Protein powders are a useful convenience, but you don’t need them–or any other pricey ingredients–to make a great-tasting, endlessly versatile protein bar that kids and adults will love in equal measure. Today’s recipe is delicious proof!
No matter how many years it’s been since leaving school, late summer will always feel like the start of new year. I imagine I will still be tidying my desk, sharpening some fresh pencils (I love that smell!), and perusing new lunch boxes when I’m ninety, and that is just fine with me.
So, regardless of whether you, or anyone else in your household is in back-to-school mode, ’tis the season, in magazines, cookbooks, and food blogs (mine included) to consider shaking up the packed lunch routine. Cheers! I’ve posted a number of fresh, healthy vegetable spreads recently, all of which are terrific for crafting vegetable-centric sandwiches or packed dip/vegetable/cracker combinations.
But today, it’s a cheap and easy protein bar that has me celebrating the new school year.
These super-filling protein bars are dense and delectable–definitely worthy of breakfast on the go. Each bar sports 9.4 grams of protein (this will vary slightly depending on which nuts/seeds you choose), plus a wallop of fiber and B6 vitamins. B6 is especially beneficial for a back-to-school bar: it is needed for proper brain development and function and also helps the body make melatonin, which is important in helping regulate your internal clock (rise and shine, everyone!).
The essentials of the bar batter comprises chickpeas, seed or nut butter, maple syrup, and nondairy milk, all blended until smooth. In go oats and seeds/nuts, followed by baking.
Cut into squares, and done! You can add some chopped dried fruit or chocolate chips if you like, or add about a teaspoon of your favorite spice. The possibilities for variation are vast.
Also, you can keep these 100% nut free if your child’s school has school-wide nut restrictions: use sunflower seed butter or tahini in place of the peanut butter and all seeds (e.g., pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp hearts).
- 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ⅔ cup almond milk (or nondairy/dairy milk of choice)
- 2 medium-large, ripe bananas (peeled)
- ⅔ cup peanut butter (or nut/seed butter of choice)
- ¼ cup maple syrup (or honey, if not strictly vegan)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1 cup coarsely chopped, toasted nuts or seeds (use any combination you like!)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Grease, spray or line a 9-inch square baking pan.
- In a food processor or blender, process the chickpeas, milk, bananas, peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla until blended and completely smooth. Transfer mixture into a large bowl.
- Add the oats and nuts to the bowl, stirring until completely blended. Scrape batter to prepared pan, smoothing the top.
- Bake bars in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes until deep golden brown and edges appear somewhat crispy. Place on a cooling rack and cool completely. Remove from pan and cut into 16 equal bars or squares.