Peanut Butter Cookies (Gluten Free, Vegan, and Peanut Free!)

Salted “Peanut Butter” Cookies (peanut free)

Sunbutter Cookies I had a baking session with my good friend Aaron Ribant from Seriously Ripped Abs. (Really, though, you have to check out his abs.) We were making a healthier, starch-free version of peanut butter cookies. He’s also a photographer, so I was excited to get some gorgeous photos, and I wanted to perfect the recipe for a dinner party. Then I got the email from a attendee: “Just to let you know, I have a serious peanut allergy. Like, peanuts = death.”Oh no! My dessert plans were foiled. But not to fear, for sunflower seed butter came to my rescue.

When you have a loved one who’s allergic to peanut butter, (whether it’s a sensitivity or eminent death), it’s challenging to find an alternative. Almond butter is good in its own way, but it really doesn’t satisfy a peanut butter craving.

Sunflower Seed ButterLuckily, I have discovered the magic of sunflower seed butter (aka sunbutter). It’s got such a great flavor and smooth texture, and it’s the closest thing to peanut butter than I’ve found.

Sunflower seeds are also very nutrient dense, so much so that I’ve done an entire article on them! See my food spotlight for nutritional information on sunflower seeds.

These peanut butter cookies are also gluten free, vegan, paleo friendly, and delicious. Let me know if you come up with any fun variations! And check out the normal recipe with peanut butter on Aaron’s blog.


½ cup almond flour*

½ cup cashew meal*

¼  teaspoon sea salt Sunbutter Cookies

coarse salt

¼ teaspoon baking soda

½ cup creamy sunbutter (or peanut butter, if you’re not worried about allergies).

¼ cup honey/agave nectar/maple syrup

1 tablespoon coconut oil or vegan shortening**

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

*Cashew Meal/Flour has recently become available, and I find that gluten free cookies come out creamier and sweeter when used. But, if you don’t have any available to you, you can just use almond flour instead. Trader Joe’s seems to be the cheapest place to find these ingredients, but you can also order them in bulk on Amazon.

**If using peanut butter, increase to 2 tbsp.


In a food processor or a bowl, place all ingredients. If using a food processor, blend until smooth. In a bowl, use a hand blender or a whisk until ingredients are completely mixed. (If mixing by hand, mGluten Free Cookie Batterake sure that there aren’t any clumps or “pockets” of certain ingredients sticking together).

Take spoonfuls of dough (about 1 Tbsp) and scoop the onto a well-greased or parchment-lined pan. Use a fork to flatten in a criss-cross pattern, similar to a peanut butter cookie.

Bake at 350° for 5-9minutes until golden around the edges

While the cookies are still warm, sprinkle the coarse salt over the top of each cookie. You won’t need much.

DO NOT ATTEMPT TO TOUCH COOKIES UNTIL COOL. Once they’ve cooled off, the cookies hold together nicely. But when they’re fresh out of the oven, they will fall into a pile of crumples if you attempt to remove them from the pan too soon. To expedite the process, I will place the pan on a pot-holder in the fridge for 5 minutes.

Once they’re cool enough to be solid, carefully remove from the pan and enjoy!

Sunbutter Cookie Recipe

Grain Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is one of my favorite recipes…these cookies take about 15 minutes to make, they only have a few ingredients, and everyone always loves them. My coworkers and friends swear that I’m such a talented baker, and beg me to bring more. (Little do they know how easy these are to make. Once they read this recipe, my gig will be up.)

This recipe comes from a blog called Elana’s Pantry. Elana specializes in baking with almond flour, which was my best discovery for gluten-free baking. It makes baked goods moist, soft, rich and wonderful. I love her recipe books, “The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook” and “Gluten-Free Cupcakes: 50 Irresistible Recipes Made with Almond and Coconut Flour.”

Gluten Free Cupcakes

Gluten Free Baking with Almond Flour

I have experimented with a few variations to this recipe….there are some fun superfood ingredients you can add. My new favorite is Mesquite Powder. That may sound strange, since we think of mesquite and bbq, but the mesquite root is actually quite sweet. It has a flavor reminiscent of cinnamon and nutmeg, and is chock full of nutrients.

So check out these variations, and let me know if you have come up with any of your own experiments.

Gluten Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies

  • 2 cups blanched almond flour*
  • ¼ teaspoon sea saltGrain Free Vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey*
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
    *Please see below for variations on these ingredients.
  1. Combine almond flour, salt and baking soda in a bowl or food processor.
  2. If using a food processor, pulse in shortening, honey and vanilla until dough forms. If you don’t have a food processor, simply use a whisk to combine ingredients until they form a dough.
  3. Stir if chocolate chips. (If using processor, remove blade and stir in chocolate by hand).
  4. Scoop dough one level tablespoon at a time onto a parchment lined baking sheet
  5. Press balls of dough down gently
  6. Bake at 350 for 6-8 minutes
  7. Cool for 15 minutes (do not handle prior or cookies will break)
  8. Serve

Makes 18 cookies


  • Replace 2 tbsp almond flour with 2 tbsp Mesquite Powder.
  • If trying to reduce sugar, replace 1 tbsp of honey with 1 tbsp Yacon Syrup.
  • If you don’t have Yacon Syrup, try replacing 1 TBSP of honey with 1 tbsp of coconut oil, then add 6-10 packets of xylitol or stevia.
  • If you need some carbohydrates for a pre-workout snack, replace 1/4 cup almond flour with 1/4 cup brown rice flour. Then add an additional 2 tsp of oil.

Although coconut oil is my favorite for baking, you can also use: Palm Shortening, Olive Oil, or any other oil you have.