Vegan Protein Bars (Gluten Free, Vegan)

  Jan 22, 2019  |  #Baked Goods

These Vegan Protein Bars are a wholesome, on-the-go option that provide a filling combination of protein and fiber and is a great allergy free option for those allergic to nuts, gluten or dairy. 

Vegan Protein Bars closeup with chocolate chips sprinkled around

These vegan protein bars are dedicated to my neighbor, who is vegan, nut-free and gluten-free. We got to talking one day and she was talking about how there aren’t many bars she can buy. I felt for her because I can only imagine how difficult it can be with restrictions. I told her I would try to come up with something. And I did.

Protein Bars Without Nuts

Protein bars without nuts can be tricky. I have a nut allergy (hazelnuts, pistachios and walnuts). So, I totally understand trying to find bars with other forms of protein. Fortunately, I can do peanuts and almonds, and any whey protein is fine by me. But, what about those looking for dairy free protein bars? That’s tough!

So, to make these nut free protein bars, I used sunflower seed butter. I go through phases where I’m all about peanut butter (is there anything better than peanut butter chocolate?). Other weeks it’s almond butter. And in recent weeks, it’s peanut butter. It’s just best if I have a variety at all times. These vegan protein bars really work with any nut butter you have.

nut free protein bars sprinked with sea salt

These chickpea bars are also a great option for those of us like a sweet treat or CHOCOLATE after dinner. The chocolate chips are optional, but really, who takes that to mean optional? You must add them. And you also must add sea salt. You see, the sea salt is essential in these chickpea bars because it brings out all the flavors.

Actually, I think these vegan protein bars can appeal to everyone. I may even throw the statement out there that these are the best vegan protein bars I have had.

Nut Free Protein Bars are Budget Friendly

This month’s Recipe Redux theme was to create a meal or snack that is budget friendly. Most of my recipes are budget-friendly, as 80% of them are vegetarian and based off grains. I did the math for these nut free protein bars according to ingredients at my local food market, and these chickpea bars came out to about $.75 per bar.

You can’t find any protein bars, let alone vegan protein bars, for this price. Plus, these bars have no processed ingredients, no artificial sweeteners, and are made with things you probably have at home. Plus, these dairy free protein bars don’t rely on protein powder! And this these vegan protein bars have no raw eggs, you can eat and enjoy the dough as you go. To me, it tastes just like vegan cookie dough.

I can say with certainty that I’m not sure there’s many things better than vegan cookie dough, that you can eat without any risk of foodborne illness. 

Not too bad for a little protein and fiber-rich snack with chocolate. See, protein bars without nuts can still be fun.

Stack of vegan protein bars, made with chickpeas

Tip: Using chickpeas helps make for cheap recipes! I must be on a chickpea kick recently, considering I’m loving these cheesy chickpea poppers, strawberry banana chickpea muffins and roasted chickpea pitas. And if you’re interested in learning about more sources of vegetarian protein, here are 11 sources with recipes!

Why You Should Make Vegan Protein Bars

  • No mixing bowls needed (just use your ninja or vitamix)!
  • Portable on-the-go snacks
  • Budget friendly (Less than $.75 per bar)
  • High in protein (9 grams per bar)
  • High in fiber
  • Warm and gooey center
  • Great before or after a workout

I’ve been playing around with different vegan protein bars for a while now. I wanted to find a way to throw a light crunch in there without nuts. Was it possible to make a nut free vegan protein bar? A common question I receive from clients is, are vegan protein bars healthy? Or, are they filled with processed ingredients?

So, I set out to make these. While nuts were out of the equation, I do love seeds and those aren’t a common allergen. In addition to crunch, they also provide fiber, flavor and protein! So, the idea for these protein bars without nuts were born.

You can, of course, substitute any form of nut butter for the sunflower butter if you don’t have an allergy, and add in any nuts. Dried fruit may also be a fun addition to try!

Bite eaten out of nut free vegan protein bars

Since these bars don’t use any type of flour, they are rather light and chewy. I wanted them to be this way. If you want a less chewy bar, these pumpkin hemp granola bars have a little more strength to them. And remember, the vegan cookie dough is great to eat raw too….if you don’t make it to the baking part. 

How to Make Nut Vegan Protein Bars

5 from 1 vote
Vegan Protein Bars
Prep Time
10 mins
Cook Time
30 mins
Total Time
40 mins

These Vegan Protein Bars are a wholesome, on-the-go option that provide a filling combination of protein and fiber.  Protein bars without nuts are a great allergy-free option for those allergic to nuts, gluten or dairy. 

Course: Dessert, Snack
Cuisine: Gluten Free, snack, vegan
Keyword: dairy free protein bars, nut free protein bar, protein bars without nuts, vegan protein bars
Servings: 9
Calories: 280 kcal
Author: Sarah Schlichter, MPH, RDN
  • 15 oz can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • ½ cup oats (use gluten-free if needed)
  • ½ cup sunflower seed butter
  • 1/3 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp baking soda
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1.5 tsp vanilla extract
  • ¼ cup maple syrup (or honey if not vegan)
  • 1/3 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • sea salt, for sprinkling (optional)
  1. Preheat oven to 350. 

  2. Rinse and drain chickpeas and place in ninja or food processor. Add in other ingredients and blend until smooth, adding sunflower seeds and chocolate chips in last.

  3. Spoon batter into 8x8 pan and spread evenly, sprinkling with sea salt.
  4. Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until lightly browned and set. Let cool for 10-15 minutes before eating. Bars will harden slightly upon cooling.
  5. Store cooled bars in refrigerator for up to a week.

I’ve been eating these by the snackful. Meaning, they offer a great morning and afternoon snack option. I totally think the crunch of the chocolate chips and sunflower seeds are my favorite part and what set these apart from other storebought bars. There’s not an overly strong sunflower flavor, but it is just enough. And, there’s no dairy in these for those who require dairy free protein bars.


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Vegan Protein Bars closeup with chocolate chips sprinkled around

You May Also Like These

I’m linking up with Annmarie from Fit Foodie Mama, Farrah from Fairyburger and Esther from Chocolate Runner Girl for Foodie Friday, and Deborah and Sarah for Meatless Monday!

Don’t forget to check out the other delicious recipes from other Reduxers!


Grab your FREE list of the most nutritious post-run foods to refuel your body and muscles. No spam here, promise.

30 responses to “Vegan Protein Bars (Gluten Free, Vegan)

  1. Chickpeas are my go to for smoothie bowls lately, posting a fav chocolate chip cookie dough one last week and we’ve made chickpea cookie dough a couple times in the last couple weeks so I bet these are delicious! I just made 3 batches of jumbo giant chocolate chip cookies, grain free and healthy over the last 4-5 days and going through withdrawals so I need to try these bars!
    Thank you for linking up with us for Meatless Monday!

  2. Baking with Chickpeas = totally a thing these days! I need to try it, although I know my stomach won’t be thrilled – but my taste buds will! 😉

  3. It looks like I need to go get some chickpeas! I’m hoping to make your pumpkin bars today. Bars are so good especially when I’m racing around or not able to sit down to eat a meal that takes time to put together.

  4. Oh Sarah I love these. I, too, have tried a number of blondie recipes – I lovvveeee using chickpeas in baking – but most of them have always felt a little lacking. I think your desire for some crunch is exactly what is needed. Love the idea of adding sunflower seeds.

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