I am always snack ready at my place, because life with three kids and no snacks in the fridge often looks like left over crusts for breakfast and chocolate for lunch- if you know what Im talking about you know what I am talking about! I love to have a mixture of sweet and savoury snacks in the fridge at all times, and if the sweet snacks coexist with my chocolate addiction I’m cool with that. These peanut butter hemp protein bars keep my kids and I happy when we need something quick and packed full of nutrition- they tick the boxes for protein, whole food fats and carbohydrates and they are the perfect vessel for other goodies like powder herbs or probiotics.
Better yet, they contain only 6-7 ingredients that you probably already have, they require no blenders, food processors or other kitchen equipment and they take 10 minutes to whip up.
Ingredients for your peanut butter hemp protein bars
- Peanut butter. You can use your preferred nut butter but please choose a roasted (or drippy) versions for these. Raw nut butters will be too stiff for this recipe. To keep these peanut butter hemp protein bars whole foods based I ensure I choose a peanut butter that contains only peanuts and salt- no added oils, sugars or additives. I like this one and this one a lot.
- Virgin coconut oil.Coconut oil is a great source of saturated fats. Coconut oil has been used for hundreds (if not thousands) of years and is a traditional oil for consumption. Ensure you choose cold pressed, virgin coconut oil and do not substitute this for any other oils (though butter would work if you prefer butter), as it is important for the bars to set.
- Pure maple syrup or honey. The recipe only calls for between 1/4-1/3 cup sticky sweetener in total, but if you really want to keen the sugars low you could reduce the amount to 2 Tbsp. Coconut nectar and rice malt syrup also work here, but maple and honey have the best results in terms or taste.
- Vanilla beans or vanilla extract. This is an optional ingredient but recommended especially if you use an unflavoured protein powder.
- Protein powder. There are so, so many protein powders on the market and which one you choose is totally up to you however I recommend only using a protein powder you genuinely like the taste of- this recipe requires a plain or vanilla protein powder. I have used this brand for years, which I choose for the organic, premium ingredients, taste and sustainable packaging. You could use straight collagen powder is that is your preferred protein powder- however start with 1/2 cup only and use the optional vanilla.
- Hemp seeds. Hemp seeds add a great textural component to these bars as well as a whole foods boost of protein, omega 3 fatty acids, magnesium and b group vitamins. For extra benefits you can double the 1/2 cup hemps seeds and add a whole cu into the recipe.
- Dark chocolate. As the peanut butter hemp protein bars are naturally slightly sweet with the added maple syrup, vanilla and protein powder you can choose a very dark chocolate for the topping. I used a 90% cacao, however anything that is 70% and above will be great. Dark chocolate (the darker the better) adds more antioxidants and less sugar per gram, so the darker you can go the more beneficial.
- Additional extras- if you have powdered herbs at home atet you’re wanting to add into recipes these are your guys for it. Powdered medicinal mushrooms like lions mane or cordyceps, powdered probiotics, slippery elm will all work well. start with 1 Tbsp for your first batch and add more for the next batch if desired.
Hemp as a nutrient rich food
What is all the rage on hemp seeds? Hemp seeds only recently gained the right to be sold as a food in Australia and ever since they have exploded wit popularity in across many industries. Wondering what all the hype is about?
Hemp seeds contain ver 30% fat and are probably most well loved for their perfectly balanced ratio of omega 3 fatty acids. Many foods contain a one of the omega 3 fatty acids (3, 6 or 9) but hemp seeds boost all three is a ratio that is most supportive for human health. Omega 3 fatty acids are essential for healthy brain and nerve function, and imbalance in the omega ratio has been attributed to many chronic diseases.
As a source of protein, hemp seeds have around 25% of their caloric value as protein and they are one of the few sources or plant based complete protein- meaning they contain ALL of the s essential amino acids.
In terms of micronutrients, hemp seeds offer generous amounts of b group vitamins, magnesium, manganese, non-heme iron, zinc and vitamin E ( in. nut shell, they are mineral rich and contain b vitamins).
The final bonus? In Australia you can source locally grown hemp, a food that by nature is sustainably grown, tastes great and is easy to add into recipes. try it, you’ll love it (or learn to).
Frequently asked questions
1. What can I use instead of protein powder?
The best option is ground oats, so long as you measure the oats (or oat flour) in grams. Measure out 100g of rolled oats and process these into a flour for this recipe, or alternatively add 100g oat flour.
2. Why did my bars turn out dry?
There are two main reasons. Firstly, you did not measure the ingredients by weight, which likely caused too much protein powder to be added and resulting dry bars. The second reason is that you did not use drippy, runny peanut butter. Using a stiff or raw nut butter all make these bars dry. Next time you can compensate by adding in an extra 2 Tbsp coconut oil.
3. Why are these protein bars so high in fat?
I am a big advocate of a high fat diet. Eating good quality, whole food fats is an essential part of a healthy diet, and a great choice for a snack. Low fat diets are attributed to myriad health concerns, not least of all leaving you hungry and unsatisfied (and often craving less nutritious quick-fixers). You won’t find low fat recipes on my blog. I do not advocate for that.
4. Can I substitute coconut oil for olive oil?
No! Coconut oil is a saturated fat, meaning it is solid at room temperature. Olive oil is an unsaturated fat, and is thus liquid at room temperature. You bars will not set if you use olive oil- the best substitute would be butter.
5. Can I substitute peanut butter for almond butter or tahini?
Yes, just ensure you are using roasted, drippy nut or seed butters. I personally don’t enjoy tahini in this recipe (I find the combination unappealing to me) however if you love tahini is sweet recipes you’ll love it. I would only recommend hulled tahini for these bars.
I hope you enjoy these peanut butter hemp protein bars as much as we do! If you are after other easy snack recipes, you might enjoy
- Raspberry coconut bliss balls
- Super seed chocolate bliss balls with Reishi
- No bake red velvet slice
- Healthy grain free granola
- Grain free banana cake muffins
- Vegan chocolate chunk banana loaf with tahini
As always, we welcome any feedback below. Your reviews and questions help others find this recipe, and help our blog too!Print
These 7 ingredient vegan peanut butter hemp protein bars are so easy to whip up and require NO fancy equipment. Loaded with plant based proteins, healthy fats and magnesium they are perfect snacking food.
- 375g (1 jar) smooth, drippy peanut butter (see notes)
- 105g (1/2 cup) Virgin coconut oil
- 75–100g (1/4-1/3 cup) pure maple syrup or honey
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 100g (1 cup) plant based protein powder – plain or vanilla (see notes)
- 85g (1/2 cup) hemp hearts
- 100g 70-90% dark chocolate, divided
- 1 Tbsp peanut butter
- Lightly grease and line a small tin with baking paper and set aside. I use a tin that is 25cm square. Ensure there is an overhang of baking paper for easy removal.
- Add coconut oil to a large saucepan with the peanut butter (reserve 1 Tbsp) and maple or honey. If you want the slice less sweet add only 75g (1/4 cup) maple syrup/honey. Heat over a low to medium heat, whisking the entire time to prevent burning the nut butter. Once the mixture is completely liquid tun off the heat.
- Add vanilla, protein powder and hemp seeds and combine until completely uniform and smooth- I find a large wooden spoon works best for this.
- Roughly chop your dark chocolate and add half to the Peanut butter hemp protein bars and fold through. Pour the Peanut butter hemp protein bar batter into your lined tray. It will be thick and heavy, so use a spoon to spread it around into an even bar. Set aside.
- Add the remaining dark chocolate and reserved peanut butter to a heat proof bowl. Set 2cm water into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Once boiling add the heatproof bowl to the saucepan- it should sit on the rim of the saucepan and not touch the water. Reduce heat to a simmer and gently melt. Pour melted cholctae over etc base and spread evenly.
- Place Peanut butter hemp protein bars in the fridge for 2+ hours to set.
- To cut into desired serves remove the bars from the fridge and tin by lifting the baking paper up and out. Fill a large cup with hot water and dip in a large, sharp knife for 5 seconds. Quickly remove the knife and dry off the water before creating your first cut. Repeat for all the remaining cuts.
- Store Peanut butter hemp protein bars In an airtight container for up to 1 week in the fridge or 3 months in the freezer.
- Ensure you are using a runny, drippy peanut butter like this one or this one. If your peanut butter (or whatever nut butter you are using) is stiff your bars will be try. You can compensate by adding in extra oil.
- Peanut butter can be substituted for any roasted, runny nut butter.
- The best substitute for protein powder is ground oats (or oat flour). Swap for 100g oats or oat flour.
- Maple syrup or honey can be substituted for agave, coconut nectar or rice malt syrup however I prefer the taste with maple or honey.
- Do not substitute the coconut oil, except for unsalted butter.