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!
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!
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)
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!
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!
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!
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
- 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
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment and set aside.
- Whisk together the flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
- Meanwhile, drain the chickpeas and add 1 cup to a food processor along with 1 cup of mashed bananas, until completely smooth.
- 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.
- Fold in the hemp hearts, grated zucchini and chocolate chips.
- 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.
- Let cool in the pan for 10 – 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before slicing (this is important!).
- 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.