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Chocolate Chip Cookies—for Santa, maybe?
Chocolate Chip Cookies—for Santa, maybe?

Hey, I get that the big guy, is, uh, the BIG guy – but he still needs to make it down the chimney and have enough energy to visit us all! Here’s a cookie he and his waistline will love—and it’s healthy enough to start off your day, too!

Makes about 16 cookies.


1 overripe banana

⅓ cup unsweetened applesauce

4 Medjool dates (or 8-10 deglet noor dates), pitted

2 teaspoons vanilla powder (or 3 teaspoons vanilla extract)

¾ cup oat flour

½ teaspoon baking soda

1½ teaspoon cinnamon

2 cups whole rolled oats

½ cup chopped walnuts

⅓ cup unsweetened, 100% cacao chips, such as Pascha

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Smash the banana and roughly chop the dates. Add the banana, applesauce, dates, and vanilla to a blender and blend until fairly smooth.
  3. Add the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon to a large bowl. Whisk to combine.
  4. Add the blended mixture to the bowl and stir to combine.
  5. Add the oats, walnuts, and cacao chips, and mix everything together until moistened through.
  6. Using a spoon or a quarter-cup scoop, scoop a well-rounded amount of dough onto the baking sheet. Flatten slightly.
  7. Bake until slightly browned, about 12-14 minutes. Cookies will firm up as they cool.
Caryn Dugan
Caryn Dugan

Caryn Dugan adopted a plant-based diet in response to tragedy: in 2008, cancer took her father at an early age and, ten weeks later, tried to take her. In response to her diagnosis, she searched for an answer and found one in the growing body of literature supporting a whole-food, plant-based diet to bolster our natural immune system.


In her 15 years advocating for more plants on plates, Caryn, known as the STL Veg Girl, has spearheaded many successful plant-based events in St. Louis. Most recently, she opened the nation’s first plant-based nutrition and culinary education center, the Center for Plant-Based Living, near St. Louis, MO. The Center also serves as the studio where she and her medical director, Dr. Jim Loomis, film episodes of the popular YouTube series, The Doc and Chef. Find more at

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