
You can also freeze this recipe. Place fully cooled date squares into a freezer bag or freezer-safe container. They’ll last in the freezer for at least 3 months (I’ve stored some for up to 5 without issue).
Frozen date squares are quick to thaw. You can either let them sit at room temperature for about an hour, or thaw in the fridge overnight.
Vegan Date Squares (Date Crumble Slice)
Step 1: Prep Dates
- Option 1: Soak the dates in a large bowl, fully submerged in water, until soft (at least 4 hours, but overnight is best). Once soaked, drain away the soaking liquid and puree your dates in a food processor. I like a mostly smooth texture with a few smaller pieces of date throughout, but puree to your desired consistency.3 cups dried dates
- Option 2: If you don’t have a food processor or time to wait for dry dates to soak, you can cook the dates in a small pot. This waters down the flavor of the dates, but you may enjoy a slightly less sweet filling anyway.For this option, add dates to a pot with water. Cook over low heat until the dates are soft and you can mash with a fork (press dates into the side of the pot to mash). This option also creates a more textured filling because the dates won’t be pureed.3 cups dried dates, 1 cup water
Step 2: Prep Crumble
- To make the crumble, add rolled oats, lightly packed brown sugar and whole wheat flour. Stir until well combined.2 cups rolled oats, 1 ½ cups brown sugar, 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- Add vegan butter or margarine to the dry mixture and use a fork or your hand to mix the butter throughout, creating a crumbly mixture.1 cup vegan butter
Step 3: Assemble
- Grease a 9x13" baking dish (with extra vegan butter/ margarine or cooking spray).
- Pour about ⅔ of the crumble mixture into the bottom of your baking dish and press down firmly, creating an evenly packed layer.
- Spread the dates evenly over your pressed crumble. It’s best to scoop small amounts of date puree all over the base layer to make it easier to spread.
- Sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over your layer of dates and lightly press down.
Step 4: Bake and Serve
- Bake in an oven preheated to 350 °F for 30-35 minutes, until the top is slightly golden brown and the bottom is fully golden brown (if you have a glass baking dish you can look at the bottom).
- Cool completely before you slice into squares or slices and serve at room temperature.
- Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 3 days on the counter or a week in the fridge. You can also freeze this recipe.
More Vegan Dessert Recipes
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About Nicole Stevens
Nicole is a long-time vegan with a Masters of Science in Food and Nutrition.
She helps people thrive on a vegan diet with balanced recipes.