Chewy Superfood Hemp Protein Bars
- Mar 6, 2015
- Kelly Harrington, MS, RDN
This recipe is fabulous, and I was initially drawn to it because of the all the superfoods it contained, but then found out it was created by a registered dietitian nutritionist, so of course I dig that. It’s a chewy, crunchy, all-natural protein bar. I love how this recipe uses dates and dried tart cherries to bind everything together, instead of relying on sugary syrups…and an added bonus, no cooking! These are all raw with no fuss of baking.
These bars are loaded with heaps of nutrients, plant-proteins, fiber, omega-3 fats, monounsaturated fats, and good carbohydrates. They’re a lovely combination between sweet, crunchy, chewy, and creamy. Not to mention, they’re packed with nutritious ingredients and superfoods—9, to be exact—to make one delicious bar!
Chewy Superfood Hemp Protein Bars are a great, on-the-go snack for both myself and my two toddlers. I’m always looking for something high in protein and healthy fat, which makes the bar very filling. With the cacao, it also satisfies a sweet tooth.
Cherries: Cherries are one of my favorite fruits, and provide anti-inflammatory properties. The antioxidants in both sweet and sour cherries have been found to inhibit enzymes involved in the creation of pain sensations in the body, thus acting as pain relievers.
Hemp Seeds and Hemp Powder: One serving of hemp protein provides roughly 20 grams of protein, along with omega-3 fatty acids and fiber. It’s a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, and provides a nice, nutty flavor.
Spirulina: Is an excellent source of chlorella, which is important for cleansing the liver and removing toxins such as heavy metals and other pollutants from the blood.
It’s high in protein (4 grams per 1 Tbsp), and also adds a nutty flavor to these protein bars. Spirulina has potent antioxidant activity, particularly phycocyanin and beta carotene, antioxidants that can help protect cells from damage. Spirulina contains a variety of B-vitamins, and a very high concentration of bioavailable iron, which makes it excellent during pregnancy and for those with anemia.
Cinnamon: It tastes delicious, and is great for blood sugar regulation! Compounds in cinnamon improve the activity of insulin and the cells’ ability to use glucose, which helps to lower fasting blood glucose levels.
Ways To Enjoy
The obvious reason is as a quick grab-n-go snack, but you can easily chop them into bite sized pieces for a decadent dessert topping on BanaNO Cream or Coconut Ice Cream, or on your favorite yogurt.
These bars contain a ton of nutrition, and they're also calorically dense, so either use the bar as a meal replacement, or if you’re watching your calories, cut one in half to make it into a snack size friendly amount. Keep in mind, all of our caloric needs are different, let’s focus a bit more on the goodness of nutrients in these bars more than the numbers! I would use these on a day hike.
Tips From McKel, the RDN Who Created the Bars
I purposefully make larger batches of this recipe at a time and keep some in the fridge for quick snacking and I store the others in the freezer for a later day.
Simply wrap the bars individually in clear wrap or parchment and then place into a tupperware or ziploc storage bag in the freezer. They last well and are quick to thaw- you can also pop these into a toaster oven or microwave for 30 seconds or less and get them nice and warm/soft!
If you’re on the go, these are perfectly fine to keep at room temperature! It’s only dried fruits, nuts, seeds, and coconut oil, nothing will spoil if you’re bringing it with you to work, to school, the office, etc. Simply store it in a ziploc bag or wrap tightly with clear wrap.
1½ cup hemp protein powder, chocolate flavor (or original just add more cocoa)
½ cup hemp hearts, shelled
½ cup cacao powder
½ cup walnuts, ground into a coarse flour
½ cup pumpkin seeds, whole
¼ cup chia seeds, ground
¼ cup dried mulberries
2 tablespoons cacao nibs (optional)
2 tablespoons spirulina powder
¼ teaspoon pink himalayan sea salt
dash of ground cinnamon
1½-2 cups dates, about 20 pitted
½ cup dried tart cherries
5 tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 heaping tablespoon almond butter
½ cup water (start with ¼ and add gradually)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Instructions for Dry Ingredients
1. Coarsely grind walnuts and chia seeds. Pour into a large mixing bowl and combine all remaining dry ingredients (hemp powder, seeds, cocoa, pumpkin seeds, mulberries, cacao nibs, and seasonings). Set aside.
Instructions for Wet Ingredients
1. Combine all wet ingredients in a high speed blender or food processor. This mixture is very thick and sticky so you'll need a powerful kitchen appliance or mix in small batches. Start with ¼ cup of water in this mixture.
2. Pour wet ingredients into the large mixing bowl with dry ingredients. This is where you can adjust the water and pay close attention to how much you use.
3. Using your hands (the best tools for this!), massage and combine the mixture until everything has come together to form a large ball.
4. If the mixture gets too wet, simply add more cocoa or hemp protein powder. If the mixture isn't wet enough, try adding more coconut oil or a few more dates. The desired texture is a thick, chewy, sticky bar.
5. In a 8x8 or 9x9 inch parchment lined pan, evenly spread the protein bar mixture into the pan. Using your hands and fingertips firmly press the mixture into an even layer until it's even and smooth on top.
6. Chill for at least 2 hours in the fridge.
7. Cut into small pieces or 12 whole bars.
8. Keep some for later in the freezer by wrapping individually in clear wrap or keep in the fridge for later use that week.
Serving size: 1 bar (1/12th of recipe) Calories: 320 Fat: 20 grams Carbohydrates: 26 grams Sugar: 4 grams Fiber: 7 grams Protein: 14 grams
Chewy Superfood Hemp Protein Bars Recipe from Nutrition Stripped by McKel Hill, MS, RD, LDN