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Friday, 8 March 2013

Vegan Gluten Free Protein Granola Bars

Update 17/3  

Since I originally made these bars, I've done a little tweaking to reduce the sugar and calories whilst not losing the protein content, and they currently sit at 215 calories with 10g protein.

2 cups/160g oats
1/2 cup milled flaxseed
55g soy protein powder
1/2 cup agave nectar
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1/2 cup raisins
50g omega sprinkle (a seed mix from holland and barratt, but any seeds will do)
1 banana
1/2 cup almond butter
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp almond extract
1-2 tbsp cinnamon
5 dates

The only difference in method here is I quickly made up a little date syrup by mashing some pitted dates with some water for 5 minutes and drizzling this over the oaty mixture before toasting it. I would have properly made date syrup the night before if I had planned ahead, but I didn't. It seemed to work OK though, and I will get better at using dates. Also, I used 1/4 cup agave for the oat mixture, and 1/4cup in the banana-nut butter mixture. Unfortunately, as yummy as maple syrup and golden syrup and honey were in the old recipe, I needed to cut the sugar down. I also added some water to the whole mixture before putting in the dish and baking to try to keep the bars a little more moist as they dried out a bit last time. You could use milk (dairy or non) but I didn't have any to hand and water is calorie free I suppose. These bars maybe aren't quite as tasty as they were, but they're a lot healthier and will give you less of a sugar rush, so are probably better...

Jess and Tom today!

So, as we've both been working out pretty hard lately (Tom running millions of miles everyday, Jess complaining about her knee as she runs as far as she can and goes to a million Les Mills classes at the gym every week) and have been finding our diets fairly restrictive when it comes to sports nutrition, we decided to invent a vegan, gluten free, chocolate free protein bar. This is kind of 2 recipes in one, as we decided to play around with carob too. The protein bars are a take on our monkey bars which, if you've tried them, are just the best. I know a lot of protein bar recipes are raw but these baked ones are so good.


1 tablespoon vegan spread (we used sunflower, most recipes recommend coconut oil but we didn't have any to hand today)
1/2 cup carob powder
1tsp agave nectar
1tsp vanilla

Melt the fat (whichever you use), stir in carob powder over heat, add a little vanilla and agave to taste. Simple. Then, we poured this onto cling film on a plate, and wrapped it in another layer, and squashed it down nice and flat. Then we stuck it in the fridge/freezer to set.

Protein Bars

2 cups oats
1/2 cup flax seed (absolutely love the Linwoods one with sunflower seeds and goji berries in!)
1/4 cup oat bran
1/2 cup soya protein powder (50 grams)
1/2 cup cashew nuts
1/2 cup raisins
2 tablespoons cinnamon (or 3 or 4....)
2 tablespoons jam (optional but a nice sweet addition)
4 tablespoons maple/golden syrup (this time we used 3 maple to 1 golden but any combination works fine)
1 apple, grated

1/2 cup agave nectar
1 mashed banana
1/2 cup almond butter
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup milk (your choice, we used Alpro hazelnut milk)

So, as per the monkey bars, mix the oats, flax, bran, nuts, syrup and cinnamon in a baking dish and toast in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes, stirring halfway. Remove from oven and leave to cool.

Mash banana and add agave and almond butter, cook on the hob until the mixture is runny, remove from heat and add vanilla, salt and a drop of milk. You can also add more cinnamon here. We did.

When cooled, mix the oaty mixture, protein powder and banana-butter mixture. Add a grated apple and raisins (or whatever dried fruit you fancy) to this and add the milk. Mix thoroughly so that the ingredients are all coated and form a slightly doughy consistency. Spread half of this mixture in the bottom of the baking dish you are using, then spread jam on top of this if you are using it, and then we placed our carob flakes (yes, they came out as flakey bits but they taste nice anyway) on top of the jam. Then add the rest of the mixture and press down so that it is compact and neat. Then bake for 18-20 minutes.

And the result is high quality, high protein, vegan, gluten free granola bars. Using the above quantities, made into 14 servings these bars provide approximately 275 calories and 10g protein. So they're perfect to eat before or after a run or session in the gym. And they taste SO good. If you don't want to use soya protein powder, use whichever you prefer. We don't have much experience with protein additions yet so we'll add more recipes as we get more used to using it!

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