Chocolate Chunk Protein Bars

Chocolate chunk protein bars. These easy and nutritious no-bake granola bars are packed with protein from sunflower seeds, sunflower seed butter and hemp hearts. They’re also gluten-free, vegan and sweetened with dates! No protein powder needed.

chocolate drizzled on protein bars

Are you looking for a quick and nutritious snack that’s packed with plant protein?

These bars are full of seeds, which give them a protein boost without using any protein powder. One small serving packs over 7g of protein and a good dose of healthy unsaturated fats. They’re also sweetened with dates and packed with fiber from the seeds, oats and of course, the dates.

The best part? They’re made in a food processor in under 15 minutes. Just dump all the ingredients in a food processor, mix and you’re done! You now have an easy, nutritious and delicious snack. Keep a batch in the freezer for quick snacks during the week. They also travel well, making them perfect for packed lunches or travel snacks.

sunflower seed butter, sunflower seeds, oats, hemp hearts, dates and chocolate in bowls
protein bar ingredients in a food processor
protein bar mixture in a food processor
How to Make Vegan Protein Bars

Add your favorite seeds in a food processor, along with dates, nut or seed butter and oats. In this recipe, we’re using sunflower seeds, hemp hearts and sunflower seed butter. Process the ingredients together until the mixture sticks together when pressed. You might need to add water to help it stick together. Stir in some chocolate chunks for a little extra sweetness.

Press the mixture at the bottom of a small dish. Cut it into bars and enjoy!

Can I Add Protein Powder?

Yes! You can try adding protein powder for more protein, but this is not necessary. Most people don’t need more protein than these bars already offer for a small snack. That being said, I haven’t tried it myself, so I can’t guarantee that the bars will taste as good.

My recommendations: Choose an unflavored protein powder that you enjoy and don’t add too much of it. A few tablespoons would be plenty. Start with 1-2 tablespoons, mix it all together and taste the mixture. If it tastes good, feel free to add more. You might need to reduce the oats by a few tablespoons or add more water to help the bars stick.

Notes on the Recipe
  • You can substitute the water with melted coconut oil or more sunflower seed butter. The goal is to make the bars stick.
  • Feel free to substitute the sunflower seeds for pumpkin seeds or nuts (if you don’t have a nut allergy of course!).
  • You can substitute the hemp hearts with ground flax seeds or chia seeds.
  • Don’t have sunflower seed butter? You can use any other nut or seed butter that you like. Just keep in mind that it will change the flavor of the bars, so make sure to use a nut or seed butter that you enjoy.
  • Want more crunch? Add chopped nuts or more sunflower seeds with the chocolate and stir it in the bars at the end.
More No-Bake Snacks to Try:
chocolate chunk protein bars on a plate

Chocolate Chunk Protein Bars

Chocolate chunk protein bars. These easy and nutritious no-bake granola bars are packed with protein from sunflower seeds and hemp hearts. They're also gluten-free, vegan and sweetened with dates!
Course Snack
Cuisine vegetarian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Servings 8

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup Medjool dates, pitted
  • 1/2 cup sunflower seeds
  • 1/4 cup hemp hearts
  • 1/4 cup sunflower seed butter, smooth
  • 3 tablespoons water (or melted coconut oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped

Instructions

  • Add the oats, dates, sunflower seeds, hemp hearts, sunflower seed butter and vanilla to a food processor. Process until combined. The mixture will be crumbly.
  • Add water (or coconut oil), one tablespoon at a time and process until the mixture sticks together when pressed. You might not need all 3 tablespoons if your dates are softer and stickier.
  • Chop your chocolate into small-medium chunks and add to the food processor. Pulse a few times to incorporate into the mixture.
  • Press the mixture at the bottom of a small dish. Keep covered in the fridge or freezer. They're great when eaten straight out of the freezer!

Notes

The bars will crumble a little if you try to cut them when warm. If you have the time, it’s best to chill the bars for at least one hour before cutting, but this is not necessary.
Make sure to use vegan chocolate to make this recipe completely vegan. You can chop a chocolate bar or use chocolate chips if preferred.
Feel free to substitute the sunflower seeds in this recipe with pumpkin seeds. If you don’t have a nut allergy, you can also use cashews, walnuts or other nuts of choice.
You can substitute the hemp hearts for ground flax seeds or chia seeds. However, hemp hearts will have a bit more protein.
I use original Sunbutter, which is a little sweet and adds a nice flavor. Unsweetened sunflower seed butter will have more of a bitter taste.
If you don’t have sunflower seed butter, you can use other nut and seed butters. Keep in mind that it will change the flavor of these bars, so make sure to use a nut or seed butter that you enjoy. 

If you make these chocolate chunk protein bars, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! I love to hear from you guys. And of course, if you try this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram!

6 Comments

  • Allison

    Hi Caroline! Really enjoying your blog 🙂
    I am wondering about dark chocolate versus unsweetened chocolate – doesn’t dark chocolate contain sugar? Or is there a higher percentage of cacao in unsweetened vs dark? I was also wondering about cacao nibs – would those be a suitable replacement? Thanks for your input!

    • Unsweetened Caroline

      Hi Allison! I’m happy you like the blog. 🙂
      Yes, dark chocolate does contain sugar, I simply add it as an option for those who are okay having a bit of sugar (Not everyone likes unsweetened chocolate). I would recommend a dark chocolate vs milk chocolate though, which has more sugar and a lower cacao percentage. I think cocoa nibs would be a great option for this recipe. I’ll have to try it myself next time. Thank you and hope this helps!
      Caroline

  • Theresa

    5 stars
    Made these and they were so good!! The dates made this just the perfect sweetness and the chocolate added a delicious flavor as well!! Will definitely be making these again!!

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WELCOME!

Nourished by Caroline

I’m Caroline, a registered dietitian located in Kelowna, British Columbia. I focus on plant-based nutrition and intuitive eating. I believe in living a balanced life, while eating the food you love. Learn more about my practice here or book an appointment today!

 

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