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Vegan Chocolate Black Bean Protein Bars {no bake, gluten-free}

Vegan chocolate black bean protein bars taste like fudge but are uber nutritious! Make them in minutes with minimal ingredients and no baking.
a single chocolate black bean protein bar on a piece of parchment paper

Meet your new favorite homemade chocolate protein bars! They are quick and easy to make, frugal, and require no baking. 

Highlights of the Vegan Chocolate Black Bean Protein Bars

Here’s why you will want to make these:

  • High protein
  • No refined sugar
  • No nuts
  • No soy
  • Vegan (no eggs, no dairy)
  • Super-Nutritious 
  • Gluten-free
  • High in Fiber

It’s no secret that I like to dabble in the making of homemade protein and energy bars. Given that I love to run–long distances, and after a certain 4-year-old, they are an indispensable part of my daily diet. Additionally, my weight-lifting, professor-ing husband likes to eat them post-workout or pre-class, But the high cost and/or whack-o ingredients of so many ready-made bars makes me crazy.

The answer was in my pantry: Black Beans. I know, I know, you’ve likely seen one of the many black bean brownie recipes floating around the web. You may have tried them. The experience was likely followed by disappointment, nausea, and a walk to the garbage disposal. I’ve made one or two edible versions, but they were not worth making again: they looked great, but tasted dreadful. The texture is particularly off, and I think the problem is the baking of the beans, which yields a leaden consistency reminiscent of modeling clay.

With that in mind, the solution presented itself: nix the baking. My favorite homemade energy bars are Lara bars, which are simply molded from fruits and nuts. Why not do the same with the black bean mixture. I grabbed the food processor and beans and set to work.

Ingredients for the Black Bean Protein Bars

  • quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats (certified GF, as needed)
  • canned unseasoned black beans
  • moist dates
  • plant-based vanilla or chocolate protein powder
  • unsweetened cocoa powder
  • nondairy milk or water

Unsweetened cocoa powder was a must for deep chocolate flavor; in went 1/3 cup. Next up sweetness: I considered honey or agave, but went instead with some moist dates (which add caramel-like undertones), and the sweetness from the all-natural vegan protein powder.

The protein powder provides some of the texture, as do ground oats.  I opted against nuts, since they are pricey, and also to make these bars accessible to those with nut allergies (such as my sister). If you want to add more protein and texture, though, you could knead in some chopped nuts or seeds to the finished “dough”.

Finally, an optional sprinkle of cocoa powder.

Make a batch of these bars today and feel the power!

a single chocolate black bean protein bar on a piece of parchment paper

How Should the Bars Be Stored?

Tightly wrap the individual bars in plastic wrap. Store the wrapped bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or freezer for up to 3 months.

Tips from Camilla

  • Use unseasoned Black Beans: by “unseasoned” beans, I simply mean avoid beans seasoned with chili powder, jalapenos, etc. I don’t mean salt-free. You’ll rinse away most of the salt when you rinse the beans, and the little bit of salt is need to bring out the flavor of the chocolate
  • Pick Your Protein Powder: I used a vegan protein powder here (specifically, pea protein). If you use whey protein powder with the recipe as written, the bars will be gooey and will not be form enough to form bars. You can still use whey protein, but you’ll need to up the amount of ground oats (about 2/3 cup more oats, depending on the type of whey powder; add enough until dough comes together).

a single chocolate black bean protein bar on a piece of parchment paper

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Yield: 8 bars

No-Bake Chocolate Black Bean Protein Bars {no bake gluten-free}

a single chocolate black bean protein bar on a piece of parchment paper

Vegan chocolate black bean protein bars taste like fudge but are uber nutritious! Make them in minutes with minimal ingredients and no baking.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Total Time 10 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned rolled oats (certified GF, as needed)
  • 1 15-oz can unseasoned black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 cup (packed) moist dates
  • 3/4 cup plant-based vanilla or chocolate protein powder
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 to 6 tablespoons nondairy milk or water (more as needed)
  • Optional: more cocoa powder for dusting

Instructions

  1. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with foil or plastic wrap, leaving about 6 inches of overhand on each lengthwise side; lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Process the oats in a food processor until it is a fine powder; transfer to a bowl.
  3. Add the beans, dates, protein powder, cocoa powder and 4 tablespoons milk to the food processor until very smooth. Add the ground oats. Pulse until mixture is well-blended and comes together to form a dough (add more milk/water as needed).
  4. Transfer mixture to prepared pan; wrap the overhang lining over bars and press to flatten. refrigerate for 1 hour then remove and cut into bars. Sprinkle with cocoa powder, If desired. Individually wrap bars and store in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

Notes

Storage: Tightly wrap the individual bars in plastic wrap. Store the wrapped bars in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2 weeks or freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 bar

Amount Per Serving Calories 132Total Fat 16gSaturated Fat 0.1gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0.1mgSodium 59mgCarbohydrates 21.5gFiber 5.3gSugar 5.1gProtein 9.4g

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @powerhungrycamilla on Instagram and hashtag it #powerhungrycamilla

 

 

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Margot

Saturday 9th of July 2022

What brand of protein powder did you use? I have a hard time finding vegan options that taste good in baking/sweets!

Adrenalast Price

Tuesday 15th of November 2016

Fantastic post.Ne'er knew this, thanks for letting me know.

Linda

Monday 4th of January 2016

Thanks , these are great!

Camilla

Friday 15th of January 2016

Excellent, so glad to hear, Linda!!!

Jon

Sunday 6th of December 2015

If I opt to use hemp protein, can I still use 3/4 cup? That stuff is dense and hard to mix!

Camilla

Monday 16th of May 2016

Hi JOn,

I don;t think so--I have hemp powder, and yes, has a lot of fiber. Maybe start with half the amount then add more as needed :)

TR

Friday 31st of July 2015

Dear Camilla, Thank you so much for the recipe. I did a collection of similar recipes for my Dad's 100th birthday reunion, but none of them had beans, which is what I wanted to try next. Some of mine were high in fiber, low in sugar and gluten, and no-bake. How much fiber would you guess is in each bar? Can you suggest a substitute for the protein powder, which I may also be allergic to? Thank you SO MUCH for a brilliant recipe.

Camilla

Monday 17th of August 2015

Hi TR, You could sub some finely ground nuts or seeds, or perhaps finely ground nuts/seeds and half finely ground oats :)

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