It’s hard to choose, but this is quite possibly our favorite protein bar recipe. These Vegan Protein Bars are made with real food ingredients and powered with plant protein. Enjoyed by kids and adults alike, these no-dairy, no-egg protein bars are soft, chewy, and perfect for a quick snack, as well as pre- or post-workout fuel. We employ peanut butter, banana, gluten-free oats, vegan protein powder, and a small handful of mini chocolate chips to make these delicious protein-packed bars.
Homemade Protein Bars For the Win!
A little crunch, a little chewy, and a whole lot of flavor. Each bite is bursting with a chocolate-vanilla flavor that is so satisfying and alleviates that sweet craving that tends to hit in the afternoon. With each bite being surprisingly soft and chewy from the mixture of banana and soft oats, these homemade protein bars will stack tall over any store-bought protein bars in a heartbeat. There are a lot of protein bars out there with mysterious ingredients, so knowing exactly what is going into these bars is peace of mind, especially when serving them to your little ones or fueling your body after a hard workout. We’ve chosen each ingredient for these plant-powered bars carefully, considering the health benefits of each addition. Homemade for the win!
Macro-friendly Vegan Protein Bars
We’ve carefully chosen each ingredient for these vegan protein bars to be crafted into a nutrient-filled macro-friendly bar. When reaching for a store-bought protein bar, it’s natural to flip it over and read the nutritional information looking for high protein content and a good balance of carbohydrates and fats. What are the magic macros for the perfect bar, you ask? Well, to be honest, that is going to depend on your own personal goals. We settled on these ranges for a well-rounded, all-natural, plant-powdered protein bar: 10-18 grams protein, 10-15 grams fat, and 25-35 grams carb. These bars hit the mark! So for the macro-conscious out there, we are happy to introduce you to these peanut butter-banana vegan protein bars! And if counting macros is foreign to you, no worries, you’ll enjoy them just as well!
Ingredients to Make Vegan Protein Bars
- Creamy peanut butter – use natural peanut butter that has a drizzly consistency. If needed, warm the peanut butter until it’s drizzly.
- Maple syrup
- Banana – a banana that’s on the smaller side works best for this recipe
- Vanilla extract
- Protein powder – use a plant-based protein powder of your choice. We have used and recommend Sun Warrior Vegan Vanilla, Garden of Life Plant Based Vanilla Protein Powder, and Ka’Chava Vanilla
- Flax meal – use either brown or golden flax meal or grind your own with flaxseeds
- Gluten-free quick-cooking oats – oats are naturally gluten-free but can be easily cross-contaminated during the harvesting/packaging process, so if you have a high sensitivity to gluten or have celiac disease, be sure to grab a package of certified gluten-free oats. If using old-fashioned oats, pulse in a food processor first to break into small pieces.
- Crispy rice cereal – this is what gives these bars that enjoyable little crunch!
- Mini dairy-free chocolate chips – choose a vegan chocolate chip option such as Enjoy Life! Chocolate Chips
- Pinch of sea salt
How to Make Protein Bars
Don’t be intimidated. Making your own vegan protein bars is as easy as mix, press, freeze. Here are the basic steps:
- Step 1: Line an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper. In a mixing bowl combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, mashed banana, vanilla extract, protein powder, flax meal, gluten-free cook-cooking oats, crispy rice cereal, and sea salt until well mixed. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Step 2: Press the mixture very firmly into the prepared baking dish.
- Step 3: Freeze for 30 minutes or longer. Once firm, lift the bars from the baking dish by pulling up on the parchment paper. Cut into 12 equal bars.
- OPTIONAL: Melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon coconut oil and drizzle over the cold bars.
Kid-friendly Protein Bars
We’re all moms here at The Real Food Dietitians, and we KNOW just how difficult it can be to find snacks for our kids that have a really solid whole-food ingredient lists that we feel good about. That’s why when we’re in the kitchen, we reach for good-for-you ingredients that we know are going to be nourishing for our kids. These protein bars are a delicious kid-friendly snack that are filling and energizing. Serve them as after-school snacks, post-practice fuel, hiking snacks, packed lunches, or for car rides (goodbye gas station snacks!).
Are Peanut Butter Vegan Protein Bars Healthy?
With a clean ingredient list, these protein bars are an exceptional snack option. Just like our Mini Peanut Butter Protein Bars, we included only good-for-you ingredients:
- Peanut butter – opt for pb with no added sugar or oils. This ingredient supplies a good dose of plant protein and healthy fats. Full of vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, vitamin B3, B6, and folate, peanut butter is a nutrient-dense-calorie food that also taste great (it really complements the banana, too)
- Maple syrup – this sweetener, made from the sap of maple trees is vegan and it also hosts a few minerals such as zinc, manganese, iron, and calcium. We added just the right amount to provide a touch of sweetness.
- Flax meal – talk about a plant-based powerhouse! Flax meal (which is ground-up flaxseeds) is an excellent source of plant-based protein, omega-3 fatty acids (heart-healthy), and dietary fiber. Flax meal has both soluble fiber and insoluble fiber, helping to keep your digestion on track and keeping you healthy from the inside out!
- Oats – a nutrient-dense food, oats are a whole grain food that despite being a ‘grain’ are naturally gluten-free. Due to their antioxidant and fiber content, oats can act as anti-inflammatory as well as a gut-health promoter, fueling the good bacteria in your gut to help you fight off disease.
- Banana – it’s well established that bananas are a great source of potassium. Why does that matter? Getting enough potassium has been connected to improved nerve function, lowered blood pressure, and less risk of heart disease. Along with being high in potassium, bananas also host their fair share of fiber (improves digestion), antioxidants, and vitamin B6, as well as being one of the best sources of resistant starch (another gut-friendly compound).
How to Store These Vegan Peanut Butter Protein Bars
For optimal holding power, keep these bars stashed in the freezer in a freezer-friendly container. After cutting them into 12 bars, store bars in individual wrappers for easy grab-n-go snacks or all together in a large container/bag. They’ll last for up to 3 months in the freezer.
Our Favorite Vegan Protein Powders
It’s a daunting task to find a vegan protein powder that has a good ingredient list and still has great taste. Lucky for you, we’ve tested several, and here are our top choices:
Other Protein Snacks To Try:
For the protein bars:
- ⅔ cup creamy peanut butter
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 small banana, peeled and mashed (~100 g)
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ¾ cup vanilla vegan protein powder (~80 g)
- ⅓ cup flax meal
- 1 ½ cup quick-cooking oats (~120 g)
- 1 ½ cup crispy rice cereal (~40 g)
- ½ cup dairy-free mini chocolate chips
- Pinch of sea salt
For the optional chocolate drizzle:
- 1/4 cup dairy-free mini chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- Line an 8×8 or 9×9 baking dish with parchment paper.
- In a mixing bowl combine the peanut butter, maple syrup, mashed banana, vanilla extract, protein powder, flax meal, gluten-free cook-cooking oats, crispy rice cereal, and sea salt until well mixed. Fold in the chocolate chips.
- Press the mixture very firmly into the prepared baking dish.
- Freeze for 30 minutes or until firm.
- Lift the bars from the baking dish by pulling up on two sides of parchment paper. Cut into 12 equal bars.
For the optional chocolate drizzle:
- Melt 1/4 cup chocolate chips with 1 teaspoon coconut oil and drizzle over the cold bars.
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 214
- Sugar: 11 g
- Sodium: 126 mg
- Fat: 11 g
- Saturated Fat: 3 g
- Carbohydrates: 20 g
- Fiber: 3 g
- Protein: 10 g
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
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