Raw Cinnamon Rolls: A Healthy, Vegan & Gluten-Free Treat


The big holiday season has passed, and New Year’s resolutions are still firmly planted in so many minds. But does healthier living really mean giving up the things you crave? More nutritious versions of sugar-laden favorites may be different, but they can be equally indulgent … without the guilt. And such is the case for these scrumptious raw cinnamon rolls from The 30-Minute Vegan Cookbook by Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray.

Raw Cinnamon Rolls Recipe - a vegan, gluten-free, healthy breakfast treat by a popular vegan cookbook author

Sweetened only with dates and just the necessary amount of agave nectar, this cinnamon roll treat will also save you on time and utilities, since the recipe doesn’t require use of an oven or a dehydrator. Plus, these gems are packed with fiber-dense buckwheat and some Omega-3 rich walnuts (but not too many! I know how some raw desserts can be a bit too rich, but not this one) for a good dose of nutrition. The icing will of course take this recipe from a tasty sweet snack to an indulgent dessert, but you might just decide that you deserve it anyway.

Raw Cinnamon Rolls Recipe - a vegan, gluten-free, healthy breakfast treat by a popular vegan cookbook authorPhoto credit: © Mark Reinfeld and Jennifer Murray

Special Diet Notes: Raw Cinnamon Rolls

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, peanut-free, raw, vegan, plant-based, vegetarian, and refined sugar-free.

For nut free raw cinnamon rolls, swap whole hemp seed kernels or chopped sunflower seeds for the walnuts.

Raw Cinnamon Rolls
Prep time
Total time
This recipe is from The 30-Minute Vegan, reprinted with permissions from the publisher. “These puppies are a huge hit at our bakery in Kaua’i. The rolling technique is best carried out with the use of a Silpat (silicon baking sheet), Teflex sheet (used in dehydrators), or a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. You’ll also need a food processor. The icing is not necessary for you to enjoy this dish but pushes it into the decadent category. Cashews can be substituted for the coconut butter in the icing if you cannot find it or you don’t have a taste for coconut.”
  • 2 cups raw buckwheat groats (not kasha)
  • 2 cups + ½ cup pitted Medjool dates, packed
  • 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon agave nectar
  • ¼ cup water
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of sea salt
  • ¼ cup raisins
  • ½ cup walnuts, chopped
Icing (optional)
  • ½ cup coconut butter (not coconut oil)
  • ¼ cup agave nectar
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon orange zest
  • ¼ cup water or freshly squeezed orange juice
  1. Process the buckwheat groats for 60 seconds in a food processor, or until they are finely ground. There will still be some whole kernels. Add 2 cups of the dates and continue to process for about 40 seconds. Add 1 teaspoon of the agave nectar and process for 30 seconds more, or until a sticky “dough” forms. If a piece of dough can be formed into a tight little ball, it is ready, otherwise add 1 teaspoon at a time of agave nectar until this desired stickiness is reached.
  2. Transfer the dough to a flat work surface covered with a Silpat, a Teflex sheet, or parchment paper. Using your hands, press the dough into a rectangle that is roughly 9 x 11 inches and ¼ inch thick. Keep some water nearby to dip your fingers into, to prevent the dough from sticking to them. Position the dough so that the long side is parallel with the counter’s edge.
  3. Process the remaining ½ cup of dates, 2 tablespoons of agave nectar, water, cinnamon, and salt in the food processor until as smooth as possible. There will probably be chunks because the quantity of mixture may be too small to process thoroughly. Remove the processor blade and stir in the raisins and walnuts. Spread the mixture over all of the dough except for about 1 inch along the far long edge.
  4. Roll up the dough by making a small fold along the near long edge, pressing it down, peeling back the Silpat, and continuing to roll in the same way, making sure to press the whole thing together as you go so that you have a tight roll. Refrigerate while you make the icing and then cut the log into twelve even slices.
  5. Blend all of the icing ingredients until smooth. Either drizzle it over the whole log or over the individual slices. There should be more than enough icing.
- For a more devilish dessert, try making a Chocolate-Mint Roll by adding ½ cup raw cacao powder to the dough in step 1. Omit the cinnamon, add ¼ cup of raw cacao powder, and ½ teaspoon of peppermint extract to the filling in step 3. Also, in step 3 you can add 2 tablespoons of raw cacao nibs along with the raisins, and replace the walnuts with macadamia nuts or omit them altogether.
- Another richer variation would be to replace the buckwheat groats with an equal amount of almonds. Simply make almond flour in a high-powered blender or food processor and continue with the recipe.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 12 servings

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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