These no bake pumpkin protein bars are vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free. They are lightly sweetened and packed with protein and energy making them the perfect pre or post-workout snack or even a great grab-and-go breakfast.
Why you need these protein pumpkin bars
As a Dietitian I take my snacks SERIOUSLY. When that hunger strikes I need a snack and I need it as soon as possible. Which is why I love having grab and go snacks on hand like these gluten free dairy free protein bars! They are the perfect, easy, no bake option for hen I'm in a time crunch.
Here are three reasons why I love these pumpkin energy bars (and you will too):
- They are the perfect balanced snack- With carbohydrates and fibre from the pumpkin and oats, some healthy fat from the peanut butter and high quality protein from the protein powder,these pumpkin protein bars are the perfect balanced snack to manage blood sugar spikes and ensure you stay full for a few hours!
- They taste like fall- These little bars not only are packed with nutritional benefits but they also taste exactly like your favourite pumpkin pie. Filled with warm spices like ginger, cinnamon and nutmeg these are about to be your new go-to fall snack.
- They are SO easy to make (and no-bake)- Have I mentioned my love of no-bake recipes yet? Who doesn't love a recipe that requires only one bowl, less than 8 ingredients and takes only 5 minutes to make? If you're looking for an easy high protein snack recipe you've found it.
Bonus: They are also gluten free dairy free protein bars for anyone with allergies, intolerances or lifestyle choices!
What Ingredients do I need for pumpkin energy bars ?
Pumpkin puree- Make sure you use pumpkin PUREE not pumpkin pie filling. Pumpkin pie filling comes with the spices and sugar already mixed into the can, whereas pumpkin puree is just pumpkin! I’ve made this mistake before (and currently have 2 cans of pumpkin pie filling in the cupboard)!
Peanut butter- The glue that holds these pumpkin protein bars together. I typically use natural peanut butter (look for one with the only ingredients being peanuts and salt). I just find I like how it tastes better! However any peanut butter or more neutral-tasting nut butter (ie. cashew, almond etc.) will work! I also love that it adds a source of healthy fats making these the perfect snack!
Coconut oil- This helps give the dough a little more moisture. I find it works perfectly to add moisture without adding flavour. If you don’t have coconut oil on hand you can substitute it for an extra two tablespoon of peanut butter.
Protein powder- This helps give these protein bars the protein aspect haha! I like using my favourite protein (I love the vanilla flavour in these!). If you don’t have protein powder on hand you can substitute this for additional oat flour or even collagen powder if you are not vegan!
Maple syrup- For some natural sweetness! I have only ever used maple syrup for these protein pumpkin bars. If you do try to substitute with honey or any other liquid sweeter let me know how it goes in the comments! You can also use sugar free maple syrup like this one!
Oat flour- I love using oat flour in these for some added whole grains and fibre to these gluten free protein bars! It really helps make them the perfect snack and gives that long lasting energy I look for in a energy bar. To make my oat flour I just blend an equal amount of oats in a high powered blender or food processor. Note: if you are gluten free make sure your oats are certified gluten free!
Pumpkin pie spice- For convenience I used a pumpkin pie spice blend for these protein pumpkin bars. If you do not have a pre-mixed spice blend on hand you can make your own super easily by just combining ground cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, allspice, and cloves (this recipe is great) and setting it aside for the whole season!
Chocolate- totally optional (but HIGHLY recommended because chocolate makes everything better in my opinion). To keep these plant-based try these dairy-free chocolate chips! White chocolate chips would also be amazing in these pumpkin protein bars.
How to make gluten free protein bars
Now it's time for the EASY part! Once you've gathered your ingredients:
Grab a large mixing bowl, combine your pumpkin puree, peanut butter, maple syrup, protein powder, pumpkin pie spice, oat flour and coconut oil. Mix until fully combined ( you may need to get your hands dirty to ensure all the powder is completely worked into the dough.
Once your dough is ready, feel free to mix in any additional mix-ins you would like! My personal favourites include chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, chopped pecans or even butterscotch chips.
Line a 8x8 square baing pan with parchment paper (I would highly suggest not skipping this step as it helps for easy removal and clean up). Press your protein bar dough into the pan. Note: the harder you pack down your dough the more likely the bars will be to stick together!
Optional: Drizzle or pour melted chocolate over your protein bars. Another option is to lightly sprinkle with some cinnamon and sugar!
Place your loaf pan in the freezer and allow the chocolate to harden or the dough to set. After a few hours, remove the loaf pan, slice your pumpkin protein bars into 12 bars and enjoy!
Frequently asked questions
Can I use almond flour instead of oat flour?
I have not personally tested this recipe with any flour other than oat flour. However almond flour should work you may just need to slightly adjust the liquid measurements to accommodate for the highly absorbent almond flour
Do I have to use oat flour or can I just use oats?
I personally recommend sticking with oat flour. If you don't have any oat flour on hand you can easily make your own by just blending oats in the blender until smooth. I THINK using unblended oats would work, I just am unsure how well they will stick together! If you decide to try let me know how it turned out in the comments!
HELP! My protein bars are too dry what do I do?
This may happen if you are using nut butter that isn't runny enough! Just add in a little additional coconut oil or a few tablespoons of water and you should be good to go!
Do I need to use protein powder?
Nope! You definitely don't need to. Although I like adding protein powder to my pumpkin energy bars for some added protein, you can leave it out by just adding an equal amount of additional oat flour and a bit more maple syrup for added sweetness! Another alternative is using collagen powder if you are not vegan!
How can I store these gluten free protein bars?
I personally like to store my protein bars in the freezer! The coconut oil and peanut butter ensure the bars don't turn rock solid so they are still easy to eat straight out of the freezer! They also store well in an sir tight container in the fridge for up to 7 days.
More high protein snack ideas
If you loved these protein pumpkin bars you NEED to try more of my high protein snack ideas. Some of my favourites include:
- no bake protein bars
- herb and garlic cottage cheese dip
- cheesecake dip
- black bean brownie bites
- oatmeal cookie energy balls
- confetti cake energy balls
PS. I love seeing my recipes in action! I you decide to make these pumpkin protein bars don't forget to tag me on Instagram - @nourishedbynic or leave a comment below!
Pumpkin Protein Bars
- ½ cup pumpkin puree
- ½ cup peanut butter
- 4 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1.5 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
- ¾ cup vanilla protein powder
- 1 cup oat flour
- 2 tablespoon coconut oil melted and cooled
- ½ cup chocolate chips
- 1 teaspoon coconut oil
- In a large bowl, combine all ingredients (you may need to use hands to ensure all ingredients are mixed!)
- Once combined, press protein dough mixture into a parchment paper lined 8x8 square baking pan.
- If using chocolate coating- melt your chocolate chips with coconut oil in a double boiler over low heat, OR place in a microwave safe bowl and melt in increments of 30 seconds, stirring between.
- Drizzle or spread chocolate over the dough. Freeze until the chocolate hardens or the dough sets (about 2 hours). Cut into 10 equal sized bars and store in the freezer.