Clean Vegan Chocolate Cranberry Protein Bars – Gluten & Dairy-Free!

I am constantly on a mission to get enough protein and, often times, enough calories – especially on days I work out. You have to get the right fuel to get the best results! However, it’s very challenging to find a natural nutrition bar that’s gluten- and dairy-free and also has a high protein ratio. It seems that either it’s whey protein, low quality soy protein isolate, or it’s a straight up “nutrition bar” with next to no protein at all! I’ve seen many a bar that contains something like 9 grams of protein with 45 carbs and 350 calories. That’s a little too steep for me, especially considering most of the GFDF/Vegan options cost upwards of $2.50 per bar which adds up quickly!

In order to obtain a high enough protein ratio, this recipe requires you to use a clean plant-based protein powder, so be sure to choose an all-natural kind that tastes good! In addition to being high in protein, these bars are also packed full of antioxidants thanks to the addition of dried cranberries and organic raw cacao powder, a superfood! The recipe also has no added sugar (besides that in the cranberries). Woohoo!

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Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Cranberry Protein Bars

• 2 cups gluten-free rolled oats
• 2 cups unsweetened coconut or other non-dairy milk, divided
• 6 scoops best-quality plant-based protein powder (I used vanilla flavored)
• 1/2 cup shredded coconut
• 1/4 cup organic raw cacao powder
• 5 tablespoons creamy almond butter
• 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
• 3 tablespoon golden flaxseed meal soaked in 1/2 cup water
• 1/4 cup organic whole dried cranberries, chopped

1. In a large bowl, mix 1 cup nut milk with the rolled oats. Let sit for 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally until there’s no extra milk in the bottom of the bowl.
2.  Add in protein powder, shredded coconut, and cacao powder. Mix thoroughly, using a fork to blend out any lumps that form.
3. Add almond butter, stirring until thoroughly coated.
4. Add in 1 cup nut milk plus flaxseed/water mixture, combining all ingredients until wet. Mix in cranberries until evenly distributed.
6. Line a 13×9 pan with foil or parchment. Pour in protein bar “dough” evenly into the pan. Cover with saran wrap and press into the pan until level. Place in the refrigerator for 30-60 minutes. Once chilled slice into 14 bars, wrapping each one with saran wrap for an easy grab-and-go snack to take with you throughout your week!

Since macros are such an important factor in any nutrition bar, I’ve broken this recipe out for you: 180 calories, 8g fat, 14g carbs, 3g fiber, 3g sugar, 15g protein. Please note this will change based on the macros of your protein powder and other ingredients used!

Do you incorporate protein bars into your daily intake? What do you normally look for in a protein bar?

Gluten-Free Dairy-Free Chocolate Protein Pudding

I normally try to eat a fair amount of protein, following the 30/40/30 macro ratio of fat, carbs, and protein, respectively, though sometimes I find it hard to stomach that much protein without feeling sick. However this week I started CrossFit and boy am I craving it! I’ve felt really weak when I don’t eat enough and it’s definitely been protein that’s kept me going. Tonight after dinner I wanted something sweet for dessert, but still needed to meet my protein allotment for the day. This deliciousness was the outcome:

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Yum! You can use the plant-based protein powder of your choice, but if you use one that’s chocolate flavored you may want to use half the amount of raw cacao powder or just nix it all together. I used Pure Matters Vanilla Pea Protein, which I was going to link to but apparently the company went out of business at the beginning of this past May. How sad!

This recipe is
• Gluten-free
• Dairy-free
• Nut free*
• Soy-free*
• Vegan*

*Depending on your choice of ingredients

Gluten-free Dairy-free Chocolate Protein Pudding
serves 1

• 1/2 – 1 scoop plant-based protein powder
• 1 tablespoon raw cacao powder
• 3 tablespoons coconut, almond, hemp, or other non-dairy milk (I used coconut)
• 1 tablespoon non-dairy plain or vanilla yogurt (you can also use regular yogurt if you can tolerate it!)
• 1/2 tablespoon raw local honey or agave nectar
• 1 teaspoon cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
• 1/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl, mixing well. Add your choice of toppings. I used unsweetened shredded coconut and fresh organic blueberries!

What’s your favorite plant-based protein powder? Let me know in the comments below!