Nourishing Protein Bars – A Great Whole Foods Snack

IMG_6688I am thankful for all the input that I received on my recent twitter request for yummy and nutritious larabar and granola bar recipes. Thanks for all the recipes! I wanted to share a collection of the recipes received here today with you all. My purpose in finding a good recipe was to have a good snack bar to have on hand. The hubby in particular was requesting something to give him a little boost occasionally during his long work hours. Here is my version of a good protein bar that we totally love thanks to Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship for her tweaked almond bar! Let me say that again…it is awesome! A great source of protein and a fun way to get those nutritious nuts, seeds and dried fruit into your diet. Great for pregnant mommies too! I simply threw all the ingredients into my Blendtec Blender (my favorite kitchen appliance and functioning food processor at our home) and pulsed it for a few seconds and it turned out beautifully, but you can also use a food processor as described below.

2 cups almonds
1/4 cup flax seeds, chia seeds or pumpkin seeds (ground in a coffee grinder or blender)
1/2 cup dried prunes, dates or raisins (we used prunes!)
½ cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)
½ cup peanut or almond butter
½ cup coconut oil or butter (melted)
1/4 cup honey
2-3 teaspoons vanilla extract
a few squares dark chocolate, less than half a bar needed for thin layer (optional) – I melted about 1/4 bag of chocolate chips in a small saucepan for the topping

Place almonds, flax meal/seeds, dried fruit, shredded coconut, almond/peanut butter in a food processor. Pulse briefly for about 10 seconds.In a small sauce pan, melt coconut oil over very low heat. Remove coconut oil from stove, stir sweeteners and vanilla into oil. Add coconut oil mixture to food processor and pulse until ingredients form a coarse paste. Press mixture into an 8 x 8 glass baking dish. Chill in refrigerator for 1 hour, until mixture hardens. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate over very low heat, stirring continuously. Spread melted chocolate over bars; return to refrigerator for 30 minutes, until chocolate hardens. Remove from refrigerator, cut into bars and serve. Makes about 12-15 bars. Store in refrigerator or freeze for later enjoyment!

Other Snack Bar Recipes

Granola Bars – (Danielle @ Naturally Knocked Up)
Larabar Recipe – (Clean Eating Online)
Granola Bars (Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship)

About Lindsay

Lindsay Edmonds is first a lover of Jesus, wife, mother of four, homemaker, and writer. She loves inspiring women around the world toward simple, natural, and intentional living for the glory of God.

108 Responses to Nourishing Protein Bars – A Great Whole Foods Snack

  1. Emile Pihlaja October 23, 2010 at 2:29 pm #

    This is definitely one of the better posts I have come across on this topic. Have you looked into the opposite side of the argument of natural health? Personally, I think a good argument could be made either way, but please let me know if you know of more sites or articles on the Internet to verify what you are proposing.

  2. Kristi S September 24, 2010 at 8:28 pm #

    I’m sooo glad you have this recipe. I’m alergic to almonds, so I used 1 cup peanut flour instead of almonds and after blending all the ingredients together, in a large bowl I added about 1 cup Trader Joes brand rice crispies and mixed those in gently. Ohhhhh yummy, they are my cure for a candy bar and my family who is gluten free can eat them and be healthy.

  3. Allison Bontrager September 10, 2010 at 11:48 am #

    These are absolutely wonderful!!! (and so healthy!)
    I have made them so many times. They are wonderful as a snack….for breakfast…..
    Thank you for sharing the recipe! I am thrilled with them, and a friend wants the recipe, too!
    ~Allison

  4. Rachel August 22, 2010 at 1:13 pm #

    These look great! I’ve always soaked my chia seeds in water. Are you grinding soaked chia seeds and then adding them or just plain chia seeds?????? Thanks!!

    • Lindsay August 24, 2010 at 1:01 pm #

      You could do it either way. I normally just throw whole chia or flax seeds into the blender with the other ingredients.

  5. Amelia August 2, 2010 at 2:36 pm #

    i just made these and i’m going to share it with my friends who read my blog! I added an entire bad of chocolate chips so that my husband will eat them!! Hehehe he likes chocolate alot so i had to make it with a thick layer of chocolate on top! But i found that my food processor was too small and i had quite a time trying to get it to blend all the way! Had a spoon fall in and break off plastic then had to fish out the plastic pieces =( Im soooo getting a blendtec!

  6. Shayla Sampieri July 30, 2010 at 9:20 pm #

    Well written, unique take on this subject.

  7. Rachel July 27, 2010 at 9:58 am #

    I made these and they were AWESOME. They’ll be a great addition to my daughter’s lunch boxes! The best part is that they’re filling, so small bar can fix me for awhile and the pan goes a long away.

    I used my KitchenAid food grinder attachment and then mixed everything else in the bowl with the mixer, and they turned out fine. I don’t know how many people have one of those lying around, but they totally work in place of the blender or food processor for this recipe if you do!

  8. Misty June 21, 2010 at 4:18 pm #

    These are so yummy. Took a batch on a vacation with another family and all the kids just gobbled them up. So good and nutritious also helps when I have a sweet tooth and want a candy bar!

  9. Meagan June 21, 2010 at 10:07 am #

    oh my goodness, I just made these this morning, SO delicious!

    For the ingredients which can change I used almond butter, gold flaxseed, maple syrup and dates. The chocolate on top is Ghiradelli 100% unsweetened chocolate. I have to stop myself from eating the whole pan!

  10. Nicole May 11, 2010 at 12:57 pm #

    I forgot to add…I’ve passed this recipe onto about 10 friends already.

  11. Nicole May 11, 2010 at 12:56 pm #

    These bars are great! Instead of spreading chocolate over the top of the bars, I mixed in mini chocolate chips. I put about half of the nut mixture in the pan, sprinkled the chocolate chips and pressed them into the mixture and repeated. I waited a little bit for the oil to cool so the chips wouldn’t melt.

  12. Erin at The Healthy Apron April 23, 2010 at 7:53 pm #

    Thanks for the great recipe! I can't wait to try it out!

  13. Megan April 3, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

    I look forward to trying this. Thanks for the recipe.

  14. Kim Kauffman March 23, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    Just made these tonight. I haven’t tried them but my husband said they are delicious!

  15. Lilly Adams March 18, 2010 at 10:19 am #

    I feel that Nutrition Bars are an essential part to a good diet. It’s hard to find good tasting health food. nutritional bars bring great taste to a healthy type of food. I found this great website that offers many options that offers various types bars. http://www.n101.com/nutritionalbars

  16. Danetta March 9, 2010 at 7:48 am #

    My family is allergic to coconut. What can be used in place of the coconut oil? I have the oil, but obviously can’t use it in cooking.

    • Lindsay March 9, 2010 at 8:38 am #

      Melted butter would be your best alternative.

  17. Jana @ Weekend Vintage February 24, 2010 at 3:17 pm #

    oh yum! I make my own vanilla by placing several whole vanilla beans (slice lengthwise) and add to a bottle of Vodka. Choose a brand with a screw on lid. Let it sit for about 4-6 months and then you will have some very delicious homemade vanilla!

    • Priscilla August 18, 2010 at 7:20 pm #

      Do you find it is a lot cheaper than buying your own real vanilla? where do you buy the vanilla beans? If I buy a lot of vanilla beans, it is cheaper per bean. The ones you don’t use right away for vanilla, can you store/some how so they don’t dry out?

  18. Krista February 23, 2010 at 11:16 am #

    Thanks so much for posting this! I tried them with Sally Fallon’s carob topping and they were outstanding:

    http://thenourishingapron.blogspot.com/2010/02/protein-bars.html

    What a great snack option!

  19. Erica February 18, 2010 at 9:10 pm #

    Lindsay, thank you SO much for posting this recipe! I’m due with baby #3 in a few days, and I was looking for some healthy, traditional foods-friendly, one-handed snacks for those post-partum days where I’ll be doing nothing but nursing a baby on the couch all day!

    I made a batch of these last night, and they were SO good! I have almonds soaking for two more batches as we speak (hopefully they’re done before the baby is!). I’m excited to have some of these to eat before the baby comes, and LOTS to have afterward.

    I decided to soak my almonds after reading about soaking nuts on The Nourishing Gourmet (http://www.thenourishinggourmet.com/2008/07/soaking-nuts.html). I tend to have weird reactions to almonds (similar to those described in that blog post), and I’ve been totally fine with the soaked almonds. Yay!

  20. Kelly February 9, 2010 at 12:42 pm #

    I dont have coconut oil can you recommend a substitute?

    • Lindsay February 9, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

      Butter would be the best substitute.

  21. Sara B December 9, 2009 at 8:32 pm #

    Delicious!!!! And very rich – I won’t have seconds of these again. ha! My toddler loved them also and I am hoping they will help him gain a little weight. Next time I will probably substitute pecans or walnuts for some of the almonds since I have an excess of them from friends.

  22. char November 29, 2009 at 6:08 pm #

    made these today for a friend.
    I added some extra items we had in the pantry, a few apricots, dried cranberries, sesame seeds and substituted LSA because we had no flax.
    I drizzled the chocolate so there is not so much on each bar.
    does anyone have a recipe for the hard yoghurt topping that is often on top of store bought bars?

    thanks for the recipe idea!

  23. Kati Beth November 24, 2009 at 9:17 am #

    I made your recipe this morning! It turned out so delicious plus they are so healthy. Thank you for sharing!

  24. Sarah November 18, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

    the flavor of these was terrific. I had a problem though! Mine fell apart and were hard to get out of the pan! Any solutions to my trouble? Also, when I went to cut them, the chocolate cracked and then the whole bare fell apart! lol!! If you have any tips on this I would greatly appreciate it, because other than that, they were awesome!! :-)

  25. Laura November 18, 2009 at 10:07 am #

    I just made these for my pregnant self b/c ants on a log are getting a little boring :) Oh my! I only tasted a little bit left in the blender and wow, I can’t wait for them to be ready! Thank you so much for this recipe, I’ve really been struggling trying to make healthy choices when all this baby seems to want is junk. I am very happy with this recipe and I’m sure baby and midwife will be too!

  26. Anna C. November 16, 2009 at 8:25 am #

    I made these bars over the weekend. They turned out great! Thanks for the great recipe. And I just requested the Blendtec for Christmas this year!! Can’t wait!

  27. Diana November 15, 2009 at 8:21 pm #

    Ooh, yum! These look delish! :)

  28. Alison November 15, 2009 at 6:24 pm #

    Wow! These are SO good! It was my first time using coconut oil!! Yum!

    I also made sloppy lentils today in my crockpot… Yummm!

    Thank you for such an awesome website!

  29. Deanna November 13, 2009 at 7:15 pm #

    A FUNNY TRIBUTE to this recipe’s tastiness… my brother (who is not by any means into “healthy stuff”) came over today while we were out and perused the kitchen as he normally does. As he was making something for himself to eat he decided to have some of our protein bars thinking it was dessert. He ended up getting too full to eat what he made after eating a bar and a half. He had no idea it was “healthy.” ;-)

  30. tamela November 12, 2009 at 6:23 pm #

    Could we use molasses rather than honey~~ I make cornmeal waffles and I use molasses for the sweetener~ We joke that I have burnt the batter since it turns a dark brown from using molasses~~
    This looks like my family would so enjoy it~~
    Blessings~
    tamela

    • Lindsay November 13, 2009 at 8:02 am #

      I am sure you can…if you don’t mind that stronger molasses flavor.

  31. Alina November 12, 2009 at 6:57 am #

    I have tried it. It was fast to make and it is very good. However, I don’t have the feedback yet from my boys, but I think they are going to like it.
    Thank you very much for this recipe!

  32. Deanna November 11, 2009 at 6:50 pm #

    I made this and it tastes great! Even my husband who’s not into protein bars liked it. I usually have little to add to these great recipes and posts, but for those interested I calculated out the calories, fat, fiber and protein content of these bars since personally I am losing weight (loooong way to go to the finish line but coming along quite nicely;-) )
    As for the optional ingredients I used flax seed, PB, raisins, honey, and 1/2 cup chocolate chips and this is the nutritional content for it if cut into 15 bars:

    Calories: 303
    Fat: 24
    Fiber: 4
    Protein: 6
    WEIGHT WATCHERS POINTS: 7 (I do Weight Watchers BUT doing it with real foods.)

    Thanks for the recipe Lindsay!

    Deanna.

  33. T November 11, 2009 at 8:37 am #

    I just finished putting mine in the fridge and noticed that I didn’t add my prunes in! The directions don’t mention when to add the raisons/prunes. Boo! Hopefully it’ll still taste alright. :(

    • Lindsay November 11, 2009 at 9:09 am #

      Sorry about that! I made the update. I am sure they will taste fine, as the original recipe didn’t even have the dried fruit. That was my addition! You can also remove it from the refrigerator, soften, and then add the dried fruit if desired. Otherwise, save them for next time!

      • T November 11, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

        They turned out fine. Thanks for the recipe! I cut up a few dates and ate them along with the bars. Yum! Made the Sloppy Lentils slow cooker recipe today too. It turned out great. We put cheese on it and put it on some rice. That was my first time eating lentils.

  34. Melissa November 11, 2009 at 8:15 am #

    Thanks for this!

  35. Renae November 10, 2009 at 7:10 pm #

    Just curious – would you recommend getting a Blendtec or a Bosch mixer with blender if you could only get one.

    • Lindsay November 11, 2009 at 7:18 am #

      It depends upon what you are desiring to use it for and the size of your family. If you have a small family, you can definitely get away completely with the Blendtec because you can knead up a loaf of bread in it really easy. If you want to make a lot of frozen fruit smoothies, go with the blentec as it is a far more powerful blender and will withstand the challenge. Overall, for its many multi-purposing, I would recommend the Blendtec, because you can grind grain, make a loaf of bread, make ice cream, basic food processing, homemade peanut butter, mix muffins & sweet breads, etc. The list is almost endless! I am definitely using it more now then my bosch. The bosch is great for making big batches of bread, making butter, mixing various pastry recipes, etc. I hope that helps!

      • Renae November 11, 2009 at 12:57 pm #

        Thank you Lindsey. It helps a lot!

      • Priscilla August 18, 2010 at 7:32 pm #

        I didn’t know I could use my Bosch to make butter. I do love it for making bread. I have a grain mill so, I haven’t tried the Blendtec for grain into flour.

        If I had to do over, I would have gotten the Bosch w/o blender.

        We are a family of 8 so, no matter which blender we use, we have to make more than 1 batch of drinks (shakes/smoothies/etc.)…be it the Bosch or the Blendtec (which does hold more than my Bosch).

  36. Sarah-Anne November 10, 2009 at 12:45 pm #

    Are you familiar with Cathe Olson’s recent cookbook, The Vegetarian Mother’s Cookbook? It is WONDERFUL. Many quick, nourishing, and healthy recipes, and especially great for pregnant and nursing mothers. Anyway, she has a great recipe that I think tastes better than Larabars…

    Energy Bars
    By Cathe Olson
    This is a delicious, raw snack.
    * 1/4 cup sesame seeds
    * 1/4 cup sunflower seeds
    * 1/2 cup raisins
    * 1/2 cup dried figs (I used dates)
    * 1/2 cup peanut butter, almond butter, or tahini (I used walnuts, and combined all ingredients in my food processor at the same time)

    Place sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, raisins, and figs in food processor with metal blade. Chop until everything is ground together. Add nut or seed butter and mix until combined. Roll mixture into balls or press into 8-inch round cake pan and cut into 1-inch squares. Keep refrigerated.
    Makes about 3 dozen (For me, it made about 2 dozen).

    Note: Nuts can be substituted for seeds and other dried fruit can be substituted for raisins and figs.

    Variation Coconut Energy Bars: Add 1/2 cup unsweetened coconut to mixture. Add a little coconut milk if necessary to help balls hold together.

    Enjoy!

  37. Teresa R November 10, 2009 at 12:22 pm #

    Wow – think I want to try these asap. With the exception of the choc. they’re scd and GAPS legal, yippie!

    If you were to use pumkin seeds, would you hull them and sprout or not?
    I just dried out some pumpkin seeds, but I’ve never hulled them before.

    God bless :)

    • Lindsay November 10, 2009 at 1:11 pm #

      I just use regular raw pumpkin seeds. You can sprout them as you desire, but I did not.

  38. Alison @ Hospitality Haven November 10, 2009 at 11:41 am #

    We are always in need of a snack like this, so perhaps I’ll try that soon! Thanks for sharing!

  39. Anna C. November 10, 2009 at 11:15 am #

    I have a friend who can only eat Gluten Free, would this recipe apply with that diet? I’m still learning a lot about that diet and she loves protein bars but only eats the store bought kind. I would love to share this recipe with her if it is Gluten Free. I’m sure she would love it.

    • Lindsay November 10, 2009 at 1:13 pm #

      As far as I understand, yes, these would be gluten free.

  40. alexis November 10, 2009 at 10:31 am #

    Those look amazing, and with CHOCOLATE on top? Oh my! thanks for the recipe!

  41. Lauren November 10, 2009 at 8:53 am #

    Do you think I could use a magic bullet to make these? I don’t have a food processor. They sound wonderful! Also, I only have sweetened coconut-not the best, I know ;) ; Do you think I could just cut back on the honey to a tsp or 2? Thanks!!

    • Lindsay November 10, 2009 at 9:45 am #

      I have never used a magic bullet. It would be worth a try. I would definitely half or quarter the recipe in order to fit in your machine. I definitely think you can use sweetened coconut and just eliminate the other sweetener. It is optional!

      • Janette November 10, 2009 at 12:10 pm #

        I just made these this morning and I don’t have a food processor either. I’m not familiar with a magic bullet but I used my mini food chopper and just put in small amounts at a time and it turned out well. Thanks so much for this recipe it is really delicious and a keeper. I didn’t have chocolate squares or chocolate chips so I made my own chocolate out of cocoa, honey and coconut oil. It turned out great!

        • Lauren November 12, 2009 at 11:15 am #

          I halved the recipe with my magic bullet and they turned out great! Thank you for both of your suggestions-I added the almonds first to grind, then the rest of the ingredients. I also used salted almond butter, so I didn’t add the salt, and sweetened coconut, so I didn’t add the honey. Topped them with just a couple squares of melted super dark chocolate. Wow, so yummy!

  42. Elizabeth from The Nourished Life November 10, 2009 at 8:30 am #

    Okay, you’ve officially made me hungry. I agree these are a great alternative to commerical protein bars (who wants all those soy products and preservatives and sugar alcohols?). And they look super delicious, too! I am going to have to save this recipe for sure!

  43. Erin H. November 10, 2009 at 7:08 am #

    Looks great!!!! Can you leave out the seeds if you can not eat them?

    Erin H.

    • Lindsay November 10, 2009 at 9:47 am #

      Sure thing! This recipe is very easy to adjust to your needs and preferences. It works great!

      • Erin H. November 10, 2009 at 6:04 pm #

        Thanks!!!!

  44. Jennifer November 10, 2009 at 5:57 am #

    You just have the best website. I absolutely love coming here and seeing all your great ideas..and those of others! You are truly helping me take better care of my family of 6! Thank you so very much and may God bless you and your loved ones always.

  45. Julie November 10, 2009 at 5:51 am #

    Thank you for sharing this!! I love that it uses almond butter instead of peanut butter since I’m allergic to it. =) Yay! I can’t wait to try these!

  46. Amy November 10, 2009 at 5:37 am #

    These look great – and I just happen to have everything I need. (What luck!)
    I’ve been looking for a simple replacement for Cascadian Farm granola bars – gonna try these today!
    Thanks! :)

  47. Emily November 10, 2009 at 5:32 am #

    This looks great! As soon as we replenish our honey & coconut oil supplies and I get some almonds, I’m going to make these. They will be the perfect snack for my pregnant self!

  48. Shannon Hazleton November 10, 2009 at 4:45 am #

    What’s the consistency of these when they’re ready to eat? Are they soft? Chewy? Crunchy? We’re camping out this weekend for my husband’s b-day, and this would be a great snack to make and take along… but I’m wondering if my 2 and 3 year-olds can eat them?

    They sound delicious! I’m definitely going to try them for the hubby and me. Thanks for sharing the recipe.

    • Lindsay November 10, 2009 at 9:49 am #

      Oh yes, my two year old Karis loves these! They are chewy and delicious!

  49. Jackie November 10, 2009 at 4:25 am #

    Thanks for this recipe. I think I have all of the ingredients to give it a try. My daughter has cheer practice after school 2 days a week and I need to pack something that will give her stamina yet taste good. I will let you know how it goes. Thanks again for all of your great posts.

  50. Kimarie @ Cardamom's Pod November 10, 2009 at 3:03 am #

    Oooh – this looks delicious! Definitely something my husband would love, too!