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Pumpkin Blondie Protein Bars {Gluten-Free}

GFHP

Blondies? Pumpkin? Spices? A swath of chocolate? And packed with protein? Check, check, check, check, and check!

I am all for oat-y and dried fruit-y power and energy bars, but  the taste and texture of these bars–mildly sweet, moist, and tender–is a welcome departure.  The chocolate is completely optional, but I highly recommend it, as the bars are not super-sweet.  You can spread the bars with melted chocolate, as I’ve done here, or keep it simple by stirring in 1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips when you combine the wet and dry ingredients. Easy. If you wish to leave the chocolate out entirely, I suggest adding 2 tablespoons dark cooking molasses or honey. Yum.

I love that these bars offer some vegetables via a post-workout snack or breakfast on the run. And oh what a vegetable: there’s strong evidence that beta carotene — of which pumpkin has an abundance — helps protect against a variety of health conditions, including several strains of cancer and heart disease. You can add these high-protein pumpkin blondie bars to the list of reasons for throwing a can or two of pumpkin into the shopping cart. Think of it as your new favorite pumpkin bread with a turbo protein boost.

Because  I  am a proud geek, I have to close with this tidbit from Early American history. Apparently the colonists had a hunch that pumpkins were a superfood — they would chant the following poem in appreciation for the much-loved squash: “We have pumpkin at morning and pumpkin at noon. If it were not for pumpkin, we would soon be undoon.”  For heaven’s sake, don’t be undoon: make a batch of these blondies asap!

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Pumpkin Blondie Protein Bars


  • Author: Camilla
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 10 1x

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1/2 cup quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup naturally sweetened vanilla whey or raw vegan protein powder
  • 11/2 tablespoons pumpkin pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 11/4 cups unsweetened pumpkin purée (not pie filling)
  • 1/2 cup plain, nonfat Greek yogurt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon liquid stevia (or sweetener of choice)
  • 1/4 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line an 8-inch square baking pan with foil or parchment; lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a food processor, process the oats into a powder. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in the protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, and salt.
  3. In a small bowl, whisk the pumpkin, yogurt, eggs, vanilla, and stevia until blended.
  4. Add the pumpkin mixture to the oat mixture, stirring until blended. Spread into prepared pan, smoothing top.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 25 to 28 minutes or until just set at the center. Cool completely in pan, then remove using the liner. Melt the chocolate chips in microwave according to package directions and spread over cooled bars. Chill 10 minutes, then cut into 10 bars.

Notes

(1) Pumpkin Pie Spice: If you do not have pumpkin pie spice, use the following combination of spices: 2-1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon ground ginger, 3/4 teaspoon ground allspice, 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves.
(2) Chocolate Chip Blondies: If you do not want to fuss with spreading the chocolate atop the bars, simply stir in 1/4 cup miniature chocolate chips (if you have regular chocolate chips, give them a chop so they will be distributed throughout the blondies).
(3) Storage: These bars will keep in an airtight storage container for 1 week in the refrigerator or up to 1 month in the freezer (let defrost at room temperature). They keep well at room temperature when packed for lunches or in a gym bag.
(4) # of scoops: Most protein scoops are around 30-33 g which translates to about 1/4+ cup; so you are looking at roughly 4 scoops of powder.

  • Category: Power Bar, Protein Bar

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1 bar
  • Calories: 103
  • Fat: 3.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 9.3 g
  • Protein: 10.7 g
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Recipe rating

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Winnie

Wednesday 21st of September 2016

I was so excited to try this but for some reason the middle will not set. I followed the recipe exactly, but cooking it on 350 for an hour and the inside is still spongy. What is the texture supposed to be like?

Camilla

Thursday 22nd of September 2016

Hi Winnie! I am so sorry that happened! Do you mind letting me know what kind of protein powder you used? That might help explain it.

Will

Thursday 18th of February 2016

We love these. My wife likes them without the chocolate to reduce the calorie count. I use dark cocoa chips instead of semi-sweet on my half (I think it's worth the few extra calories!) I'm having trouble getting the center to set. The middle is mushy while the outside is perfect. I'm cooking at 6850 feet elevation. Based on my high altitude cooking research, next time I'll try reducing the baking soda and cooking longer. However, I'm not convinced that will be enough. Any other ideas for high altitude adjustments? Perhaps more oat flour or less pumpkin? I'm using Citomax whey protein because that is what I have. Thanks!

Renie

Tuesday 13th of October 2015

Hi! I have been making your pumpkin power bars for close to a year now, and LOVE THEM!!! I used the molasses sub. for the chocolate, add a 1Tbs of cinnamon(also), and use Body Fortress brand whey powder ( vanilla cream flavor, $19/2lb.s). I also ad about 2/3 cup finely chopped apples, and do not ad any extra sweeteners. Best yet, I cook them 6 at a time, in the MICROWAVE! I use a silicon muffin pan, and cook the 6 for 3min.s only. WOW! My family has THRIVED on these! I have never used any other protein powder. Now I can not purchase the product I have been using, and NEED good advice on choosing another. I'm all about getting my 87 yr. old mom into eating enuf daily protein. I don't know the pros and cons on non-whey protein powders. WHICH SOURCE DO YOU PREFER! AND WHAT BRANDS DO YOU LIKE.

Katie

Tuesday 28th of April 2015

I tried these last week with pumpkin and no chocolate and they were great. I used North Coast Naturals Vege Pro 7 Vanilla protein. This week I replaced the pumpkin with pureed fresh strawberries and added 1/ 3 cup of blueberries. Delicious!! Thanks for the recipe it's so simple, love it!

Camilla

Tuesday 28th of April 2015

ooh, that sounds amazing, Katie--I am going to try your variation!

julia

Monday 27th of April 2015

I just tried baking this recepie, haven't tried eating it yet but it do looks really good :) Amazing how a post from 2013 is still helpfull ! :)

Camilla

Tuesday 28th of April 2015

So glad you found it and liked it, Julia! :)

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