Vegan Cranberry and Banana Protein Bars

Gluten-free and vegan are two things I am not, but with these protein bars I wanted to play with the idea and maybe inspire people who are with a template they can make their own recipes from. My own inspiration struck a few weeks ago, when I purchased a LEDA Bar to keep in my gym bag as an emergency post-workout carb hit. Sure enough, after a big squat and deadlift session at the gym, such an emergency occurred.

The bars didn’t look like much and the texture, when squeezed through the packet was a bit odd, but it was an ’emergency’ so I gave it a go. Yum! Not too sweet and with a nice little crunch from banana chips. Surely I could make these myself, I thought. The ingredients looked pretty simple and so I stored the wrapper carefully for later reference and filed a note in my brain under ‘cook these later’. Then, the following week I was in one of my favourite health food shops, Goodies and Grains, and spotted the juciest looking dried cranberries. The idea of the tartness of the cranberries contrasting with the sweetness of dates and bananas really got me excited, and so a recipe emerged.

I wanted to keep the recipe vegan, but also wanted to boost the protein, so I switched the gluten-free chick pea flour for pea protein powder, which has a similar texture and allows baked goods to stay moist unlike whey. Another thing I love to combine with cranberries is orange, so a little orange zest will really lift this recipe to another dimension. To make this recipe your own, you could use any of your favourite dried fruits and even go back towards the LEDA original recipe and use banana chips. If you’re into the whole ‘raw’ thing, these don’t need to be baked and could either be eaten ‘as is’ (mmm cookie dough) or dehydrated. Just make sure that you use a ‘raw’ protein powder.

If you’re a lover of oatmeal cookies and aren’t worried about the gluten then this could be a really great launching pad for a clean oatmeal cookie recipe too!

Vegan Protein bars
Serves:
3
Serving size:
1 bar
Cooking Time:
Prep Time:

Ingredients

  • 12 datess, pitted
  • 60ml (1/4 cup) water, boiling
  • 2 small bananas, extra ripe
  • 165ml (2/3 cups) unsweetened almond milk, (or other milk substitute)
  • 15g (2 tbsps) dried cranberries
  • 90g (3 scoops) pea protein powder, or rice protein powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda, (optional if making raw)
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 orange, zest only

Instructions

Instructions

  1. Place the dates in a small bowl and cover with the boiling water and set aside to soak until they become soft.
  2. Preheat an oven to 150ºC/ 300ºF. Line a 10cmx20cm loaf line with baking paper and set aside.
  3. Place the bananas, dates and date soaking water in a food processor or blender and mash until they form a paste. If you don’t have a blender you could use a fork.
  4. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the milk and stir until combined.
  5. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until evenly combined, but don’t over-work.
  6. Spread the mixture along the bottom of the prepared dish and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Cut into 3 bars and allow to cool before wrapping as individual serves.

Nutrition

Vegan Cranberry and Banana Protein Bars

Serving size:
1 bar
Serving per recipe:
3
Average Quantity Per Serving
kCalories:
220
kJoules:
921
Protein:
25.6g
Total Carbohydrates:
54.3g
Net Carbs:
47.6g
    Fibre:
6.7g
    Sugar:
40.6g
Fat:
2g

Tips and Techniques

Don't be tempted to use whey protein as this is likely to make the bars too dense.
Due to the high protein content.

Preparation and Storage

I wouldn't recommend keeping these out of the fridge for more than 3 hours.