Secretly healthy desserts are the very best desserts.
I love when dessert tastes decadent and amazing but is actually full of good-for-you, wholesome ingredients. This is one of those desserts. These cookie bars are moist, sweet, chocolatey and all-around satisfying but happen to be loaded with plant-based protein from chickpeas, almond butter and almond flour. And you would never know. I obviously would not give you a dessert recipe that tastes like chickpeas so rest assured the chickpeas are fully masked by the other ingredients and you will not detect them in the final result.
The recipe is sweetened with maple syrup and dark chocolate mini chips. It also contains whole grains from the oat flour. You can use certified gluten-free oats to make these gluten-free.
One of the things I love most about this recipe is how easy it is to prepare it. You put everything in the food processor and let it do the work for you. Then transfer the batter directly to a baking dish without dirtying a bowl. It makes clean-up super quick.
This recipe is vegan, soy-free, gluten-free, refined sugar-free and peanut-free. You can make it nut-free by using more oat flour in place of the almond flour and sunflower seed butter in place of the almond butter.
If you give this recipe a try, please let me know! Leave a comment below, rate it above, and tag a photo @eatingbyelaine and #eatingbyelaine on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook so I can see your creations.
Protein-Packed Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars (Vegan and Gluten-Free)
- Total Time: 30 mins
- Yield: 9-12 bars 1x
These nutritious dessert bars are easy to make and never last long. They are loaded with plant-based protein and contain whole grains. They hold together incredibly well even though they are egg-free. Each bite is incredibly moist and satisfying.
- ½ cup oats (use certified gluten-free oats if desired)
- ½ cup almond flour*
- 1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
- ½ cup raw, creamy almond butter (or unsweetened, unsalted sunflower seed butter if nut-free)
- ⅓ cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- ⅓ cup vegan mini chocolate chips plus 2 tablespoons for topping
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease an 8x8 inch pan with avocado oil or any vegetable oil.
- Place oats in food processor and blend for one minute until a fine flour forms.
- Add almond flour, chickpeas, almond butter, maple syrup, vanilla extract, salt and baking powder and blend for 30 seconds. Use a mini spatula to scrape down the edges and blend again for another 30 seconds.
- Place the batter in your prepared baking pan and mix in ⅓ cup chocolate chips. Spread out to an even layer and top with 2 additional tablespoons of chocolate chips for presentation.
- Bake for 25 minutes.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool and set in the pan for 20-30 minutes before slicing. Slice into 9 large (or 12 small) squares. Enjoy immediately or store in an airtight container in your refrigerator for up to 5 days. You can serve chilled or warm.
* For best results, I use super fine almond flour from blanched almonds. For a nut-free version you can replace with additional oat flour.
- Prep Time: 5 mins
- Cook Time: 25 mins
- Category: Dessert
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