Feb 242013


Who doesn’t love Turtles?! Nope I’m not talking about the cute little reptile… though, most people love those types of turtles too! I’m talking about the good old gimme-some-of-those “mmm..I love Turtles”, Turtles.

They ARE delicious! But, sad face, they aren’t by any means good for you, or made with natural, whole ingredients.. as a matter of fact, let’s look at the ingredients in Nestle Turtles…



So what’s in my “clean eating’ version of Turtles, that I promise you are JUST as delicious?

… Dates, pecans, and pure dark chocolate.. that’s it, that’s all.

A winner in the ingredient category I would say! Also, my turtles are lower in calories and in sugars (and the sugars here are unrefined too!).

I actually made these clean eating ‘Turtles’ to bring to a friends party the other weekend, and they were definitely a hit! Everyone loved them, and couldn’t believe how much they really tasted like the original.

They are SO easy to make too, and I know we all love a quick, easy, do-it-with-your-eyes-closed recipe!

Being in the midst of our 12-week Fit Challenge still, a party was a great excuse for me to whip up these delicious little guys.. and yes I will admit, I had one.. OK, I had two.

But, I made sure I didn’t take any home.. and that definitely wasn’t tough, they were gone pretty quickly!

The dates work perfectly as a caramel stand-in, and the dark chocolate is a much better option than regular milk chocolate… and pecans, well, pecans are awesome, AND good for you!

So, really, what’s not to love??

Go make some turtles!! Pack a couple in your lunch this week, and have them as a little afternoon treat when you get that urge to go to the vending machine and get a processed or refined sweet indulgence, you’ll be much happier you had one of these!

5.0 from 10 reviews

Clean Eating Dark Chocolate “Turtles” …vegan & gluten free delights!
Prep time

Total time


These turtles can be kept at room temperature, but the chocolate and date may soften and become sticky, so refrigerate to keep them at their best!
Serves: 15

  • 3½ oz dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa, preferably unsweetened or with unrefined sweetener)
  • 1 cup pitted dates
  • 2 oz pecan halves

  1. Process dates in a food processor until they become a sticky and very thick jam-like consistency.
  2. Roll the processed dates into 15 small balls, place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
  3. Press 3 pecan halves into the date balls.
  4. Heat a small saucepan over low heat, add in dark chocolate and slowly melt into a sauce.
  5. Pour a small amount of sauce over each date/pecan ball.
  6. Place in the fridge to set for at least 10 minutes – the chocolate will harden and hold everything together.
  7. Enjoy!

Nutritional Information
Serving size: 1 turtle Calories: 80.9kcal Fat: 5.3g Carbohydrates: 9.8g Sugar: 7.7g Fiber: 0.8g Protein: 0.9g

Nutritionist in the Kitch

  42 Responses to “Clean Eating Dark Chocolate “Turtles” …vegan & gluten free delights!”


    [...] chopped, which just saves a step for such things like homemade lara bars, chocolate paleo balls and paleo turtles. Not pictured is the 100% Dark Chocolate Ghiradelli bar I like to have on hand for these same [...]


    Does the chocolate need to be tempered?


    [...] 4. Dark Chocolate Turtles. Don’t worry, we’re talking about the chocolates, not the reptiles. This recipe calls for only 3 ingredients—dates, pecans, and pure dark chocolate. Awesome! Recipe here. [...]


    [...] 4. Dark Chocolate Turtles. Don’t worry, we’re talking about the chocolates, not the reptiles. This recipe calls for only 3 ingredients—dates, pecans, and pure dark chocolate. Awesome! Recipe here. [...]



    I made these treats for the holiday season and they were a hit everywhere. Liesel Livewire introduced me to your site and now I am a regular fan. Also, your fan base is growing as everyone wants the recipe for the Turtles. I simply give them your blog link and they can explore the many great options you provide for healthy eating.

    Best wishes on your growing success and I look forward to learning more about eating better.



    [...] Gluten Free Vegan Dark Chocolate Turtles from Nutritionist in the Kitch [...]


    [...] 15. 3-Ingredient Clean Eating Dark Chocolate Turtles by Nutritionist in the Kitch [...]


    I made these into owls for my daughter’s birthday today…after covering in chocolate I added dried apricot cut out eyes and slivered almonds for wings…turned out cute. PS…my daughter’s 29, lol.


    These look so simple and delicious! I’ve replaced almost all of my “cookies” with a date/nut mixture and everyone loves it! Even my italian boyfriend ;)


    [...] for years and years and years. This year, I tried a few new recipes including Chocolate-Chip Pie, Dark Chocolate “Turtles” and for the salsa contest, Texas Caviar (all recipes were vegan and gluten-free). Hubs and I really [...]


    Hi there, after making these using 1/2 cup of pitted dates, I realized that I think it is supposed to be 1 cup :-) Your calorie count aligns with that as well. Just thought I’d mention it for future readers making these. Thanks so much for the recipe though, they’re delicious!


    These were awesome, and oh so easy!! 5 0stars all the way.


    I’ll be back in my hometown visiting my parents soon, and they aren’t exactly the cleanest eaters. Can’t wait to share an unrefined recipe with them that they actually may love!


    Ohhhh I love you so much! I’m 8+ months pregnant and have gestational diabetes and it is getting so hard to avoid carbs. But oh. my. goodness. I just made these (super easy!), and they’re perfect. My fetus and I thank you!


    Such a simple and delicious idea. I will use walnuts , I love them!


    Made these tonight and they are marvelous! Happiness in my mouth. So nice to use such good quality ingredients to make a delish treat. Thanks so much Crystal.


    Hmm beautiful cookies, they really look amazing and mouthwatering. Healthy candy rules the world!


    I LOVE turtles and haven’t been able to eat them in a very long time because of allergies. This recipe makes me smile from ear to ear because now I can eat turtles again! These look better than the store bought ones, so excited to make them!


    These look amazing! And so easy.


    Wow, I am making these tomorrow! I have a jar of date paste (learned the trick from the Healthy Foodie blog), and I was primarily using it to make chocolate mousse (from Vegan Magic). But now I have one more super simple recipe to try – yey! I love turtles and these must be amazing! Thank you so much for this brilliant idea!
    p.s. I think this is the first time I see your blog – it’s beautiful! I will be back for more recipes :-)


      Thanks Cooking Rookie! I will have to head over to Vegan Magic to see this chocolate mousse you speak of! I visit Healthy Foodie all the time! :) Enjoy the turtles, see you again soon! :)


    Can’t wait to make these!


    These look so good, and so easy! Can’t wait to try them :)


    I might have to make these with walnuts because that’s all I’ve got… or run to the store for pecans! So delicious looking.


    I love the idea of these healthy candies. Thanks! Can’t wait to sink my teeth into one.

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