The world holds two kinds of people: those who walk around with healthy snacks like today’s Vegan Protein Bars tucked into their bags at all times, and those with snack envy (and hanger).
You know which group to choose!
Healthy homemade protein bars made with dates, oats, vegan protein powder, and the nut butter of your choice (I used peanut butter), along with optional (or not optional) mix-ins like chocolate chips (mandatory) and chia seeds (an excellent idea), these no-bake bars come together quickly.
Protein bars also store beautifully. You can whip up a batch, tuck them away in your refrigerator for weeks (or freeze them for months), and grab one anytime you’re heading out the door. Just like these Protein Balls, they make it easy for you to stay happy, hanger-free, and to feel like a glowing, healthy-snacking guru.
After years of spending too much money on pricey store bought protein bars, last year I started making my own. These easy Peanut Butter Protein Bars have been a favorite of mine (and of yours!) ever since.
While I adore that original recipe, I wanted to create another homemade protein bar that was entirely vegan and made with no added sugar.
Today’s recipe is naturally sweetened with dates, and it is delicious.
The bars come together in your food processor, and you don’t even need to turn on your oven.
Make your “batter,” press it into a pan, then prepare to meet the wholesome bar that will beat the pants off of anything you’ll find in a shiny wrapper.
For those with dietary concerns, in addition to being vegan (and therefore dairy free), these bars are also gluten free (make sure you used certified gluten free oats). To make them without nuts, you can swap the peanut butter for sunflower seed butter.
All of that said, you don’t need to be following any kind of special diet to make this recipe. These vegan protein bars are healthy, high protein, and make a super filling snack, post-work out treat, and an excellent on-the-go breakfast.
How to Make the Best Vegan Protein Bars
Made from whole foods you can pronounce, these easy bars are truly the best you will find, and you’ll know exactly what’s in them.
No more wondering where to buy vegan protein bars or which bars are the healthiest. These are less expensive, great for you, and taste wonderful.
- Vanilla Protein Powder. Talk about a super scoop! You can use your favorite brand vegan protein powder.
- Dates. Instead of honey, I made these vegan protein bars with dates. Naturally sweet and caramel-y, dates are also rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Rolled Oats. A powerhouse ingredient that’s packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Rolled oats and quick oats both work well in this recipe. If you need the bars to be gluten free, be sure to use certified gluten free rolled oats like these.
- Peanut Butter. The “glue” that holds the protein bars together, peanut butter offers healthy fats, is low in carbs, and it tastes scrumptious. Feel free to make these bars with a different nut butter or sun butter (heads up! Sun butter will turn the bars green-ish, but they will still taste yummy).
- Chia Seeds. Despite being so tiny, chia seeds contain an impressive amount of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants.
- Almond Milk. Since every brand of nut butter is different, the almond milk keeps the bars from being too dry and ensures you can adjust the bars to the perfect texture.
- Salt. FLAVOR!
- Add peanut butter, dates, and oats to a food processor, pulsing until the ingredients break down.
- Add the chia seeds, protein powder, and almond milk.
- Pulse until thoroughly combined (it should resemble cookie dough as in the photo above). Transfer the dough to a mixing bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.
- Press the dough into a pan and let firm up in the refrigerator or freezer. Slice into bars of desired size and ENJOY!
- Double Chocolate Protein Bars. Use chocolate protein powder instead of the vanilla protein powder.
- Protein Bars with Flax. Swap ground flaxseed meal for the chia seeds.
- Chocolate Dipped Protein Bars. Instead of folding chocolate chips into the batter, drizzle melted chocolate over the cooled bars (or do both…).
- Lower Calorie Protein Bars. Omit the chocolate chips or swap them for a different mix in, such as dried blueberries or dried cranberries.
- Vegan Protein Bars with Almond Butter. Swap almond butter for the peanut butter; this version would be delightful with dried blueberries added in place of the chocolate chips.
How to Store and Freeze Protein Bars
- To Store. Store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Due to their “no bake” consistency, the bars will become soft at room temperature.
- To Freeze. Place the bars in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More High Protein Breakfasts and Snacks
- Whole30 Vegetarian Power Bowls
- Healthy Breakfast Egg Muffins
- Peanut Butter Protein Cookies
- Protein Cookies
Have you ever tried making your own protein bars? Whether this recipe is your first attempt or your 50th, I know they’ll be a welcome addition to your healthy eating routine.
If you do try the recipe, I’d love to hear from you. Please leave a comment below. Thank you! ♥
Vegan Protein Bars
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter or almond butter plus 2 tablespoons
- 10 medjool dates pitted (about 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds or flaxseed meal
- 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder vegan if desired (I tested the recipe with Bob's Red Mill Nutritional Booster, which is unfortunately no longer available)
- ¼ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 to 4 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
- Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on two sides like handles.
- To the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the peanut butter, dates, and rolled oats. Pulse several times, until the mixture breaks down and the ingredients begin to incorporate with one another. Scrape down the bowl then add the chia seeds, protein powder, and 2 tablespoons milk. Pulse until all ingredients are well combined. Depending upon your food processor, this may take a few minutes.
- Check the consistency of your dough. When you pick up a small handful of it and squeeze, it should hold together and resemble cookie dough. If it is too dry, continue pulsing in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the right consistency. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the chocolate chips and with a spatula (or your fingers), stir to combine the chips and moisten any bits of dough that the food processor didn’t incorporate evenly.
- Transfer mixture into the prepared pan and press it into an even, flat layer. Transfer the pan to the freezer for 15 minutes or the refrigerator for 1 hour, until the bars firm up.
- Lift the bars from the pan using the parchment handles and transfer to a cutting board. Slice into bars of desired size and enjoy.
- TO STORE: Store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Due to their “no bake” consistency, the bars will become soft at room temperature.
- TO FREEZE: Place the bars in an airtight freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
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