Typically shop bought protein bars most often are loaded with refined sugars, lack fiber, contain hydrogenated oils, artificial flavors, preservatives, and not to mention the main source of proteins used are manufactured in a lab (you have to do your research to find a high quality protein powder). Being a Pilates instructor and living an active lifestyle, I wanted to create my own whole food protein bars that I can just grab from the fridge when I'm short on time.
There are many plant-based proteins, but hemp protein is my top choice for use in recipes other than protein shakes/smoothies. Hemp protein powder contains aprox. 30% protein with all amino acids, it also contains omega-3 fatty acids, fibre, and works really well when using in these bars!
Hemp isn’t the only contributing protein player here, spirulina adds 8 grams of protein to the entire recipe. The whole recipe contains about 100 g protein. So if you cut the bars into 12, you get just over 8g of protein for each bar. The protein content in these bars combined with nutritious sources of good carbohydrates, fibre and omega-3 fats, helps stabilise blood sugar levels, provides energy, and will help you feel satisfied.
Ingredients: Makes 12 bars
- 1½ cup hemp protein powder
- ½ cup cocoa powder
- ½ cup raw walnuts, ground into a coarse flour
- ½ cup raw chia seeds, ground
- 2 tablespoons spirulina powder
- pinch pink himalayan sea salt
- pinch of ground cinnamon
- 20 medjool dates, pitted
- ¾ cup dried goji berries
- 4 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
- 1 heaping tbsp almond butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Line a baking tray with baking paper. Set aside.
- Coarsely grind walnuts and chia seeds. Pour into a large mixing bowl and combine all remaining dry ingredients. Set aside.
- In a kettle, heat some water to near boil.
- Place chopped dates in a blender, just cover with hot water, and cover. Let sit for 10 mins.
- Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together a little bit. (At this point, there won’t be enough wet ingredients to combine with the dry).
- When dates are done soaking, blend on high for about 20 seconds (stopping to scrape down the sides) until you get a date paste. You may need to add more water, but start with as little as possible.
- Add date paste to dry & wet ingredients. Mix together really well with a large spoon but your hands are best.
- If the mixture gets too wet, simply add more cocoa or hemp protein powder. If the mixture isn't wet enough, try adding more coconut oil or a few more dates. The desired texture is a thick, chewy, sticky bar.
- Spoon ingredients into the lined baking tray. Wet your hand (this prevents the mixture from sticking) and evenly smooth out mixture in the lined baking tray.
- Refrigerate for 3-24 hours.
- Cut into bars and store in a covered container in fridge (for 10 days) or freezer (for 3 months or more). Place baking paper between the layers of bars to prevent bars from sticking together.