Made with wholesome oats, vanilla protein powder, nut butter, and the natural sweetness of dates, these easy Vegan Protein Bars are the perfect midday pick-me-up, post-workout snack, or on-the-go breakfast.
The world holds two kinds of people: those who walk around with healthy snacks like today’s vegan protein bars (and Trail Mix Granola Bars) tucked into their bags at all times, and those with snack envy (and hanger).
You know which group I’m in!
After years of spending too much money on pricey store-bought protein bars, I decided to start making my own.
Today’s vegan protein bars have been my loyal snack partner ever since (right alongside these easy Peanut Butter Protein Bars).
Made with dates, oats, vegan protein powder, and the nut butter of your choice, along with optional mix-ins like chocolate chips and chia seeds, these easy energy bars require zero baking (like my favorite Energy Balls).
They come together in a snap and store beautifully.
5 Star Review
“These are delicious and so much healthier and economical in the long run than store-bought protein bars, which I like to have on hand.”
— Margaret —
How to Make Vegan Protein Bars
No more wondering where to buy vegan protein bars or which protein bars (or Protein Balls) are the healthiest!
These are less expensive, taste wonderful, and are made from whole foods you can pronounce.
Truly, this is the best vegan protein bars recipe you will find.
- Protein Powder. Use your favorite brand of vegan protein powder. I like to use vanilla protein powder for an extra boost of flavor.
- Dates. Instead of honey (not vegan), I made these chewy vegan protein bars with dates (like these Chocolate Peanut Butter Protein Balls). Naturally sweet and caramel-y, dates are also rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber, and antioxidants.
- Rolled Oats. A powerhouse whole grain ingredient packed with fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Rolled oats and quick oats both work well in this recipe.
- Peanut Butter. The “glue” that holds these plant-based protein bars together (and these Peanut Butter Protein Balls). Peanut butter offers healthy fats, is low in carbs, and tastes scrumptious. Feel free to use whatever nut butter you enjoy most (cashew butter or almond butter would both be divine).
- Chia Seeds. Despite being so tiny, chia seeds contain an impressive amount of fiber, protein, omega-3 fatty acids, and antioxidants. (I also love adding them to these Oatmeal Protein Cookies.)
- Chocolate Chips. An optional (or mandatory) mix-in depending on your position as a chocolate lover. I love the added sweetness and depth they lend these bars. (Make sure to select dairy-free chocolate to keep these bars vegan.)
- Almond Milk. Since every brand of nut butter is different, the almond milk keeps the bars from being too dry and ensures you can adjust the bars to the perfect texture.
- Salt. FLAVOR! Salt makes other ingredients pop.
For a lovely contrast of salty/sweet, try sprinkling the bars with a pinch of flaky sea salt after pressing them into the pan.
Add peanut butter, dates, and oats to a food processor, pulsing until the ingredients break down.
- Add the chia seeds, protein powder, and almond milk.
Pulse until thoroughly combined, transfer to a mixing bowl, then fold the chocolate chips in.
The texture of the mixture should resemble cookie dough when properly mixed.
- Press the dough into a pan, chill until firm, then slice into bars. ENJOY!
- Chocolate Brownie Protein Bars. Use chocolate protein powder instead of vanilla protein powder. Add a teaspoon or so of cocoa powder to taste (be careful, it is powerful).
- Protein Bars with Flax. Swap ground flaxseed meal for the chia seeds. Organic pumpkin seeds would also be a nice way to add extra crunch.
- Double Chocolate Protein Bars. Use chocolate protein powder. Instead of folding chocolate chips into the batter, drizzle melted dark chocolate over the cooled bars (or do both).
- Low-Calorie Protein Bars. Omit the chocolate chips and swap them for dried blueberries or dried cranberries.
- Peanut Butter Cup Protein Bars. Adds a few chopped peanut butter cups (or candy bar of choice) to the mixture for an indulgent treat.
- Vegan Protein Bars with Almond Butter. Swap almond butter for peanut butter to get an extra boost of vitamin E and healthy fats.
- Soy-Free Protein Bars. Opt for a plant-based protein powder that does not contain soy.
- To Store. Store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Due to their “no bake” consistency, the bars will become soft at room temperature.
- To Freeze. Place the bars in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Recommended Tools to Make this Recipe
The Best Food Processor
This food processor is a pricier option but well worth the investment if you regularly make protein bars and energy bites.
Have you ever tried making your own protein bars?
Whether this recipe is your first attempt or your 50th, I know it’ll be a welcome addition to your healthy snack routine.
Frequently Asked Questions
The dates are pretty key in this recipe for both sweetness and texture. If you are looking for a protein bar recipe without dates, you can try adding a scoop of protein powder to these No Bake Granola Bars. Or make my regular Peanut Butter Protein Bars with vegan protein powder; swap maple syrup for the honey.
Vegan Protein Bars No Sugar?
While this recipe contains no added sugar or artificial sweeteners, there are natural sugars in these vegan protein bars that come from the dates. However, relative to other recipes, these protein bars have less sugar content.
Sure! If you prefer balls rather than bars, you can shape the dough into balls instead.
No. This particular vegan protein bar recipe doesn’t contain coconut oil. If you like, you can experiment with replacing a tablespoon of the peanut butter with coconut oil.
- 1 cup creamy peanut butter or almond butter plus 2 tablespoons
- 10 medjool dates pitted (about 1 cup)
- 1 1/2 cups rolled oats
- 2 tablespoons chia seeds or flaxseed meal
- 1/2 cup vanilla protein powder vegan if desired (I tested the recipe with Bob’s Red Mill Nutritional Booster, which is unfortunately no longer available)
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 to 4 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/3 cup mini chocolate chips
Line an 8×8-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on two sides like handles.
To the bowl of a food processor fitted with a steel blade, add the peanut butter, dates, and rolled oats. Pulse several times until the mixture breaks down, and the ingredients begin to incorporate with one another.
Scrape down the bowl then add the chia seeds, protein powder, and 2 tablespoons of milk. Pulse until all ingredients are well combined. Depending on your food processor, this may take a few minutes.
Check the consistency of your dough. When you pick up a small handful of it and squeeze, it should hold together and resemble cookie dough. If it is too dry, continue pulsing in milk, 1 tablespoon at a time, until you reach the right consistency. Transfer the mixture to a mixing bowl. Add the chocolate chips and, with a spatula (or your fingers), stir to combine the chips and moisten any bits of dough that the food processor didn’t incorporate evenly.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press it into an even, flat layer. Transfer the pan to the freezer for 15 minutes or to the refrigerator for 1 hour, until the bars firm up.
Lift the bars from the pan using the parchment handles and transfer them to a cutting board. Slice into bars of the desired size (I made 12) and enjoy.
- TO STORE: Store the bars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks. Due to their “no bake” consistency, the bars will become soft at room temperature.
- TO FREEZE: Place the bars in an airtight, freezer-safe storage container in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Serving: 1barCalories: 237kcalCarbohydrates: 29gProtein: 11gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 10mgPotassium: 292mgFiber: 4gSugar: 14gVitamin A: 29IUCalcium: 65mgIron: 1mg
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