Protein bars — the home version

Since spring, protein bars have been a staple in our diets. After analyzing labels and tasting different brands, we settled on Quest bars as our go-to source of on-the-run, easy-meal-replacement protein. I almost always have one in my gym bag, my purse and my desk drawer. Phil has one for breakfast every morning.

And even though they are perpetually on sale at GNC, I would still like to find a way to make protein bars at home that taste as good and provide the same nutrition.

I might have stumbled onto the right recipe today.

I found this version of a vegan protein bar on this morning. It sounded pretty simple, and I had most of the ingredients already. These bars were touted as having only 166 calories and 13 grams of protein. Most Quest bars are between 160 – 210 calories and have 20 grams of protein. So while not really equal, if I tweak it right I could probably get it close.

But first, it has to taste good. So I made it as close to the recipe as I could (I am emotionally incapable of following a recipe to the letter.)

First of all, I don’t do vegan on purpose. Some of my salads are vegan, but that’s purely by accident.

Second, the recipe calls for taking a cup of almonds and running them through the food processor until it makes almond butter. That seemed a little nutty to me (pun totally intended) because I had almond butter in my pantry.

The recipe also called for five ounces of a vegan vanilla protein powder. I have a non-vegan vanilla protein powder that I love, so I used a scoop of that.

It occurred to me later that was definitely not five ounces.

But away I went, mixing it all in my Cusinart food processor and it looked kind of gross. It had the consistency of rice cereal treats or graham cracker pie crust dough — an unmanageable blob. But just with a little work with super clean hands, I was able to get it molded into a parchment lined, 8×8 pan.

According to the recipe, you have the option of drizzling melted chocolate over the bars. Optional? To quote Cher Horowitz in the classic film “Clueless”: AS IF!

There is no option when it comes to chocolate. DRIZZLE THAT SHIZZLE wherever you can.

I melted dark Ghiradelli dark chocolate wafers in the microwave, drizzled it and added slivered almonds. Then I covered them and let them get properly set in the fridge.

The bars passed the taste test. They are yummy.

Unfortunately, when I put the ingredients in myfitnesspal app, I only came up with 7 grams of protein and 150 calories. That’s when it dawned on me I needed to add more protein powder. I will correct that mistake next time.

I can already think of dozens of ways to riff on the recipe. It’s quick, easy, no-bake and delicious. It won’t replace Quest bars because of the portability, but for munching here at home, this is a great alternative.

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2 Responses to “Protein bars — the home version”

  1. Georgia says:

    I wonder how these would be if I made them with fresh peanut butter from Fresh Market, instead of almond butter. Probably not as good for me, but maybe still not *bad*?

  2. Nona says:

    Georgia: I would think you could easily sub peanut butter. I am a big fan of tweaking recipes to suit my taste and/or what I have. Food should be fun!

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