Vegan Chocolate Protein Bars

Over the years I've experimented with different protein bar recipes. I've tried almost every type of protein powder on the market: brown rice powders (unsweetened, vanilla, and chocolate), hemp protein powders (in every variation you can imagine), collagen powder, pea protein, pumpkin protein, and probably a few that I'm forgetting lol.

Today I'm sharing a vegan protein bar recipe that I reeeeally like and I think you will too. I've checked off all the boxes to make them work for everyone: they're vegan, sugar free, gluten free, grain free, nut free option, soy free, and low carb - AND I truly think they're delicious too. In fact I can't stop eating them!!! When it comes to protein bars I'm picky. I actually can't think of one that I'd buy at the store, as I find them all to have either a terrible texture (too chewy/tough or chalky) or have a funny taste. Anyone else feel this way? If you do have a great bar recommendation, I'd love to hear it.

Recently I discovered Ergogenics, a Vancouver based company that is dedicated to creating high quality plant-based protein and green powders. I like that they provide a hemp protein powder that also has greens in it. It makes it easy to blast yourself with nutrition in one easy shot. In addition to the hemp, it contains greens like spirulina, kale, chlorella, and barley grass juice, and spinach.

I'll be perfectly honest. I'm always a touch leery when it comes to protein powders because I find many of them hard to digest and the texture is often gritty (back in the day I liked the taste and texture of whey but my body never did well with it). That being said, my digestion DOES respond better to hemp protein powders - and I'm always on the lookout for one that I like enough to take regularly.

I've been so pleasantly surprised with Ergogenics Plant Protein +Greens powder and have been having the vanilla one in my smoothie every morning lately. Its really good! The texture is fantastic when I get it blended with my other smoothie ingredients (coconut milk, avocado, berries, and sometimes a cooked beet). Taste-wise, it is quite sweet so it compliments the fact that the rest of my smoothie is sugar free. They use monk fruit as the sweetener to ensure that there are 0 grams of sugar in a serving. If you're not familiar with monk fruit, it's an Asian melon that is hundreds of times sweeter than sugar but without any calories or any impact to blood sugar!!!!! Insane or what?! Monk fruit contains powerful antioxidants called mogrosides that are metabolized differently in the body than natural sugars which is why it doesn't have any impact on blood sugar.

One serving of the vanilla protein powder has 20 grams of easy-to-digest hemp protein, 6 servings of vegetables, 140 calories, 3g fat, 8g carbs, 2g fiber, and 2 g sugar.

I've used Ergogenics Chocolate Plant Protein +Greens powder to create the protein bar recipe that I'm sharing today. The texture is slightly chewy but soft, chocolatey, and sweet - but not too sweet especially depending on how dark the chocolate is that you dip them into.

Ergogenics Chocolate Hemp Protein Bars: 

1/2 cup tahini

1/2 cup Ergogenics chocolate hemp protein powder*

2/3 cup blanched almond flour OR hemp seeds**

1/4 cup hemp seeds

2 tablespoons maple syrup

2 tablespoons melted coconut butter

2 tablespoons melted coconut oil

2 tablespoons warm water

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Grind all ingredients together in a food processor. It should come together as a slightly thick dough. Taste it. Evenly press it into a container of choice (line with parchment IF using a glass pan) as thick or thin as you like. Place into the fridge until firm. If you place in the freezer they'll get too hard to cut nicely. Once chilled/firm, transfer to a cutting board and cut bars (I got 10 bars + 1 extra from the side bits that I trimmed and smushed together to make another bar).

*Please do keep in mind that I've only tested the recipe with this particular protein. Results will vary depending on what powder you use. I do NOT recommend using an unsweetened powder though (see above regarding the monk fruit).

**Note: I've made the recipe both ways and it works perfectly with either.

Chocolate Coating

2 cups dark chocolate chips of choice

1 teaspoon coconut oil

Slowly melt the chocolate and oil in a heat proof bowl over a pot of hot water on the stove. Dip each bar into the chocolate and remove with a fork. Place on a parchment paper lined pan. Set in the fridge and then drizzle with more chocolate if desired. Store in the fridge for 2 weeks (they must be refrigerated) or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

The first batch I made, in the photo above, is without coconut butter so they turned out a little darker in colour and softer in texture but a touch too soft so it was the perfect addition to the recipe.

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