Perfect for on-the-go breakfast, as a snack for active kids or adults or as pre or post-workout recovery fuel, these fruit and nut paleo protein energy bars are delicious and energy-dense to keep you well satiated. These bars are gluten-free, dairy-free and vegan-friendly.
Good quality protein bars are super convenient for those in a rush or as a quick post-workout recovery snack. I know there are quite a few protein bars on the market but sometimes you just want to make your own so that you know exactly what’s inside. Plus, you can make a big batch that will last for a few weeks.
These energy-dense protein bars are inspired by a traditional breakfast muesli bar. Sometimes, I will have them with my morning coffee when I don’t have the time to prepare a full meal and I find them very satiating.
I also love having one of these in a bag for when I get caught out with no healthy options on the run, and my partner, who is trying to eat more protein (and eat more, in general, to put on more body mass) is a fan of these as well. They should not become a regular replacement of a nourishing meal but they are handy to have around.
Tips For Making Protein-Rich Energy Bars
These energy bars are made with dried fruit, a variety of nuts and seeds, protein powder and healthy fats. All of these foods provide lots of calories and energy and should be consumed if you’re active, after a workout or as a replacement to a meal (say you’re in a rush and need something quick and easy). Beware adding it as a general snack to your meals as it can add unwanted calories (for those of your counting your macros).
Pre-soaking nuts & seeds
Using nuts and seeds provides a good amount of protein, powder, vitamins and minerals, however, they also contain phytic acid, which reduces the absorption of minerals from these ingredients. The best way to mitigate this is to pre-soak the nuts and seeds in slightly salted water to reduce the phytates content. This will make them easier to digest and those beneficial nutrients more bioavailable (aka ‘activate those nuts’).
Which Protein Powder To Use
As for the protein powder, I recommend using something that your body can handle well. For this recipe, I used Amazonia’s Raw Fermented Paleo Protein, which is a vegetarian and paleo-friendly protein powder made fermented plant-based ingredients including pea, quinoa, and millet. The soaking, sprouting and fermenting of these ingredients dramatically reduces and deactivates any present antinutrients (e.g. phytates, lectins etc), making them gut-friendly.
A combination of different plant proteins in this powder ensures the completeness of amino acids and it contains omega-3 rich Sacha Inchi. It’s a good option for those looking for more sustainable protein powder or who can’t tolerate whey/casein or egg white powders. Regardless of which type of powder you use, go for a neutral or vanilla flavour, although chocolate would also work well in this recipe.
You can choose a different paleo-friendly protein powder, read my Simple Guide To Paleo Protein Powders here.
How To Make Protein Energy Bars
You will find the full instructions, ingredients and nutritional breakdown below. Here are some step-by-step photos to guide you along. You can see that I pre-soaked all nuts and seeds before using, they should take 4-6 hours and can also be left overnight.
All ingredients are processed into a sticky, doughy mixture. Transfer it to a paper-lined tray, flatten tightly and bake until golden brown. Cool and slice.
- 1.5 cups almonds about 150 g
- 0.5 cup Brazil nuts about 50 g
- 1/3 cup pumpkin seeds about 50 g
- 7 large Medjool dates with or without pips
- 1/3 cup sesame seeds
- 3 tablespoons coconut oil
- 1 tablespoon honey optional
- 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
- 1/2 cup protein powder neutral or vanilla, about 70 g (see notes)
- 2-3 tablespoons almond milk or other dairy-free milk
- 1/4 cup dried cranberries
- Add the nuts and pumpkin seeds to multiple bowls or one big bowl. Add a pinch of salt to each and cover with water. Add Medjool dates to another bowl with water. Soak all for 4-6 hours. Smaller pumpkin seeds need less time than Brazil nuts, hence why I often soak them separately, but you can do them all together.
- After 4-6 hours, preheat the oven to 175° C / 345° F.
- Strain and rinse the nuts. Reserve a small handful of almonds and pumpkin seeds and add the rest to a food processor. Strain the dates, remove the pips and add the flesh to the food processor as well. Reserve a tablespoon of sesame seeds and add the rest to the processor too.
- Grind everything together for about a minute, stopping and scraping the sides a few times. Add coconut oil, vanilla and honey and process for a further 30 seconds to a minute, scraping the sides a couple of times.
- Now add the protein powder of your choice and continue to process the mixture for a further minute or two. At first, when you add the protein powder, it might seem that the mixture is too dry but as you continue to grind everything together, the nuts will release more oils and moisten the dough. Add the almond milk to give it a little more moisture. The consistency you're looking for is finely ground nuts, sticky mixture that comes away from the sides and that moulds easily in your fingers, a little oily.
- Line a shallow baking tray with a piece of parchment/baking paper. Grease with a little coconut oil. Transfer the nut mixture to the middle of the tray and spread out evenly. Use your fingers to press down the mixture into an even layer, about 1 -1.5 cm thick. Fill in any gaps or cracks, even if that means cutting the edge of the slice off and using up that mixture to even out thinner areas. You can place another piece of parchment paper on top and use a rolling pin to even out the top.
- Sprinkle the reserved sesame seeds, almonds and pumpkin seeds over the top and press them down into the slice with your fingers. Do the same with the cranberries. Make sure they are pressed down deep enough.
- Place the tray in the oven, middle shelf, for 10-12 minutes. Then remove the tray and let it cool completely. Lift the parchment paper with the slice out of the tray and place it on a cutting board. Slice into rectangular or square bars, you should have about 8-10 depending on how you slice them.
- Store in an air-tight container for a week out of the fridge and for 2-3 weeks in the fridge. You can wrap the bars in some glad wrap individually so they are ready to go in your bag/lunch box.
Disclosure: This post was once sponsored by Amazonia (nothing to do with Amazon). I received a free sample of their paleo protein powder product to try and after careful consideration and trying it a few times, I developed this recipe. All opinions are my own and I only work with products I genuinely like and think would be relevant to my audience.