Banana Bread Protein Bars

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vegangranolabars 3678   Banana Bread Protein Bars

Whenever my heart feels heavy, lost, or confused I tend to turn to the kitchen to distract myself. Seeking comfort in food isn’t as bad as those ridiculous diet magazines make it out to be. Food can bring us all together and make us pause to enjoy the simple pleasures in life. Sometimes, a big pot of chili and garlic bread, creamy avocado pasta, or warm walnut banana bread is just the thing we need in that moment. Other days, it’s a big kale salad or a juicy basket of strawberries and coconut cream. Monday night, I made pasta with homemade spaghetti sauce while we watched the news. I felt like a zombie as I cooked, but I knew we needed something to settle our bellies.

It’s been an emotional week to say the least. I find myself extra sensitive about everything, trying to make sense of all the loss in this world. I haven’t made any sense of it yet and there’s no feeling of progress made in my mind. Despite this heavy heart, I can’t help but be inspired by all the good out there. The selfless people helping in a time of need. The bravery and generosity going on is a beautiful thing to see. Sometimes I don’t always see the good, but it’s there. Love always prevails.

vegangranolabars 3639   Banana Bread Protein Bars

These banana bread bars were my solution to another comfort food craving yesterday. Think of them as soft, doughy granola bars filled with crunchy walnuts, omega-3 lovin’ chia seeds, and a sprinkling of dark chocolate chips. The wet batter is made up of spotty bananas, a generous scoop of protein-packed peanut butter, a splash of vanilla, and just a hint of sweetener to round it all out. I’ve been enjoying them around the clock, so it’s safe to say they work nicely as breakfast, snack, or even dessert. Your call.

vegangranolabars   Banana Bread Protein Bars

Banana Bread Protein Bars

Vegan, gluten-free, oil-free, soy-free (if using Enjoy Life chocolate)

Email, text, or print this recipe

Yield: 10 bars

Dry ingredients:

  • 2/3 cup gluten-free rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup raw buckwheat groats*, ground into flour
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup shredded unsweetened coconut
  • 3 tbsp chia seeds
  • 3 tbsp mini dark chocolate chips (such as Enjoy Life brand)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp fine grain sea salt

 

Wet ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 small-medium)
  • 1/2 cup natural smooth peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup coconut nectar syrup (or brown rice syrup)
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract

 

1. Preheat oven to 350F and line an 8-inch square pan with 2 pieces of parchment paper, one going each way. Tip – to get the parchment to stick to the pan, give the base a spray with olive oil and do this for the next paper too.

2. Add raw buckwheat groats into a high-speed blender and blend on high until a fine flour forms. Whisk all dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl.

3. Mash bananas until smooth and measure out 3/4 cup. Stir together the banana and all the wet ingredients in a bowl.

4. Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and stir well until combined. The dough should be very sticky!

5. Scoop batter into prepared pan. Place a piece of parchment paper on top of the batter and press it down to spread out the batter evenly. You can also remove the paper and wet your hands lightly and spread it out that way. Make sure it’s as even as possible.

6. Bake at 350F for 22-26 minutes, or until the edges are golden brown and the bread is firm to touch. Cool in the pan completely (I left it for 1 hour) before removing and slicing into bars.

Nutritional Info

Notes: Raw buckwheat groats are not the same as kasha or toasted buckwheat. Raw groats have a milder flavour than toasted. You can find raw groats online, in some health food stores, or the bulk bins of Whole Foods. I buy mine in bulk from Upaya Naturals online. You might be able to substitute the ground buckwheat for oat flour, but I have not tried this myself. If anyone tries it, please leave a comment and report back.

vegangranolabars 3664   Banana Bread Protein Bars

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{ 288 comments… read them below or add one }

Vildan April 17, 2013

Hi Angela,
So hard to keep up with you:) You come up with something awesome all the time. Can I replace peanut butter with almond butter you think. Can’t wait for your book to come out. i think you have the best Vegan recipes. Quick question though: I made your zucchini cake/bread but the bread did not bake inside. I had to throw it away:( Do i need to squeeze the zucchini to get the water out of them before mixing it in? Thanks!!!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 17, 2013

Hi Vildan, You are so sweet! Thank you for the kind words. I can’t see why almond butter wouldn’t work (of course the flavour will change though). I’ve never had that problem with the zucchini bread and I’m sorry that happened to you. Did you make any changes to the recipe? My guess is that it just needed more time in the oven – oven temps can vary a lot. try the toothpick test to make sure it comes out clean before removing from the oven.

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Tanya @ playful and hungry April 20, 2013

I actually like the almond flavor better! It’s a more subtle flavor!

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Clara April 24, 2013

Hi sorry to butt in but since the zucchini/walnut bread is sort of a standard in my house, here’s my take on it.
Angela’s temp confused me, I bake it at 180 C for 40 min then cover it with foil for another 20min. That way the bread is baked otherwise it is wet. It’s best eaten/sliced the next day. Also I omit the sugar and add 1 extra TBs of agave syrup and reduce the water in the flaxseed by one. I wasn’t kidding about the healthy vegan. No vegan butter or sugar in the recipes I cook.

Thank you Angela for your recipes. I am not a vegan by the way but my husband is a recent one. Or rather a health addict. However your recipes are so good I’ve eaten quite a few of your recipes. I’ve done so many- Universal salad,red quinoa/ black bean, the X’mas meatloaf one, and I forget the rest. Your tomato soup with red lentil is the best soup I’ve ever tasted.

Thank you for your recipes. They are about the only ones I can bear to cook can’t stand the other vegan recipes I find in books or on the Net.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 12, 2013

Hey Clara, Thanks so much for your feedback! I’m sure it will be helpful to others. :) So glad you are enjoying the recipes by the way! Thanks for trying them out.

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Sharon April 17, 2013

I couldn’t agree more, Angela. Food can be such a comfort:) I’m also a very sensitive person but I believe it’s better to feel than not too…

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 17, 2013

Yes I agree….sensitivity can been seen as a weakness in our culture, but it’s not! In the words of Jewel, “I’m sensitive and I’d like to stay that way” :)

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Adrienne April 19, 2013

I’m very sensitive, love that song, and feel the same way.

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Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health April 17, 2013

I have also been inspired by the strength of the good among us. No amount of evil could ever break that. Your protein bars sound like the perfect comfort food, especially the bits of chocolate. :)

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Christine @ Gotta Eat Green April 17, 2013

Banana bread is a great comfort food! Especially warm, with some of that maple spread on top.. mmm. I found myself in the kitchen a lot this week as well. While many people found comfort running an extra mile or a half hour longer to show their love and support to Boston, I made a couple amazing meals in my kitchen. My heart goes out to all those affected by this tragedy.

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Lisa April 17, 2013

YUMMM! want these right now!

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Emily April 17, 2013

I always turn to baking when I am feeling down/depressed/angry/upset/stressed (you name it). I’m sure it benefits my colleagues to wind me up :-) I have all those ingredients at home so I can see myself hurrying to make these. My prayers are with all those who are affected by this .

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raechel @the rebel grrrl kitchen April 17, 2013

Lovely reflections, Angela. As you note, there’s a lot of people in the healthy food world that criticize notions of comfort food and emotional eating, but I think it’s important to honor what your heart needs, and put those needs above the ostensibly “healthier” option. These bars look delicious and grounding. Just what so many of us need this week!

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Joy April 17, 2013

This looks amazing!! Do you think I could substitute protein powder for the ground buckwheat groats?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 17, 2013

Hey Joy, To be honest I haven’t had much luck when using protein powder in baked granola bars. I find it tends to come out chalky? Add at your own risk ;) and please let us know how it goes if you try it!

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jamie April 17, 2013

2.5 tbsp of hemp seeds is equal to 7 grams of protein!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 17, 2013

great idea :)

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Paula April 17, 2013

I’ve been trying to decide what to do with a bunch of spotted bananas sitting on the counter… thanks for today’s snack :) I only hope buckwheat flour works instead of freshly ground buckwheat grouts! Everything else is in the pantry ready to go when the baby and I get back from our walk/run. Have to take advantage of the sun being out while it lasts :)

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Makenzie Ann @ KenzysKitchen April 17, 2013

Thanks for sharing your heart with us today Angela; you are not alone in your feelings of confusion that’s for sure. I hope to make these bars this weekend and I will try the oat flour if I do!

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Melanie Van Wynsberg April 17, 2013

So yummy. I’m going to try these. Question though – do you know about how long they would stay good? I’d like to make enough to last a good week or so. Any suggestions on that? :)

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 18, 2013

Hey Melanie, Sorry I missed your question some how!
I’m not sure how long they keep because we polished them off in 2 days. hah. oops. Since they are a baked good I wouldn’t imagine they’d keep fresh more than a few days. They might freeze well, but I didn’t get around to that. Let me know if you try it!

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Anne May 20, 2013

They freeze beautifully! They even taste good frozen.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) May 22, 2013

Thanks Anne!

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Averie @ Averie Cooks April 17, 2013

When I’m stressed, being in the kitchen and creating, making, seeing what happens and what I come up with is therapeutic and relaxing and needless to say, with this week’s events, I have been feeling unsettled and have spent plenty of time in the kitchen.

Your bars are wonderful. Banana bread, and granola bars, are both faves of mine. Love these!

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Sarah @ Yogi in Action April 17, 2013

These bars look absolutely delicious. Definitely comfort food- and definitely delicious sounding. Thanks as always for the beautiful inspiration.

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Lisa C April 17, 2013

Love the recipe and some comfort food right now is fine indeed. It’s always been a way people come together in my house. Hoping to make these for a girl’s tea party next week in honor of two little girls whose daddy is serving in the military right now. Might make an extra batch to send to my son, who lives in Boston and was one mile from the explosions (so glad he didn’t run this year)!

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Shannnon April 17, 2013

Do you have the breakdown of Pro/Cho/Fats?

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 17, 2013

Hi Shannnon, I linked to the nutritional info at the bottom of the recipe – hope this helps!

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McKel | Nutrition Stripped April 17, 2013

These bars looks delicious and seem simple enough to make all the time for a quick protein snack, thanks for sharing as always Angela! ;)

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Heather April 17, 2013

These look amazing! Quick question though, I have nut and coconut allergies over here :( What can I use instead of the walnuts and shredded coconut? Can I use sunflower seeds and/or pepitas and just omit the coconut? Thanks!!

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Ruth April 17, 2013

These look great! Thanks for the comfort!!

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Ashley April 17, 2013

Yaaaah buckwheat! I am absolutely in love with these. They look so soft + chewy. Can’t wait to try them!

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Lisa April 17, 2013

Wow these look amazing! Perfect for a day hiking or any day for that matter!

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Shel@PeachyPalate April 17, 2013

Love these! Pinned without hesitation!

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Danielle @ itsaharleyyylife April 17, 2013

wow this looks delicious. I haven’t heard of half of the ingredients before but I am definitely in the mood for banana bread!

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Sami April 17, 2013

YUM! Is there anything I could use to replace the buckwheat groats? I would love to make these (esp. since I’m totally gluten free now), but I don’t think I have those on hand.

xo.

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Monika July 13, 2013

From what I have read online, buckwheat (although it has “wheat” in its name), is actually gluten-free. Have you had experiences eating it, that suggest otherwise? Like a gluten reaction?

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Anele @ Success Along the Weigh April 17, 2013

If those bars of yum don’t comfort you, I don’t know what will. I can’t wait to make them. I think I might try a batch with 1/2 cup of mac nuts. Mmmm.

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Brooke April 17, 2013

Could oatmeal (ground in the food processor) or wheat flour work in place of the buckwheat? Could I sub. honey for the syrup?

Thank you for your delicious work! My family loves many of your recipes!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 17, 2013

Hi Brooke, I would imagine oat flour would work fine as a replacement, but I haven’t tried it. Wheat flour could be too drying. I would also guess honey could work, however it’s slightly less binding then coconut nectar and brown rice syrup so it might be a tad more crumbly. goodluck!

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hafoa2 April 23, 2013

I used oat flour (ground in food processor), and they were delicious! I also used agave nectar because that’s what I had on hand.

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Karen April 23, 2013

I tried it with wheat flour and it worked out very nicely!

I used 1/2 c wheat flour minus 2 T and then added 2 T hemp seed. Otherwise, I followed the recipe and they are delicious!

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Brittany June 4, 2013

Perfect! I was just going to ask if I could grind oats and use agave! glad I saw you posted this :)

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Becky July 8, 2013

I used honey (where do you buy coconut syrup? My grocery store didn’t have it…) and it turned out great!!!
Love all your recipes, Angel!

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Angela (Oh She Glows) July 9, 2013

Hey Becky, I usually buy it from here http://www.upayanaturals.com/SearchResults.asp?Search=coconut+nectar&Search.x=0&Search.y=0 or from a local grocery store called Organic Garage. Hope this helps!

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Alexis @ Hummusapien April 17, 2013

I know exactly what you mean about turning to food to distract yourself…I feel like I’ve been cooking more than ever this week :/ These bars looks just fabulous. I’m going to pick up some buckwheat groats in the bulk isle so I can make these beauties ASAP!

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Anna {Herbivore Triathlete} April 17, 2013

I also find being in the kitchen to be therapeutic and allow me to try to process my feelings when tragic events like Boston happen. It’s been an emotional week for everyone I think, but inspiring as well to see the running community reach out in so many ways too.

These granola bars combine two of my favorite things; banana bread and granola. Definitely comfort food at its finest, thanks Angela.

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Katy @ Katy's Kitchen April 17, 2013

I really like the idea for banana bread in a protein bar. Comfort food and healthy to boot? Count me in. Do you think I could sub maple syrup or honey for the brown rice syrup?

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Kim @ Hungry Healthy Girl April 17, 2013

Banana bread in bar form…must try this!!

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Lillian @Seize the Latte April 17, 2013

These look and sound sublime — and they’re the perfect comfort food. I also go to the kitchen when faced with difficult, sad, or scary things; I find that nesting, especially cooking, helps me cope. In the weeks after 9/11, I could only watch Comedy Central and cook. I found myself doing similar things on Monday: I got home from work and went straight to the kitchen.

I also completely agree that love prevails. There have been tons of stories about peoples’ compassion, kindness, and caring in the wake of the bombing, and I’ve decided that *that* is what I want to focus on.

There’s an MLK quote that I used for my post-Boston blog post: “Darkness cannot drive out darkenss; only love can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” The best thing we can all do is to choose love. We can help people cope, help them heal once the time comes for that, and be good to each other. When people choose love and compassion, hate and violence — and the people who perpetrate them — don’t stand a chance.

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Holly @ EatGreatBEGreat April 17, 2013

This is such a great idea! They sound delicious and healthy too!

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Alex @ Delicious-Knowledge.com April 17, 2013

I completely agree, whenever I feel a bit lost I head to the kitchen to soothe and unwind. That’s probably why my fridge is now full of things I baked and cooked Monday and yesterday! These look wonderful and I know my honey will love the banana flavor bars! Thanks for posting, Alex

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Megan April 17, 2013

Hi Angela!!

I cannot wait to try these! I love anything I can make into a bar or a ball, anything bite size… so these will be a welcome addition to me grab-able snacks!! They look divine! Comforting, healthy, and delicious!

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Deb @ Dietitian Debbie Dishes April 17, 2013

There’s nothing like good food to draw people together, especially at a time like this when all are a little sensitive and disoriented by recent events. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and this delicious looking bar recipe. :-)

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Christa @ Edible Balance April 17, 2013

YUM! I love the use of oats AND buckwheat… I have big love for buckwheat :)

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Megan Lane April 17, 2013

oh my gosh, yum! i’m going to try these next week with oat flour since i already have it, will let you know how it turns out.

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Ruby April 17, 2013

Love you blog so much Angela!! Doyou think honey or would work instead of brown rice syrup? or Maple syrup?

Thanks!!

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kat April 17, 2013

Since I have no gluten issues can I just use regular rolled oats? AND, until I can get to Whole Foods….is there a (common) substitute for the groats?
Thanks.
Also….do you have a good recipe for granola trail bars that are soft, yet will hold together?
Thanks.

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ali janine @ this ninja eats broccoli April 17, 2013

I love you so much for saying that sometimes it’s okay to seek comfort in food. I think it’s been driven into us through so many mediums that we shouldn’t eat food if we’re sad/depressed/happy/etc and only eat food because it’s nourishing. In fact, just the other day I was browsing through Pinterest and I found what I believe was supposed to be motivation for losing weight and eating healthy that basically said, from this point forward you won’t eat any white bread, no sugar, no this, no that, food is only meant to sustain your body, it doesn’t matter what it tastes like…

And it made me so angry! Food is so much more that just what goes in and what comes out. Food is social, moral and ethical and can reflect cultural and religious values. Yeah, of course seeking comfort in food regularly can be negative, just like all things can have negative and positive aspects. Anyway, long comment, but it’s refreshing to hear you say it :)

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Kim April 17, 2013

Can’t wait to try this recipe! I have a question about brown rice syrup: is it lower on the glycemic index?

I am going to use buckwheat flour, since I have that and not groats. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

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Angela (Oh She Glows) April 17, 2013

Hi Kim, coconut nectar has a low GI (35-40), I believe one of the lowest of sweeteners. I’m not sure about BRS as I’ve read conflicting info about it online. Yes please do let me know how it turns out!

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Pam June 14, 2013

How did the buckwheat flour work?? I found it at the Fresh Market near me, and I was going to try it as well. I have a place in town that has the raw groats- but it is not convenient at all and I am really hoping the flour works!! I need to just make a trip and get a bunch of the groats one weekend, just so I can make all of the great recipes- made the Carrot cake porridge once and loved it!

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April November 20, 2013

I made these bars this afternoon. I used Bob’s Red Mill buckwheat flour. I think they came out well. A pinch darker as I expected and maybe a bit stronger in flavor? Overall I was pleased. Thanks for creating the recipes that you do. It’s hard to find gluten free recipes that are whole grain. I read so many recipes that start with something like “1/2 cup cornstarch”. I am gluten free (intolerant and Hashimotos) and I don’t want to replace everything with starch!

I plan on trying more of your recipes. Thanks again!

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