My do-it-yourself version of chocolate-coconut RX bars, with a significant change-up: mine are made with plant-based protein powder instead of egg white protein powder!
Hi everyone, I hope this post finds you well and recharged (or, perhaps, recovering) from the weekend! I am somewhere in between, thanks to a combination of catching up on sleep & spending Easter with some wonderful friends.
I savored many treats along the way this weekend, including carrot cake, jelly beans, and a chocolate bunny, but today I’m curbing my sweets-enthusiasm (within reason) with a fresh batch of homemade protein bars. It’s been awhile since I’ve created and shared a protein bar recipe, and I’m excited about this one.
These simple, no-bake bars are my homemade riff on RX bars, a brand of protein bars loved by many for their great taste and short list of real ingredients, including dried fruit, nuts, and pure protein powder. If you are thinking “Hey, that sounds like a LARA bar”, you’re spot on: RX bars are almost exactly the same, but with the addition of protein powder.
Unfortunately for anyone who does not or cannot eat eggs, RX bars are off limits, because the bars are made with egg white protein powder. It’s a good thing, because it compelled me to make an equally delicious, protein-rich vegan version of RX bars using plant-based protein powder!
Oh my yum.
RX bars come in multiple flavors, but I started with a favorite: chocolate coconut. My ingredient list is equally brief (actually, more so) compared to the original:
*unsweetened coconut flakes
*unsweetened cocoa powder
I used a chocolate plant based protein powder (made with a combination of rice, hemp, chia & pea protein), but you can use a plain or vanilla variety, too. I add a tablespoon of chia seeds, too, for the protein and healthy fats they contain, but they are entirely optional.
RX bars are made with a combination of cashews and cashews; I used almonds alone. I tried the recipe both ways (almonds + cashews, and then all almonds). Both were delicious, but also virtually identical, so I kept things simple and went 100% almond. You could also do sunflower seeds or pepitas, even peanuts.
I love how these taste, like a deep chocolate, Almond Joy-esque brownie. They are simple to assemble too, except for cleaning the food processor (assign this task to a resident sous chef, if available :)). I also prefer the texture of these to original RX bars: they are less sticky, and heartier tasting, too.
One word of caution: Since plant protein powders can vary significantly from one brand to the next, begin by adding HALF of the recommended protein powder to the date-nut mixture, then gradually add the remaining portion (less, or more) until the mixture forms a stiff, but not dry, dough.
The final nutrition tabulation for these bars is quite close to the original:
Delicious, nutritious and easy–this is definitely my kind of Monday recipe. Enjoy, everyone!
- 1-1/2 cups whole, pitted dates
- 1 cup raw whole almonds
- 3 tablespoons unsweetened flake coconut
- ¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- Optional: 1 tablespoon chia seeds
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ cup chocolate or vanilla plant-based protein powder (do not pack it in when measuring)
- 3 to 5 tablespoons water
- Line an 8- or 9-inch square pan with parchment paper.
- If dates are very soft, do not soak. Otherwise, soak the dates in hot water (not boiling) for 10 minutes. Drain.
- In a large food processor, process the almonds and coconut until finely chopped. Add the drained dates; process until finely chopped and mixture is blended and thick.
- Add the cocoa powder, (optional) chia seeds, salt, , about half of the protein powder, and 3 tablespoons of the water. Pulse, using on/of pulses; gradually add the remaining protein powder and pulse until mixture comes together, adding more water as needed, and scraping down the sides of the bowl several times.
- Scrape mixture into prepared pan; very firmly tamp down in an even layer. Loosely cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before removing from pan and cutting into 8 bars.
Adding the Protein Powder: Since plant protein powders can vary significantly from one brand to the next, begin by adding HALF of the recommended protein powder to the date-nut mixture, then gradually add the remaining portion (less, or more) until the mixture forms a stiff, but not dry, dough.
Note: I used Orgain Orgaic Protein Powder in my testing. I have no affiliation with the company, in any capacity. It's simply a brand that I like (it is widely available and reasonably priced, too)