Updated: Feb 24
These yummy chocolate peanut butter flavored protein granola bars are jam-packed with superfoods such as chia seed, flax seed, and hemp hearts. They are made with vegan protein making them dairy free and vegan. They are also gluten free and low FODMAP.
One of the main ingredients of these bars is puffed amaranth. Amaranth is a grain that when heated will puff like popcorn. I puffed my own on the stove but you can also buy them already puffed.
You can also use puffed quinoa or puffed brown rice as a replacement. Note that both amaranth and quinoa are now considered high FODMAP, so brown rice may be your best option for low FODMAP.
Pop your amaranth one teaspoon at a time. It pops very fast and tends to make a mess. I recommend using a splatter screen if you have one to prevent them from popping out of the pan. A lid will not work because the heat needs to escape.
Measure out your wet and dry ingredients. Make sure to separate your coconut oil needed for the filling and for the chocolate topping.
Add all dry ingredients to a large bowl and mix well.
Next add all wet ingredients to a small saucepan (except coconut oil and chocolate for the topping) and melt on medium heat, mixing until smooth. You can also do this in the microwave to save on time, just warm in 30 second increments, stirring in between until smooth.
Add the wet to the dry and mix everything together, it will be sticky and should hold its shape.
Place wax or parchment paper in an 8x8 pan, then pack the bar mixture into the pan making sure it is flat and even on top.
Next melt the chocolate and coconut oil in the microwave in 30 second increments and stir until smooth.
Drizzle on your chocolate and smooth it into a nice even layer.
Place in the fridge to set for about 30-45 minutes, then take them out and cut into 8-12 bars.
Cover in saran wrap and store in the fridge for about a week or in the freezer for a couple months.
1 cup puffed amaranth (about 4 1/2 Tbsp unpuffed)*
1/2 cup gluten free old fashioned oats
1 scoop chocolate vegan protein (you can also use vanilla flavor and regular whey protein will work as well)**
1/4 cup hemp hearts
2 Tbsp ground chia seeds (you can use regular chia seeds, I just find it is a better consistency for chewing)
2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
1 tsp cocoa powder
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup runny peanut butter
1/2 cup natural maple syrup or honey
1 Tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup dark or semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 Tbsp coconut oil
Start by puffing your amaranth on the stove. You will want a saucepan that has tall sides and is light so that you can shake the amaranth as it pops. Turn the heat on medium-high heat let the pan get HOT. You will have to make sure the pan is fully heated before adding the amaranth, you can test to see if it is hot enough by adding a couple grains and see if they pop within a few seconds of adding them. If they just turn more golden or dark and don't pop, the pan isn't hot enough yet.
Once the pan is hot, add the amaranth only 1 tsp at a time. I like to cover my pan with a splatter screen to prevent them from popping everywhere, a lid will not work because the heat needs to be able to escape. Shake the pan as they begin to pop, the process will go fast and you do not want to keep it on the heat long, so take it off the heat as soon as the popping slows. Each batch will probably only take about 10 seconds to pop. Pour out the popped grains into a measuring cup and start another batch. Keep going until you have one cup.
Let the amaranth cool for 10-15 minutes.
Measure out the rest of your dry ingredients and add them to a large bowl, then add the amaranth and stir everything together.
In a small saucepan, add your wet ingredients and turn the stove to medium heat. Warm the wet ingredients and stir it occasionally so that it does not burn to the bottom. It will start to look clumpy, this is when you will want to turn off the heat, take it off the burner and keep stirring until it looks smooth. Let this cool for about 10-15 minutes. You can also do this step in the microwave, heating the ingredients in 30 second increments and stirring in between until it is smooth. Don't over heat it though, it should only take about three 30 second intervals. Let it cool.
Now add the wet to the dry and stir everything together. It will be sticky and should hold its shape.
Now lay some wax or parchment paper in the bottom of an 8x8 pan, then add the bar mixture and flatten it with a spatula. Make sure it is well packed and flat on top.
Now in a microwave safe bowl, add the chocolate and coconut oil and cook for 30 second increments, stirring in between until it is totally smooth and the oil is mixed in. Again, don't over heat it, should only take about 2-3 30 second intervals.
Pour the chocolate over the top then tip the pan to let it run and coat the top evenly or spread with a spatula.
Place the pan in the fridge for 30-45 minutes to set, then take it out and cut it into 8-12 bars.
I like to wrap each bar individually in saran wrap and store in the fridge for a week or in the freezer for a couple months.
*You can buy already puffed amaranth or puff your own. I found both on Amazon. You can also use puffed brown rice or puffed quinoa. Puffed amaranth has been tested as high FODMAP now, so use brown rice instead (often found in the cereal aisle).
**Make sure to do just one scoop of protein with the provided scoop in the protein. If a serving is two scoops, just use one otherwise the bars will be dry and crumbly (you can see in some of my photos I made this mistake when using a different protein).