These energy and protein packed Chocolate Almond Chia Protein Bars are an incredibly easy snack full of wholesome ingredients – no baking required!
The one processed snack I will probably never be able to give up are protein bars. They’re just so darn convenient, usually delicious AF, and do the trick of wrangling my mega hunger pangs until it’s time for a more substantial meal. Anyone else agree? Though I make my best attempt to eat a mostly whole foods plant based diet, I always keep a handful of protein bars on hand. You know, for those moments you just gotta grab somethin’ and get the eff going.
What I tend to forget far too often, though, is how easy is it to make protein bars at home! With ingredients you know and choose in your own, custom, protein bar designer, style. How fancy!
I must admit that my S.O. is the one that prompted the creation of this recipe. He’s the one that often asks for homemade protein bars, as he’s not very fond of store bought bars. I, on the other hand, I am guilty of being all about those packaged, 17 thousand ingredient, sugar bombs from the grocery store. Guilty as charged. Keeping bars like this on hand, is a great way for a serial protein bar grabber like me to choose a better option!
For these bars, I wanted to avoid the traditional banana-y-ness of a lot of homemade protein bars. Nothing against bananas, just wanted to switch it up a bit. God knows my love affair with bananas will never end! Check out my Quick 1 Bowl No Bake Vegan Protein Balls for that banana-ish! For these bars, I experimented with using dates as a base, which I have not done tried before. Now I’m like, why the hell didn’t I try doing this before!? Sweetness, fibre, deliciousness, what do dates NOT offer?
These bars offer a whole lotta nutrition, too. Chia seeds, oats, peanut butter, crunchy almonds, and of course some cocoa and chocolate chips for the sake of indulgence.. yumm. And with no baking required, all you gotta do is some mixing! Just a minor trade for some seriously yummy snackage!
- Dry Ingredients:
- 1 1/2 cup oats
- 1/2 cup protein powder** (I used Iron Vegan Sprouted Protein)
- 1/2 cup almonds, roughly chopped
- 1/3 cup cocoa powder
- 1/3 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup dairy free chocolate chips
- 1/4 tsp salt
- Wet Ingredients:
- ~150 grams dates (this was about 22 dates for me, mine were really small!)
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/2 cup natural peanut butter
- 1/2 cup dairy free milk, unsweetened
- 1/4 cup maple syrup (if your protein powder is very bitter, you may need to add more sweetener. Add 1 tablespoon at a time and taste until satisfied)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Start with the dates; using a blender or food processor, combine the dates and water, and blend/process until you have a date paste. Add a tiny bit more water to get things going if you need to
- In a medium bowl, combine the date paste with the remaining wet ingredients (peanut butter, dairy free milk, maple syrup and vanilla extract) and stir until everything is combined. If your peanut butter is very thick, try warming it a bit until its mixable
- In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients (oats, protein powder, almonds, cocoa, chia seeds, chocolate chips and salt) and stir to combine
- Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix until everything is fully incorporated – it helps to use your hands here!
- Once everything is mixed, evenly press the mixture into an 8×8 pan lined with plastic wrap or parchment paper
- Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, or the freezer for 30 minutes before removing from the pan and cutting into 16 squares. After being cut, I like to store these bars in the fridge
** The type of protein powder you use may disrupt the flavour depending on how what it is made out of and how sweet/bitter/grainy it is. Because of this, I recommend adding a little protein powder at first and tasting before adding more!
If you make this recipe, snap a pic using the hashtag #sweetlikecocoa and tag me @sweetlikecocoablog on Instagram, I love seeing the deliciousness you guys come up with!