[Post #94 for 100 days of Vegan, Gluten-Free, Portable Power Pucks]
Vibrant and verdant matcha, a traditional tea powder hailing from Japan, is familiar in latte form thanks to coffeehouses throughout the land. But additional possibilities for incorporating this healthy super-ingredient in other recipes are vast, varied, easy and delicious.
For example, these mint and matcha-flavored protein bars, freckled with cacao nibs or mini dark chocolate chips and primed for portable eating.
Curiosity piqued? I hope so, because matcha is a flavor worthy of experimentation. It has a trio of characteristics –sweet, vegetal and mildly astringent–that add a mellow backdrop in all sorts of baked goods and beverages. Further, adding matcha to a recipe is as simple as stirring: no prior preparation is required, simply measure and mix in.
Beyond beguiling flavor, matcha is a spoonful of power. A short list of matcha’s benefits includes the following:
*Offers a rich source of antioxidants (15 times the amount of pomegranates or blueberries) and polyphenols (10x more than brewed green tea).
*Enhances cognition (bring on the memory and concentration boosts!)
*Increases energy and endurance (excellent pre-workout)
*Increases metabolism (burn those calories!)
*Enhances cholesterol profile (lowers (bad) LDL, boosts HDL (the good kind))
This past weekend I crafted these no-bake protein bars to make the most of some matcha powder that has been on standby in my pantry. The additions of mint and chocolate are inspired from a recently consumed cookie with the same flavors. It was too good to have only once in a rare while!
If you are working hard to eat healthfully this January, my hope is that these treats, which are further enhanced with a scoop of plant-based protein powder, will keep you satisfied and on track.
Happy New Year!
- 1-1/2 cups rolled oats (certified GF, as needed)
- ½ cup vanilla vegan protein powder
- 3 tablespoons matcha powder
- 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed meal
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ cup almond butter
- ⅔ cup almond milk
- 3 tablespoons pure maple syrup
- ¾ teaspoon pure peppermint extract
- 3 to 4 tablespoons cacao nibs
- Grease or spray 10 cups of a standard size muffin tin.
- Process the oats in a food processor until finely ground; add the protein powder, matcha, flaxseed meal, and salt; pulse to combine.
- Add the almond milk, almond butter, maple syrup, and peppermint extract; pulse until blended and mixture comes together into a dough.
- Remove dough and roll into an even log (any size); slice crosswise into 9 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and press evenly into prepared cups.
- Loosely cover and refrigerate for at least 2 hours. Remove from tin and store as directed (be sure to eat one immediately, too—for quality control 🙂