Chocolate Chip Zucchini Protein Bars

A healthy kid-friendly snack that is high in protein and doesn’t use any weird protein powders! Instead these are packed with fruits, veggies and all sorts of nutritious ingredients!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Protein Bars -- kid-friendly, allergy-friendly and absolutely delicious! No protein powders included - just naturally good protein!

When it comes to choosing a healthy snack for your kiddos, I’m guessing that something with chocolate chips wouldn’t be the first thing you reach for. But today, let me sway your mind with these zucchini chocolate chip protein bars.

Not only do they taste like dessert (so you know your kids will love them), but these snack bars are actually an energizing, protein-packed, fiber-rich treat. And we’ve been able to sneak in fresh fruit AND veggies inside!

They’re also allergy-friendly which is a huge bonus — no gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts or soy!

Flaxseed meal + water is the perfect replacement for eggs in vegan baking!

To start the recipe, we’re going to make a flax egg. You may have seen this in other vegan baking recipes, but when you combine flaxseed meal and water together, it forms into a gel and you can use it to replace eggs in a recipe. While it doesn’t work 100% of the time, I’ve used flax eggs successfully in everything from pancakes, to cookies and now these protein bars.

As the flax and water is sitting, you can begin to prepare the base of these bars.

Remember when I said these were protein bars? Well we’re not using any protein powder! Instead, here’s the secret ingredient: CHICKPEAS! (scroll down to see the other high protein add-in)

Chickpea Protein Bars with banana, zucchini + chocolate chips [vegan + gluten-free] Chickpea Protein Bars with banana, zucchini + chocolate chips [vegan + gluten-free]

I know it sounds crazy, but think of it almost like black bean brownies. You can’t taste the beans at all and they end up helping to make the bars super moist and also high in protein and fiber!

To get the “liquid” ingredients for this recipe, you’ll simply blend up the chickpeas with 1 cup of mashed banana until it’s completely smooth. Then you’ll transfer it to a bowl and add in your flax egg as well as the dry ingredients which is:

  • Quinoa flour: high in protein + fiber
  • Coconut sugar: low glycemic so it won’t spike blood sugar
  • Cinnamon: blood sugar stabilizing
  • and some baking soda, sea salt and vanilla

Then just mix it all together until a smooth dough forms and it’s time to stir in your add ins!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Protein Bars -- kid-friendly, allergy-friendly and absolutely delicious!

Here’s where we add the veggies (in the form of shredded zucchini).  We also added hemp hearts because they are so high in protein and are a great natural source of it for kids!

And of course, to make these bars super kid-friendly, I chose to stir in some chocolate chips. Not totally necessary but definitely delicious!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Protein Bars -- kid-friendly, allergy-friendly and absolutely delicious!

Then just bake them up in an 8×8 pan and you’re done! See how easy that was? You (and your kids) are going to love these!

Here are just a few of my favorite things about these bars:

  • the ingredient list is short and sweet
  • they’re in expensive to make (cheaper than store bought!)
  • they’re a great way to use up summer produce
  • they’re high in protein, fiber and complex carbohydrates so they’ll energize + keep you full
  • they’re sweet, but healthy enough for breakfast!
  • they’re portable and great to toss into lunch boxes, eat after school or even post-baseball game!
Zucchini Chocolate Chip Protein Bars -- kid-friendly, allergy-friendly and absolutely delicious! No protein powders included - just naturally good protein! Zucchini Chocolate Chip Protein Bars -- kid-friendly, allergy-friendly and absolutely delicious! No protein powders included - just naturally good protein! Chocolate Chip Zucchini Protein Bars

Alyssa is the blogger and cook behind Simply Quinoa, a gluten-free website dedicated to healthy food, always with a little quinoa twist.


Chocolate Chip Zucchini Protein Bars

Chocolate Chip Zucchini Protein Bars
Serves: 12-16
Prep Time: 25 m
Cook Time: 24 m


  • 1 1/2 tablespoon – flaxseed, ground
  • 3 tablespoon – water
  • 1 cup – chickpeas (garbanzo beans), canned
  • 2 medium – banana
  • 3/4 cup – quinoa flour
  • 1/2 cup – coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon – cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon – vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon – baking soda
  • 1/8 teaspoon – salt
  • 1/4 cup – hemp seeds
  • 1 medium – zucchini
  • 1/4 cup – chocolate chips, dark


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas and add 1 cup to a food processor along with 1 cup of mashed bananas, until completely smooth.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, reserving the hemp hearts, zucchini and chocolate chips. Pour the chickpea puree into the bowl along with the flax egg and mix to combine.
  5. Fold in the hemp hearts, grated zucchini and chocolate chips.
  6. Dump the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the center rack for 24-26 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pan for 10 - 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing (this is important!).
  8. Slice into 12 - 16 bars. Store on the counter for a few hours if they seem too moist, otherwise put them in an airtight container and store them for 2 - 3 days.

Nutrition Facts

  • Nutrition per serving % daily value
  • Calories: 157 8%
  • Fat: 4 g 6%
  • Carb: 25 g 8%
  • Fiber: 2 g 8%
  • Protein: 4 g 8%
  • Sugar: 13 g
written by
Alyssa Rimmer

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Jaime says:

The instructions were not clear with ingredients. The bars needed at least 10 or more minutes in the oven and were very gooey.

H says:

How do we keep these from getting mushy? Add another half cup of the quinoa flour???

Andrea says:

Hi, I was dying to try these. I tried them using almond flour instead of quinoa flour. They smelled fabulous and I tried a tiny bit and they tasted ok but completely mushy. I don’t know what I did wrong. I left them out all night and actually tried putting them back in the oven the next day for over an hour. They were a little better but still too mushy. Any suggestions about what I could have done wrong or could do differently?

Cara says:

After reading the comments I still wanted to try these but decided to make them in my mini muffin pan. I put the first batch in for 20 minutes and they poped right out of the pan to cool on a rack easily. Still very moist inside but definitely edible. Made just shy of 40 muffins. I used mini milk chocolate chips to make them a tad sweeter for my kids. They taste great!

Kornelia says:

The picture is a chocolate tower??

Keri says:

I made these today and had to bake them for over an hour. They never set up. They are very mushy and soggy.

Anna says:

These only contain 3-4 grams of protein per bar if you are using 12-16 servings like the recipe says. Hardly “protein bars”.

D says:

Agree with the above comments, taste seems ok, but very mushy texture makes them inedible 🙁

Followed the recipe exactly, and even tried doubling the baking time, but still no good. Disappointed that I wasted time and ingredients on a bad recipe.

Julie says:

I agree with above comments. Wish I had read them first- they turned out very mushy and my kids won’t eat them. Disappointed with the results. I also cooked them longer than said time.

Jackie says:

HI Julie, I am chatting with Alyssa to get more info for this recipe. Please check back here soon for an updated recipe! 🙂

Jackie says:

Be sure you are using canned chickpeas.

Kathi says:

In the instructions it says to add egg mixture, but in ingredients I don’t see an egg, is this the problem with this mushy recipe?? Need to add 1 egg or more??

Elizabeth says:

I agree with the comments above- followed recipe exactly and they are complete mush. Inedible. Very disappointing as the taste otherwise is great. There has to be something the recipe left out…Squeezing out the water from the zucchini, maybe?

Lucy says:

I agree with the last two commenters. The bars smell and taste great but the texture is very mushy – not a bread or cake-like consistency. They do not look the same as they do in the picture that was posted, and they took much longer to cook than the recipe suggested. I’m wondering if there is anything that can be done to firm them up in the future as I would really love to give the recipe another try.

Aldia says:

These look interesting, but if you’re calling them Protein Bars, you should really supply the nutrition information for that nutrient. If you saw something in the store labelled ‘Protein Bars,’ the grams of protein is one of the first things you’d look for. No different here.

Hayley says:

I was intrigued by this recipe and while the flavour is good, I found the consistency quite mushy. It’s not stopping me from eating them though! I am not sure how to remedy this in the future?

Kris says:

Followed the recipe exactly. They smell great. Taste is okay.. As indicated by Haley, they came out very mushy. The middle reminded me of the consistency of Pumpkin Pie. I ended up baking for about an hour. then took it out of the pan with the parchment paper and flipped it upside down in a 9 X 13 and then baked it another hour. Then let it cool completely, as suggested. It is still mushy. My grand-kids would never eat these, no matter the taste, with this consistency. They definitely will not keep their shape as bars. Can’t help but wonder if using a regular egg would fix the problem. Suggestions??

Meghan says:

Is it quinoa flour or all purpose gluten free? Also what could I sub for hemp hearts?

Rachel says:

What are the macros for these please?

Hi Rachel- You can enter ingredients in a database like and it will be calculated for you.

Megan says:

Can you substitute the chic peas I am allergic to legumes

Tanya Anguita says:

We just made these and they smell awesome. Is there Nutrition Info somewhere for these?

Britt says:

We made these and they are so delicious! We used a regular egg instead of a flax egg but other than that followed the recipe! I really loved them!

Karen says:

Question….if allergies are not an issue you could you substitute a regular egg and whole wheat flour?

Sono says:

If I want to use egg instead of flax what is the amount I need

Sara says:

Is there another option for the banana? I am allergic. So many healthy recipes call for banana it is very frustrating trying to find other options to substitute.

Mandi says:

I always use unsweetened applesauce in place of bananas, 1/4C per banana. I haven’t tried it with this recipe but it has worked in many others.

Kathy says:

Often times applesauce or whole fat Greek yogurt can be substituted. Even avocado can be a good substitute. However, with the yogurt and avocado, you’d probably want to add a bit more sweetener as those two are not naturally sweet like applesauce or bananas.

Katie says:

These look amazing! I love the ingredients– low sugar and lots of protein. These would also be great at the office for an afternoon snack.

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