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After an absurd amount of trial and quasi-disastrous error, I’ve managed to come up with a vegan keto protein bar that not only tastes delicious, but doesn’t require the use of a protein powder. Protein powders just aren’t for everyone (I totally get it), so it can be kind of a pain when you see a recipe that calls for the use of one, especially in a low carb vegan recipe, as there are only a few low carb vegan protein powders out there….and boy, they are expensive.
Also expensive are processed, ready-to-buy, low carb vegan protein bars. While convenient, these also often rely on protein powders and soy to boost their macros, while also usually containing a lot of nuts. For those of us with nut or soy allergies/sensitivites, it can be almost impossible to find a decent bar that doesn’t also cost $3 a pop. I’m all for spending a little more than the average bear on foods, but I’m really not into the concept of spending $30 or more per week just to get some more protein in my diet. So, like basically every post on this blog, the solution came through some recipe creation.
These bars have 8.3g of protein and just 1.4g of net carbs per serving while being gluten free, nut free and soy free, which is pretty darn amazing. They also happen to be pretty easy to whip together, and have a pleasantly chewy texture. While keto isn’t traditionally a protein-focused diet, it’s sometimes nice to have a convenient source of tasty protein ready to go, especially if you’re a little sick of eating straight nuts and seeds to meet your quota.
Notes on Making Low Carb Vegan Protein Bars
- I baked these, but you could also form them into the little bar shapes and dehydrate them overnight to make them raw (you’ll want to be sure you use raw cacao powder in that case).
- If you aren’t sold on psyllium husks, you could try mixing 2 tbsp of ground flaxseed in with the water, and letting the gel form by letting it sit for about 5-10 minutes before adding it in to the dry ingredients.
- Be sure you use raw seeds for this, as you are going to be baking them!
- I buy my seeds whole, and grind them up as I need them. This prevents them from going rancid as quickly. I also store them in the fridge for the same reason!
- If you wanted to add some additional flavors to these, you could mix in 2 tbsp of any of the following: instant espresso powder, unsweetened coconut flakes, peanut butter, dehydrated berries, vegan cream cheese. Just keep in mind that every addition will change the macros a bit!
- If you want a little extra flavor without the extra cals/carbs, you could add in 1 tsp of any extract of your choice – I especially recommend hazelnut, almond or peppermint.
- I topped mine with peanut butter, but they’re equally delicious plain!
Chocolate Vegan Keto Protein Bars (gluten free, nut free, soy free)
- 1/2 cup raw sunflower seeds
- 3/4 cup raw hemp hearts
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 1/4 cup cocoa powder
- 2 tbsp psyllium husks
- sweetener to taste I used about 2 tbsp of granulated, sugar-free sweetener, but 1/4 tsp of liquid stevia should do the trick as well!
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 cup of water
- Preheat oven to 350F, and grind all of your seeds into a flour-like texture. I tend to leave the sunflower seeds a bit chunky to add some interest.
- Mix together all the dry ingredients, until thoroughly combined.
- Stir in the water, and let the mixture sit until a pretty thick dough forms.
- Spread on a baking sheet, lined with parchment paper or a silicon baking mat, and flatten into a rectangular shape that is about 1/4" thick all the way across.
- Bake for 45 minutes, removing the tray around 30 minutes, and using a knife to score the bars into 8 equal pieces before returning for another 15 minutes.
25 thoughts on “Chocolate Vegan Keto Protein Bars (gluten free, nut free, soy free)”
Great recipe! I love low carb meals to! I need to check it out:)
I will be making these soon, can’t wait. I have been making your low carb crisp bread and love them. I appreciate the suggestions and alternatives as well as I cannot have flax seeds. Thank you.
Thanks for commenting, Lisa! I’m glad you like the crisp bread and appreciate the alternatives. Having food allergies and intolerances can be tough, especially on a plant-based, low carb diet!
You’ll be pleased to see this recipe doesn’t contain any flax seeds!
I made these yesterday, and they were so good! I’m so happy to find a bar that is flax-free. Mine were a bit thicker than yours and turned out soft and cake-like (yum!). Is this how yours were, or are yours crisper? Thanks for sharing this!
Hi Kristen! I’m so glad you liked them! Flax is such a hard thing to avoid on a low carb and plant-based diet, so I’m excited that this worked for you!
I made two batches this week (I can’t stop eating them!) – the first one was a little stiffer, and more like a chewy granola bar. The second one was thicker and cake-like, as you described. Both are equally tasty, though! I’m going to experiment with different flavors soon!!
I made these the other day and I LOVE THEM! but within three days they had grown mold all over them? I wrapped them up individually, so I’m not to sure what went wrong, have you ever experienced this? Thanks 😀
Oh no! I’m so sorry they got all moldy. 🙁 I haven’t experienced it, but I usually store them in the fridge. The one time I didn’t, I think they only lasted 3-4 days between two people. Hm, I’ll make a note to fridge them for best results.
I’m new to the ketogenic diet… as a vegan, i truly appreciate your blog! Thanks for the great ideas. I have yet to buy the zero calorie sweetener…. I do have some Lacuma powder (Nativa Naturales) already in my pantry– do you think i could use a Tbsp in the recipe for the sweetener? Have you experimented with Lacuma powder in any of your recipes?
Hi Juliana! Thank you for the kind words! I have used lucuma powder, and you could definitely use it as a substitute, but I’m not exactly sure of the measurements. If you try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!
Hi. Is there any possible replacement/alternative to the RAW hemp hearts. As I’m in south africa, and I haven’t seen these anywhere… …. this,looks so,yum ….
Hi Shobana, great question! You could definitely use sunflower seeds there instead, or even pumpkin seeds. Most nuts would work as well, but not so much if you’re avoiding them!
These turned out to be so delicious, didn’t last whole day in my house – I’m starting to think it’s a bit overcrowded 🙂 – so I had to stop by to say thank you! So thank you Liz for another amazing recipe!
Thank you so much Ashley! Hahah, they never last long in my house either!
Looks like a great recipe. Glad I found your site. 🙂
Do they stay together on the road? I need a recipe that will not melt or get soft when bringing them to work.
Thanks a bunch.
Hi Katie, great question! They do stay together, but you definitely need to wait for them to cool before cutting them! I hope you enjoy these as much as I do! 🙂
I make these weekly, perfect breakfast! Thank you for the recipe 🙂 I haven’t made many variations yet (just adding cinnamon), have you found any cool new tweaks?
Also, on a separate note, you talked about protein powder. Have you heard of Orgain organic protein? Not too expensive and it’s vegan. Also, truenutrition.com let’s you build custom protein powders that you can make vegan and low carb 🙂
Hi Josh, thank you so much for this comment! Sometimes I like to add dehydrated strawberries for a little added fun – just a few goes a long way!
I have heard of orgain, but haven’t actually tried it yet. I had no idea that a website like that existed – definitely going to play around with it. Thanks for letting me know about it!
One more thing – I made these again last night and added 1/2 cup of coconut flakes (added at the same time as water) So good! Only adds 3 net carbs to the whole batch (so about .4g per bar) but also adds 3 grams of fat per bar 🙂
Ooh, that sounds delcious, and so easy! Thanks for sharing your tips. 😀
I made these this morning for brunch, and they turned out wonderful. My only question is, how do you cut these so they’re uniform?
Looks like Liz maybe doesn’t reply to these anymore….. In any case, I had the same question, was waiting to see if you got an answer, gave up, and finally decided to try some things — what worked for me was a ruler and a pizza cutter. Also, I don’t take them out of the oven at 30 min to score them. I bake them the full time, then take them out, let them cool a bit, then first trim the ragged edges, then cut the rest. Works well and they look awesome.
Hi Melissa, thanks for commenting! I get around 50 comments a day (mostly from spam bots), so sometimes I miss a legitimate one when it comes through! I’m glad you commented so I could see both of these. 🙂
I just use a chef’s knife (nothing fancy) and eyeball it and they turn out like the picture. When spreading the dough, I do make sure to spread it smoothly, as it’s a what-goes-in-is-what-comes-out kind of recipe.
I’m glad you figured out a workaround! 🙂
Thank you, Melissa and Liz! I did try with the chef’s knife but it didn’t work well. I read Melissa’s reply yesterday and this morning made another batch and used the ruler/pizza cutter system and it works very well!! I also left the bars in the oven and cut them after they’d cooled down a a bit, and that also worked. Did the same thing with a batch of apple protein bars from this site too. Worked like a charm. Thanks again!
I’m glad Melissa’s strategy worked!! I’ll have to see if I’m doing something special with the chef’s knife – sometimes I just cook on autopilot.
Hi! I just use a long chef’s knife to cut them after they’re cool. 🙂