With 11 grams of protein, and a rich, fudge-y flavor and texture, these homemade protein bars will keep you powered up and primed to accomplish all of your New Year’s resolutions!
The switch from a season full of treats to January asceticism can feel enlightening one moment, cruel the next; especially when cravings hit! But I have all of us covered with these DIY, Chocolate Coconut Protein Bars, which have a fudge-y texture and indulgent flavor.
Plus, they are no-bake, can be assembled in minutes, and fit a variety of diet options (vegan, Paleo, gluten-free, grain-free)!
Making these bars requires no more than 5 ingredients:
(1) Plant-based protein powder (chocolate or vanilla)
(2) Unsweetened coconut flakes
(3) Unsweetened cocoa powder
(4) Pitted dates
(5) Nuts, seeds, or a combination of both
Another motivation for developing these bars is that, while there are copious numbers of plant-based energy bars on the market, plant-based protein bars are few and far between. When you narrow that latter category to delicious & soy-free, the number hovers close to zero!
These bars can be assembled in almost no-time, too, so you can whip up a batch late Sunday night and have 8 bars ready for the entire week (and beyond). They keep well at room temperature during the winter months, but for longer storage, definitely keep them in a well-sealed container in the refrigerator (for a few weeks) or the refrigerator (for a few months).
Love what you eat, feel the power, and have a great weekend, everyone!
- 1 cup (packed) pitted dates
- 1 cup chopped nuts or seeds (or a combination)
- ½ cup (packed) unsweetened coconut flakes
- ½ cup chocolate or vanilla plant-based protein powder
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Optional garnish: mini semisweet chocolate chips & more coconut flakes
- Soak the dates in a small bowl of hot water for 5 to 10 minutes until soft; drain, reserving 3 tablespoons of the water.
- Meanwhile, line a loaf pan with parchment or wax paper.
- Place drained dates and nuts/seeds in the bowl of a large food processor. Process until finely chopped and sticky.
- Add the protein powder and cocoa powder to processor bowl. Pulse mixture 4 to 5 times to combine and then scraped sides and bottom of bowl. Process until the ingredients come together into a cohesive "dough," adding some or all of the reserved date water as needed.
- Place dough into prepared pan and very firmly tamp down (I use a second loaf pan to press down evenly).Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours (or freeze for 1-1/2 hours) until very firm.
- If desired, press a few chocolate chips and coconut flakes on top of bars.
- Remove from pan and cut into 8 bars.
Plant-Based (Vegan) Protein Powders: The options in this category have expanded substantially in recent years, so pick the one you like best. Note, however, that powders vary slightly in total calories and protein, as well as dryness, so adjust the recipe as needed (more powder, more liquid, etc).