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No-Bake Tahini Protein Bars {Vegan, Nut-Free, GF}

Quick & easy, no-bake tahini protein bars (13+ grams protein per bar), with two Middle Eastern flavor twists: orange & cardamom. They are vegan, nut-free & gluten-free.

Good morning everyone, I hope your Monday is treating you well so far!

I am starting this week with a delicious homemade protein bar that I devised last week, and devoured in the days to follow.

The recipe is as easy as can be, and made with familiar ingredients, but the flavor profile is decidedly less familiar for protein bars.

Say hello to my Tahini & Cardamom Protein Bars.

Halvah, the Middle Eastern confection made from tahini, sugar, vanilla and spices, was my inspiration…after the fact. What really prompted the making of these bars was (a) wanting to make some homemade protein bars, and (2) realizing I was out of all other nut and seed butter, save for some bottom-of-the-jar scrapings.

But I had tahini in both the refrigerator and pantry. If I can make bars with almond, peanut or sunflower seed butter, why not tahini?

Why not, indeed.

Here’s how they are made. Place all of the ingredients (vanilla vegan protein powder, ground oats, tahini, maple syrup & cardamom), save for the water, in a bowl.

Stir with gusto (it will be stiff), adding a few drops of water, if needed (it will vary from one protein powder brand to another), until what results is a thick, cohesive dough.

















Press the dough into a parchment paper-lined 9×5-inch loaf pan. I like to put a second piece of paper on top of the dough and then press down with a second loaf pan (same size, or smaller); it makes it easier to tamp down and even out the dough.

If you’re in a hurry go ahead and remove the bars from the pan, using the parchment, and immediately cut into bars. If you have time, go ahead and refrigerate the bars for an hour (or more) before doing so (they will be firmer and less sticky, making them easier to cut).

That’s it! Six  protein-packed, plant-based bars, free of fillers and ready for power eating on the go.

Each bar has over 13 grams of protein per bar. Granted, this will vary slightly, depending on the brand of vegan protein powder you choose, but the tahini adds substantial protein, too. Tahini is 20% complete protein, making it a higher protein source than most nuts. Plus, it is rich in healthy fats, minerals (including potassium & iron), B vitamins and vitamin E.

If you do not have cardamom on hand, try an equal amount of cinnamon, ginger or allspice in its place. One teaspoon may sound like a lot, but it is just the right amount to get a subtle yet still distinct flavor. If you want even more flavor, zest your lemon (or lime) before juicing it, and add the zest to the bars. I did so on a later batch and it is heavenly!

These will keep for a long time, but it’s somewhat irrelevant; you, and any other members of your household, will gobble them up soon after making them!

No-Bake Tahini Protein Bars {Vegan, Nut-Free, GF}

No-Bake Tahini Protein Bars {Vegan, Nut-Free, GF}

Yield: 6 bars
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 10 minutes

Quick & easy, no-bake tahini protein bars (13+ grams protein per bar), with two Middle Eastern flavor twists: orange & cardamom. They are vegan, gluten-free & nut-free.


  • 2/3 cup (about 67 g) vegan vanilla protein powder
  • 1/2 cup tahini (well-stirred before measuring)
  • 1/3 cup rolled oats, ground into a fine flour
  • 1/4 cup pure maple syrup
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated orange zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • Water (as needed)


  1. Line a 9x5-inch loaf pan with parchment paper.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the protein powder, tahini, oats, maple syrup, orange zest, orange  juice and cardamom, adding a few drops of water, as needed. Stir until the mixture is a stiff dough.
  3. Gather the dough together and evenly press into the prepared pan. Place another piece of parchment or wax paper onto surface of dough; firmly tamp down with your hand, a second loaf pan or a measuring cup.
  4. Refrigerate for about 1 hour (to firm up) before removing from pan and cutting into 6 bars.


Storage: Store the bars, wrapped (e.g., parchment paper, plastic wrap, wax paper) in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or the freezer for up to 6 months. The bars will keep at room temperature (lunches, workouts, camping) for several days, but will become softer the longer they are left out (and the warmer the temperature).

Sweetener: If you are not strictly vegan, honey is delicious and flavorful option in place of maple syrup.

Variation: Add up to 1 tablespoon of finely grated lemon or lime zest to the dough, along with the cardamom.

Nutrition Information
Serving Size 1 bar
Amount Per Serving Calories 210Total Fat 11.4gSaturated Fat 1.6gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 23.9mgCarbohydrates 16.3gFiber 2.7gSugar 9gProtein 13.3g

Did you make this recipe?

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Friday 4th of December 2020

Is it possible to make this recipe without the protein powder? What could be substituted?


Monday 7th of December 2020

Hi Hannah! Coconut flour, almond flour, or other ground nuts/seeds. I would add a little at a time until you have the consistency you would like :)

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Sunday 5th of January 2020

You're adorable. I hate reading the blurbs on these food blogs, but I actually found myself enjoying what you said. I didn't just cruise down to the ingredients section. Bravo!


Friday 4th of February 2022

@Deb, I feel the same way about Camilla. She's a gem. And her writing is so delightful to digest. God bless you both!


Tuesday 7th of January 2020

Aww shucks, thanks Deb :) xo


Wednesday 9th of May 2018

I have been looking for a "nut-free" Larabar type snack to send to school for my son. These tasted bitter and overly sweet using VegaSport vanilla protein. What protein powder do you use? Could these be made without protein powder and if so, what would you substitute?


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