It seems like just two days ago I was pondering what I would do with the second half of my four-week winter break, yet here I am packing to head back to Madison tomorrow. I’m so ready and excited to go back, but I have to admit it’s nice to be home with no responsibilities. While I was grazing in the pantry between loads of laundry, I realized we had a plethora of random ingredients in the kitchen my family won’t eat while I’m at school, so I got to experimenting with my new food processor.
If you know me, you know I love all things breakfast food and I’m also a major snacker (my friend once bought me a shirt that says “Okay, but first, snacks”… and nothing has ever described me better). I decided to make some yummy breakfast/snack bars to bring back to school with me, since we don’t get served breakfast in the house and the snacks tend to be sugary granola bars or Poptarts. I could have made Trail Mix Balls again or found a recipe elsewhere, but I wanted to try something new. Since I’m always on the hunt for easy, on-the-go snacks and for new ways to combine the flavors of peanut butter and banana, I came up with these Peanut Butter Banana Protein Bars.
PEANUT BUTTER AND BANANA. Try to name a more iconic duo – I dare you. We had a super overripe banana sitting around that I knew would be thrown away if I didn’t use it ASAP, so that’s where I got the inspiration for this recipe. I used a base of oats, dates, banana, and peanut butter, then just sort of started adding things to the recipe until I got the right consistency. These bars are no bake, gluten free, vegan-friendly, and have NO added sugar (not even honey)! Plus, they’re full of protein and fiber, so they’re a healthy, quick, and filling breakfast on-the-go.
What you’ll need:
1 ½ cups oats
5 pitted medjool dates
½ cup peanut butter
1 overripe banana
1 scoop vanilla protein powder (or unflavored and add 1 tsp vanilla extract)
¼ cup flaxseed meal
Optional: coconut oil and semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips for drizzling over the top (vegan if desired)
- Put the oats & dates in a food processor/blender and process until the dates are finely chopped.
- Add the peanut butter & banana and blend again until the mixture is a very sticky consistency.
- Last, add the protein powder (I used a vanilla whey/soy blend we had, but haven’t tried these with other kinds) and flaxseed meal.
- Blend everything together until you have a thick dough, then transfer the mixture to an 8×8 baking pan and press down firmly so the bars are uniform thickness.
- Pop ‘em in the freezer for 30 minutes, cut into 10 bars, and drizzle with chocolate if you so please (would highly recommend)!
The result: an ooey-gooey protein bar with a similar consistency to cookie dough. You can taste the banana in them, but it’s definitely not overpowering. Plus, nothing beats that peanut butter + banana combo, and obviously, chocolate gives it a little extra oomph. Keep them in the fridge up to a week for the best results – this way they won’t dry out and the chocolate topping won’t melt. Enjoy and let me know what you think!