All I’ve wanted to do lately is bake. It’s just something about mixing all those ingredients in one big bowl, taste-testing the dough and then finally popping everything into the oven to wait for that delicious aroma to fill the kitchen. The problem with baking though is that I associate it with high calories, high sugar and high fat….i.e. low nutrition. That is, unless you make some great ingredient choices to keep things on the healthier side.
I have an obsession with PB and banana combinations, and this has been the case for YEARS. Apparently that was Elvis Presley’s favourite sandwich, so if it is fit for the King of Rock ‘n Roll, then it is A-OK for me. It is also A-OK for a protein bar!
Graeme had been asking for protein bars for awhile so I finally gave in and decided that I would use some ingredients that I found at Whole Foods, being spelt flour and vegan chocolate chips. If you don’t have either of those ingredients, dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips work fine as well, as does whole wheat flour. Just keep in mind that if you use non-vegan chocolate chips, the recipe will no longer be vegan-friendly. To add a bit more flava to the mix, I added in coconut but if you aren’t feeling it, just add in some more chocolate chips. (I won’t say boo!)
So what’s the deal with this spelt flour, you say? Well spelt is similar to wheat flour in that it does come from a cereal grain which is in the wheat family. It includes gluten so if you are on a gluten-free diet, it won’t work for you, however I have heard that spelt does not seem to bother those with MILD wheat allergies. In saying that, you should always check with your doctor before you play around with your allergies! Of course there are benefits to spelt flour too, including high protein, B vitamins, magnesium and fiber content. What I really love about spelt flour is the nutty and slightly sweet flavour that it brings to baked goods. It’s definitely a great alternative to whole wheat flour!
Vegan Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Protein Bars Recipe
Makes 8 bars
1 cup very ripe bananas mashed (Approximately 2 bananas)
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup natural smooth peanut butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup spelt flour (whole wheat works as well)
1/4 cup shredded coconut
1/4 cup vegan chocolate chips
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F. Mix together the first 4 ingredients. In a separate bowl mix together the salt, oats and flour. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix to combine. Add in the coconut and chocolate chips. Stir. Pour the mixture into an 8×8 greased baking pan and smooth the mixture evenly throughout. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes. Once finished, let cool completely. Cut into 8 bars and store in airtight container to keep fresh.
Note: Feel free to add whatever mix-ins you prefer instead of chocolate chips or coconut. Maybe some nuts or seeds? Let me know what you try!