Meat Free Monday One day a week can make a world of difference

Turmeric Coconut Barfi

Jackie Kearney
  • Serves: Makes 16
  • Preparation: 20
  • Cooking: 20
  • Passive: 60
  • Ready: 100

We all need a little treat from time to time and this recipe uses dates with unsweetened oat milk to create a rich, sweet creamy flavour.




  • 15 plump pitted dates
  • 4 tablespoons unsweetened oat or soya/soy milk
  • 4 cm/½ inch thumb of fresh turmeric, peeled, or use 1 teaspoon of ground turmeric
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin coconut oil
  • 45 g blanched ground almonds
  • 70 g desiccated shredded coconut, plus 1 tablespoon for sprinkling
  • 1 scant teaspoon ground green cardamom seeds
  • 20–25cm/8–10 inch square baking pan, greased with extra-virgin coconut oil and base-lined with parchment


Combine the dates, milk and fresh turmeric root (if using powder, add later) in a blender or food processor and blitz until you have a smooth paste.

Add the coconut oil to a small heavy-bottomed pan and place over medium–high heat. Once the oil is fully melted, add the date purée. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat to low and cook gently for about 5–6 minutes, being careful not to burn it.

Next, add the blanched ground almonds, keeping the heat on low, and mix well to form a soft dough. Then add the coconut and cardamom (and ground turmeric, if using). Remove from the heat and mix or knead until everything is evenly combined.

Press the mixture into the greased and lined baking pan, and, using the back of an oiled spoon, spread the mixture evenly until it is smooth. Sprinkle the extra 1 tablespoon coconut on the top, pressing down lightly. Chill for 1 hour in the fridge.

Remove from the pan by running a knife around the edge and carefully tipping it out onto a board. Cut into diamond or square shapes, and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.

Additonal notes

Recipe taken from Healthy Vegan Street Food by Jackie Kearney, published by Ryland Peters & Small (£20)

Photography by Clare Winfield © Ryland Peters & Small

“We all need a little treat from time to time. Unfortunately refined sugar, the go-to treat for most of us, is one of the most inflammatory foods we can eat, especially when eaten in excess. The scientific facts about the impacts of high sugar consumption are even played out in the form of taxation these days. Research suggests it is more addictive than cocaine and may even contribute to the development of Alzheimer’s. The key to a healthy sweet treat is to ensure it is also packed with lots of other nutrients, so it doesn’t just form empty calories. Healthy fats and proteins also play an important role in preventing insulin spikes. Indian barfi is usually packed with sugar and unhealthy fats from condensed milk. Vegan condensed milk also has sugar as its primary ingredient, so never be fooled into equating the term ‘plant-based’ with healthy. This adapted recipe uses dates with unsweetened oat milk to create a rich, sweet cream instead.”

Front cover of 'Healthy Vegan Street Food' by Jackie Kearney

Impact calculator

See the difference you can make

Calculate how you can have a positive impact by eating less meat and dairy ...
Participating people
Meat free days a week
For how long (years)?
Press enter or esc to cancel