Something about the mint – chocolate flavor combo just hits the spot! Even if you’re just into it during the holiday season, this vegan mint chocolate protein bar recipe will become your go-to after a workout. In addition to high quality protein, they also provide unrefined carbohydrate to replenish energy stores as well as unsaturated fats. These bars are easy to make, require no baking, and per the 6 people I had taste test before posting, are just as satisfying as mint chocolate candy.
Thanks to NOW® for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions are my own.
Should You Use Vegan Protein Powders?
At KJN, we specialize in plant-forward diets and our clients include athletes at every level who have vegan and vegetarian eating patterns. For this reason, we know our stuff when it comes to recommending quality supplements and food products that are free of animal products. Plant proteins may also have a better environmental impact. Some people may choose vegan protein powders even if it isn’t for ethical reasons. We have had some clients who report stomach discomfort from whey protein powders for example, even if they typically tolerate milk products, so they choose the plant protein options instead. Research has long shown soy protein to be comparable to whey protein. Since most of our plant-based clients already consume plenty of soy via tofu, tempeh, edamame and soy milk, we advocate variety when it comes to protein powders. While more research is needed, there’s exciting evidence showing that pea protein may be just as effective as whey protein. When using it for snacks like this mint chocolate protein bar recipe, pea protein pairs with the protein in peanut butter to offer even more essential amino acids, too.
Protein Powder Safety?
No matter what protein source you choose in your powder, it’s important you select a reputable brand and product. To help ensure protein supplements are free of banned substances, you can choose one that is Informed Sport Certified. Even if you aren’t participating in a sport with supplement regulations and guidelines around anabolic substances, prescription drugs and other compounds, it’s smart to adhere to similar guidelines to protect your health. One of my favorite brands that has Informed Sport Certified sports products is NOW®, since their protein powders also contain natural ingredients and taste good, too! Some protein powders may have Informed Sport or NSF for Sport seals, but still contain artificial sweeteners, flavors, or colors, which I recommend keeping out of the foods and supplements you take in on a regular basis.
Mint Chocolate Protein Bar Recipe Notes
These vegan mint chocolate protein bars are super easy and delicious either way, but you do have some prep options.
To get the most protein, you’ll want to use unflavored pea protein. This will clock each bar in at 11 grams. If you choose the chocolate pea protein, you will get a slightly more rich chocolate flavor even with 1 tablespoon less of the cacao powder, but you’ll have 2 less grams of protein per serving. If you’re enjoying the bars right after exercise and plan to have a full meal within a couple of hours, while also meeting your total protein needs for the day, this shouldn’t impact your long term muscle recovery. For athletes and those who have higher energy and protein needs than the average active adult, you may have 2 bars as one serving, resulting in much greater protein anyway!
When it comes to the peppermint, you may want to adjust the quantity of extract based on your taste preferences. I used Simply Organic’s peppermint flavor, which uses peppermint oil along with sunflower oil. With a pure extract, you may want to start with just half a teaspoon.
Made with NOW®Chocolate Pea Protein and just 1/4 Cup cacao powder: 205 Calories, 10 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 21 grams carbohydrate, 2 grams fiber, 9 grams protein, 15% DV iron, 3% DV calcium, 170 mg potassium
Made with NOW®Unflavored Pea Protein: 215 Calories, 10.5 g fat, 1.5 g saturated fat, 100 mg sodium, 21 g carbohydrate, 3 g fiber, 11.5 g protein, 15% DV iron, 3% DV calcium, 170 mg potassium
Want to save on NOW® products? Receive 20% off your nowfoods.com purchase (before taxes and shipping). with coupon code KELLYNOW at checkout (not an affiliate link). Offer only available on nowfoods.com through 11:59 PM CT December 31, 2022. Some exclusions apply. Limit one coupon code per transaction. Offer cannot be used on previous purchases. NOW Health Group, Inc. has the right to end any promotion at any time.
Mint Chocolate Protein Bars (Vegan)
- ½ Cup Pitted Medjool Dates, packed
- ⅝ Cup NOW® Sports Organic Pea Protein unflavored or creamy chocolate
- 5 tablespoons NOW® Organic Raw Cacao Powder
- ½ Cup Natural Creamy Peanut butter
- ¼ Cup NOW® Maple Syrup
- 1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
- 1 tablespoon NOW® Organic Raw Cacao Nibs
- ½-1 tablespooon crushed peppermint candy optional
- Add all ingredients, except cacao nibs, in order above to food processor. Pulse until dates are completely blended and your mixture resembles wet sand.
- Dump contents into a loaf pan and firmly press down with a silicone spatula or flat spatula, until mixture is packed and level.
- Sprinkle cacao nibs over top, as well as optional crushed candy cane, and press down again.
- Cut into 8 squares and store in a sealed container in the refrigerator up to one week, or freezer up to 3 months.