Banana Nut Protein Bars
- Banana Nut Protein Bars
- makes 6 large or 12 small bars
- I usually make a double batch
- 15 dates, pitted and soaked
- 1 large banana, ripe
- 1 cup peanut, almond, or other nut butter
- 1 scoop protein powder (unflavored, vanilla, or chocolate)
- 1/4 cup shelled hemp seeds
- 1/4 cup chia seeds
- 2 1/4 cups gluten-free rolled oats
- Optional add-ins:
- 1 tsp. cinnamon, or
- 1-2 tsp. cocoa powder (if you aren’t using chocolate protein powder)
- Pinch of salt
- Soak dates in enough water to cover for 1-2 hours before using (this will help them blend easier).
- Drain the dates thoroughly, and add them to the bowl of your food processor. Add the banana, and pulse to a smooth paste, scraping down the sides as needed.
- Add the nut butter, protein powder, hemp seeds, chia seeds, and any add-ins you like. Pulse to combine – the mixture will become very thick and may slow down your food processor.
- Remove the mixture to a large bowl, and add in the oats. Using a flexible rubber spatula, fold the oats into the nut butter paste. You’ll think there’s no way for so many oats to incorporate in, but just keep folding it and soon enough it will come together.
- Line one 8x8inch square baking pan with parchment paper, and scoop the mixture into it. Spread it as evenly as you can with the back of a spatula, then fold the edges of the parchment over the top (or cover with an additional sheet of parchment). Press down along the top to smooth out any remaining bumps, and place in the freezer for 2-3 hours, or overnight, or until thoroughly frozen.
- Remove from freezer, unwrap, and slice into bars. I like to make 6 large, meal-sized bars, but feel free to cut them smaller. Once cut, seal bars in a zip-top freezer bag and store in the freezer indefinitely. You may want to separate bars with parchment to keep them from sticking.
- When you want to feel perfectly full, incredibly satisfied, and thoroughly satiated – remove one bar from the freezer, and enjoy. Fresh from the freezer they are firm, but chewy. If left out to thaw, they become quite soft and sticky. If you wanted to prevent this, it may be possible to dip the bars in chocolate to create a shell on the outside… but I’ve never tried.