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Cheap & Easy Vegan Protein Bars (no powders!)

Cheap & easy vegan protein bars, made with wholesome natural ingredients and no protein powder! They are gluten-free, oil-free, and can be varied in countless ways.

No matter how many years it’s been since leaving school, late summer will always feel like the start of new year. I imagine I will still be tidying my desk, sharpening some fresh pencils (I love that smell!), and perusing new lunch boxes when I’m ninety, and that is just fine with me.

So, regardless of whether you, or anyone else in your household is in back-to-school mode, ’tis the season, in magazines, cookbooks, and food blogs (mine included) to consider shaking up the packed lunch routine. Cheers! I’ve posted a number of fresh, healthy vegetable spreads recently, all of which are terrific for crafting vegetable-centric sandwiches or packed dip/vegetable/cracker combinations.

But today, it’s a cheap and easy protein bar that has me celebrating the new school year.

These super-filling protein bars are dense and delectable–definitely worthy of breakfast on the go. Each bar sports 9.4 grams of protein (this will vary slightly depending on which nuts/seeds you choose), plus a wallop of fiber and B6 vitamins. B6 is especially beneficial for a back-to-school bar: it is needed for proper brain development and function and also helps the body make melatonin, which is important in helping regulate your internal clock (rise and shine, everyone!).

The essentials of the bar batter comprises chickpeas, seed or nut butter, maple syrup, and nondairy milk, all blended until smooth. In go oats and seeds/nuts, followed by baking.

Cut into squares, and done! You can add some chopped dried fruit or chocolate chips if you like, or add about a teaspoon of your favorite spice. The possibilities for variation are vast.

Also, you can keep these 100% nut free if your child’s school has school-wide nut restrictions: use sunflower seed butter or tahini in place of the peanut butter and all seeds (e.g., pepitas, sunflower seeds, sesame seeds, hemp hearts).




Yield: 16 big, thick bars

Cheap & Easy Vegan Protein Bars (no powders!)

Cheap & Easy Vegan Protein Bars (no powders!)

Cheap & easy vegan protein bars, made with natural ingredients and no protein powder! They are frugal, gluten-free, & oil-free, too.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes


  • 1 15-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 2/3 cup almond milk (or nondairy/dairy milk of choice)
  • 2 medium-large, ripe bananas (peeled)
  • 2/3 cup peanut butter (or nut/seed butter of choice)
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup (or honey, if not strictly vegan)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 4 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup coarsely chopped, toasted nuts or seeds (use any combination you like!)


  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease, spray or line a 9-inch square baking pan.
  2. In a food processor or blender, process the chickpeas, milk, bananas, peanut butter, maple syrup and vanilla until blended and completely smooth. Transfer mixture into a large bowl.
  3. Add the oats and nuts to the bowl, stirring until completely blended. Scrape batter to prepared pan, smoothing the top.
  4. Bake bars in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes until deep golden brown and edges appear somewhat crispy. Place on a cooling rack and cool completely. Remove from pan and cut into 16 equal bars or squares.


Storage: Store bars in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days, the refrigerator for 2 weeks, or the freezer for 3 months.

Nutrition Information

Serving Size

1 bar

Amount Per Serving Calories 229Total Fat 10.5gSaturated Fat 1.4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0.2mgSodium 218mgCarbohydrates 28.7gFiber 4.7gSugar 6.1gProtein 9.4g

Did you make this recipe?

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Monday 18th of July 2022

Is there something I could sub for the chickpeas? I'm allergic to gluten, dairy, egg, nuts, beans, soy, and coconut.


Tuesday 19th of July 2022

Hi Beth! Can you eat lentils, or is it all legumes? If you can eat lentils, you can use cooked lentils in place of the chickpeas. If not, I would suggest using soaked raw sunflower seeds or pepitas (soak in boiling water for about 15 minutes and then rain).

3-Ingredient Grain-Free Granola Bars {Vegan, Keto Option} | power hungry

Sunday 20th of September 2020

[…] Cheap & Easy Vegan Protein Bars (no powders!) […]

Charlie Eng

Monday 1st of July 2019

I absolutely loved these! Everyone in my family did too! I used half PB powder and half regular and it worked out fine. I also just added some protein powder in and I can’t even taste it. (It doesn’t have a good taste...). Thank you for this recipe!


Saturday 6th of July 2019

Oh, that is excellent, Charlie! I just ran out of my most recent batch, I think I will follow your lead and add some protein powder to my next batch, too. Cheers!

Amy Darlington

Wednesday 23rd of August 2017

Hi, I think your recipe looks awesome! I really like not adding powders. But... I need to watch fat. I'm wondering, can I replace PART of the peanut butter in the recipe with PB2 (which is peanut powder which you mix with water to form a paste). What do you think? I'm thinking maybe, 1/3 to 1/2 of it.


Wednesday 23rd of August 2017

Hi Amy! I think that, for this recipe, it would work exceedingly well. I think you could definitely go up to 1/2, but, now you have me curious...I think you could possibly do a complete sub, but you might want to add about a tablespoon of flaxseed meal to the PB2 paste to help everything hold together. I would love to hear how it goes!

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