These healthy rocky road bars have popcorn for a gluten free crunch, plus nuts and dried fruits for a rich taste. They have all the lovely textures you'd want from a rocky road recipe plus dark chocolate for that essential chocolatey hit! They are vegan and free from refined sugar.
What you'll love about the recipe
- Popcorn rocky road is gluten-free (suitable for coeliacs), low in added sugar and made without butter, marshmallows, syrup or biscuits
- A delicious healthy chunky chocolate bar with crunchy and chewy bits! A classic rocky road recipe has marshmallows, but these healthy dark chocolate bars have dried fruits and popcorn for added texture
- These nutritious chocolate tiffin bars are a firm favourite amongst children and adults. They are great for satisfying chocolate cravings!
- Use vegan dark chocolate for a vegan rocky road bar or to make them dairy free
- Quick and easy to make recipe with just a few store cupboard ingredients, these are a delicious no-bake bar or dessert. They are the ultimate chocolate traybake that doesn't need to be baked!
Chocolate is the key ingredient in these rocky road slices. Dark chocolate is a healthier option because it's much lower in sugar and higher in antioxidants and polyphenols. It's also got a lovely deep chocolatey taste. Use dark chocolate chips if you prefer.
For a dairy free or vegan healthy rocky road, use vegan chocolate. Most good quality dark chocolate is naturally vegan, but check the label.
Coconut oil helps to soften the chocolate and make a lovely fudgy texture. If you use a refined coconut oil, you won't notice the flavour, and coconut oil does have health benefits. If you prefer you could use butter or vegan butter.
Another chocolate treat that you might enjoy with coconut oil is these healthy chocolate truffles.
Maple syrup adds a little extra sweetness, but as it is a liquid sweetener, it also helps to soften the chocolate and keep a fudgy texture. Maple syrup is a natural and unrefined sweetener. You could use honey if you prefer.
Popcorn is a perfect healthy, gluten free replacement for biscuits. Popcorn is high in fibre, and adds a great crunch without the extra fats and sugars that are in biscuits. You'll need unsalted and unsweetened popcorn. I made the popcorn for this recipe. One rounded tablespoon of kernels, air popped on the stove, gave me the right amount for this quantity of popcorn rocky road.
Dried fruits. You can choose you favourite dried fruits to go in this healthy rocky road recipe. I used dried cranberries and apricots to add some colour, but to be honest they don't really show up against the dark chocolate! They do taste delicious though. Cut larger fruits such as apricots into sultana sized pieces.
Although dried fruit is a natural source of sugar, it's a much healthier option than store-bought marshmallows!
Nuts add a lovely crunch, a nutty flavour, and of course they are healthy too. I used almonds which I halved. Other nuts such as hazelnuts, pecans and macadamia nuts would all be delicious. Buy unsalted nuts to make your healthy rocky road.
You can add extra flavours such as vanilla, cinnamon or cardamom to the chocolate mixture if you wish. And of course you can vary the add-ins to suit.
If you need the recipe to be nut free, you could add seeds instead.
How to make healthy rocky road
This recipe is incredibly quick and easy to make. The kids might want to get involved too!
Line a 20 x 15cm baking tin with baking paper. If you don't have a similar sized tin, you could also use a plastic storage box as it won't need to go in the oven.
Melt the coconut oil and maple syrup in a pan over a very low heat. Add the chocolate and gently stir until the chocolate has nearly melted.
It's really important to keep the heat very low as chocolate can seize if it gets too hot. Stir well until you've got a lovely fudgy looking mixture. (Yum!)
Stir in the popcorn, dried fruit and nuts.
Tip the tiffin mixture into the lined tin and chill until set. Mine was ready after an hour.
Cut into 16 bars, or make them whatever size or shape works for you. I find it best to cut them with a serrated knife and a sawing action. Or if you prefer, serve the rocky road broken into chunky pieces.
- If you are in a hurry, pop the rocky road in the freezer to set. That way it'll be ready to eat in 20 minutes. Set a timer though otherwise you might have to wait for it to defrost again!
- If you want to add an extra layer of flavour you can toast the nuts before adding them to the recipe. Add them to a dry pan and toast them briefly on the stovetop. Watch them very carefully as nuts burn incredibly easily and then they'll taste bitter.
- If you are making healthy Christmas rocky road bars, you could use frozen raspberries and pistachios for a festive colour theme!
Serving and storage
This dark chocolate healthy rocky road makes a great mini dessert for chocolate lovers. Or pop a few squares on a plate when you are serving coffee. Maybe add a few of these gluten free biscotti too:)
This easy recipe is also perfect for bake sales and homemade gifts.
It'll store in the fridge for up to a week, although I doubt it'll last that long!
Healthy gluten free rocky road bars also freeze well. Freeze in an airtight container.
Frequently asked questions
One of these healthy rocky road bars has 133 calories. Bought rocky road tends to be higher in calories as there are much higher levels of sugar and fat. The supermarket version that I checked had 250 calories. Some homemade recipes with a lot of butter are considerably higher. And of course it depends how large you cut the bars! Take care with your portion control if you are watching the calories.
Classic rocky road is a treat, but it's not healthy. This version is healthier as it's lower in sugar and saturated fat. Dark chocolate is a healthier choice, and popcorn is a wholegrain. This healthy rocky road will have less of an impact on your blood sugar levels, and it's more satisfying.
Rocky road usually contains biscuits made with wheat flour which contains gluten. You could buy gluten free biscuits to use in a rocky road recipe, or omit the biscuits and use a mixture of popcorn and nuts.
Other healthy no bake chocolate recipes
Using similar ingredients, you could also try making a homemade chocolate slab. You'll simply need to melt the chocolate, and then stud it with dried fruit and nuts. Or for another incredibly simple treat, try cocoa dusted almonds. You might also like these chocolate almond bliss balls and chocolate coconut truffles.
You might also like this post with 27 gluten free afternoon tea recipes.
Have you tried this recipe? Please leave a rating and/or comment at the bottom of the page. Your feedback and questions are much appreciated.
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Healthy Rocky Road (gluten free)
- 20 x 15cm baking tray
- baking paper
- 200 g dark chocolate broken into chunks
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 25 g unsalted, unsweetened popcorn
- 100 g dried fruits such as apricots and cranberries
- 70 g whole nuts halved if large
- Line a 20 x 15cm baking tray with baking paper, leaving a lip to lift the rocky road out.
- Melt the coconut oil and maple syrup over a very low heat.
- Add the broken chocolate pieces. Keep the heat very low and stir until the chocolate has nearly melted. Turn off the heat and mix well.
- Add the popcorn, dried fruits and nuts. Mix well.
- Spoon the mixture into the lined tray and level out with a spoon.
- Chill until set for about an hour.
- Cut into about 16 pieces with a serrated knife.
- You can make this popcorn rocky road in a plastic storage box if you prefer as it won't need to go in the oven.
- You can substitute butter in place of coconut oil, and honey in place of maple syrup if you don't need a vegan recipe. These ingredients help to soften the chocolate as well as adding flavour.
- If you want a neutral tasting coconut oil, use processed rather than extra virgin oil.
- For vegan or dairy free rocky road, use vegan chocolate. (Most good quality dark chocolate is vegan but it's worth checking!)
- If you are in a hurry, chill the mixture in the freezer for about 20 minutes before cutting into bars.
Please note nutritional information is for guidance only