VEGAN CHOCOLATE-MINT NO BAKE PROTEIN BARS

I have to give credit to The Glowing Fridge for inspiring these bars. She is such an inspiring blogger and always has some of my favorite stories on IG. The girl just radiates health! I've always wanted to make my own protein bars, but as someone who dreads recipe building, I've been procrastinating on this forever.

However, having seen Shannon's recipe on the same day I received a shipment of Natural Force's Chocolate-Mint plant-based protein powder, I took it as a sign from the universe that these quick and plant-based protein bars must be made, and the recipe below was born. 

Natural Force's plant-based protein is as clean as it gets! There are just 5 ingredients, 3 of which are vegan plant-based proteins (the other two are chocolate bean and stevia). I've been a devotee of their Vanilla EMCT for about a year now -adding it to my coffee in the morning for brain fuel and a creamy texture. I found this Good Good maple flavored syrup at Expo West earlier this month and having been using their stevia-based product line in everything. It's the best stevia-based sweetener I've ever used with absolutely NO stevia aftertaste. I use their Vanilla Sweet Drops in my coffee almost ever day, and have a jar of their Choco Hazel Nutella-like spread sitting in my kitchen cabinet awaiting a rainy day. The Good Good maple flavored syrup has become my go-to for no-sugar baking and other treats.

But back to these bars. They require no baking and have a cookie-dough like texture that's so satisfying. They are dairy-free, Paleo-diet friendly, Ketogenic-diet friendly, and are perfect for those consuming a low-glycemic index diet of any sort. The exclusion of sugar makes these a truly healthy treat or protein pick-me-up, and they take about 10-15 minutes to make. In fact, I think it took me longer to write this blog post than to make them. If you don't like chocolate, you can use any of the Natural Force plant-based proteins and just leave the chocolate and mint out of the drizzle! I also have a discount code on the entire Natural Force product line. You use the code 'RH15' for 15% off site-wide!

MINT-CHOCOLATE CHIP PROTEIN BARS:

- 3/4C Natural Force Chocolate-Mint plant-based protein powder (use the code 'RH15' for 15% off site-wide!)

- 3/4C Bob's Red Mill gluten-free almond flour

- 2T Navitas raw cacao powder

- 1/2C Justin's almond butter (warmed)

- 1/3C MALK unsweetened vanilla almond milk

- 2T Good Good maple flavored syrup (or any liquid sweetener). Add more to taste as desired.

- 1T Coconut oil + 1T Natural Force Vanilla EMCT (use the code 'RH15' for 15% off site-wide!). 

- 1/4C Lily's stevia-sweetened chocolate chips

CHOCOLATE-PEPPERMINT DRIZZLE:

- 3oz Terrasoul organic cacao butter (melted)

- 2T Navitas raw cacao powder

- 2tsp Lakanto monkfruit sweetener

- 1-2 drops of Dottera peppermint oil 

HOW TO:

For the PROTEIN BARS. In a large bowl whisk all of the dry ingredients. In a smaller bowl, melt the liquid ingredients in the microwave and whisk until combined. Then fold into the dry ingredients. Press into a parchment-lined 8x8” pan and freeze for 10 minutes until set, then cut into bars.

FOR THE CHOCOLATE DRIZZLE. In a small bowl, combine the melted cacao butter, cacao powder, sweetener (sweeten to taste as desired), and peppermint oil (note: because this oil is so strong, I recommend dropping into a teaspoon first, dispose any extra, and then add to the drizzle). Make sure it’s thoroughly combined. Place in the refrigerator for a few minutes to set a bit, give it a good whisk, then drizzle over the cut protein bars using a teaspoon.