Healthy Chocolate Orange Almond Butter Protein Bars are the perfect high-protein hiking snack, healthy roadtrip snack, and post work-out treat. This plant-based protein bar recipe has healthy fats and fiber that’ll give you long-lasting energy and even help reduce inflammation and boost weight loss. Chocolate Orange Almond Butter Protein Bars are gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free, and optionally vegan!
This summer, Zack and I have been back to nomad life, hopping from beautiful Tofino and Victoria British Columbia to Steamboat Springs Colorado to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and driving everywhere. While I did learn how to overcome my fear of flying on this Healthier Together Podcast episode, there’s something so freeing about long road trips that Zack and I love! If you want to follow along on our journey to see where we’re exploring and what we’re eating each day, come hang on Insta!
Summer road trips are the BEST– but I’ve never felt so called to mainlining KitKat bars and driving through all the fast food spots that we pass on the way. So, I made these Chocolate Orange Almond Butter Protein Bars to have a shareable, healthy snack for roadtrips that feel like a treat but is super nutritious and keeps us full on the drive.
I describe these homemade almond butter protein bars like if those chocolate orange balls that we used to crack open at Christmas was in protein bar form, and it had a baby with moist, fluffy cake. Oh, yeah. If you’ve tried my Make-Ahead Monster Cookie Breakfast Bars, you know that healthy dessert for breakfast is always the vibe around here. I can’t wait for you to try them!
Everything you’ll need to make homemade almond butter protein bars
These easy chocolate orange almond butter protein bars are made with plenty of pantry staples that you can find at most grocery stores, and what’s that?? You actually don’t need protein powder for this recipe! It gets a boost of plant-based protein from hulled hemp hearts, which are a COMPLETE protein and full of healthy fats. Here’s everything you’ll need to make them:
Maple syrup: this refined sugar free sweetener has 20+ antioxidants which is proven to lower inflammation and prevent diseases like cancer, cardiovascular, and diabetes.
An egg: use a pasture-raised egg for maximum health benefits. If you’re vegan, substitute for one flax egg.
Vanilla extract: I love using high quality vanilla because it’s a powerful antioxidant that’s shown to have mind-boosting and anti-inflammatory benefits. Plus, it gives these protein bars that baked goods flavor.
Orange zest: I’ve always loved the combination of orange and chocolate together. And in these homemade protein bars, it adds the perfect zing of citrus.
Ground cardamom: I adore the sweet and savory flavor of this antioxidant-rich spice. It’s proven to help aid health concerns from the digestive system to bad breath.
Hulled hemp hearts: adds a lovely nutty flavor and is a complete protein, which means it contains all 9 types of amino acids that you need to get from food. Hemp is also shown in research to alleviate arthritis and joint pain!
Walnuts: get a boost of heart healthy fats and Omega-3’s from this superfood nut that’s been studied for it’s depression-fighting properties.
Dark chocolate: bits of dark chocolate add the perfect dessert flavor to these homemade protein bars. Opt for refined sugar free chocolate chips or a dark chocolate bar to chop up! Feel free to use dairy free chocolate, if desired.
Baking essentials: fine grain sea salt and baking powder will give these protein bars the perfect consistency.
Protein bars in 3 easy steps
- Prep your tools. Preheat the oven to 325F and line an 8×8″ pan with parchment paper.
- Mix the wet ingredients, stir in the dry. In a large bowl, mix the almond butter, maple syrup, egg, vanilla, and orange zest. Then stir in the almond flour, salt, baking powder and cardamom until smooth. Add in all of the hemp hearts and most of the walnuts and chocolate, but leave some out to press on top. Plop the batter (it’ll be thick!) into the pan, and press it flat until it’s even and spreads to the edges.
- Top with chocolate and walnuts, then bake. Press the remaining chocolate and walnuts on top and bake for 25 minutes or until the edges are brown. Let it cool in the pan before cutting into squares. Enjoy!
Storing & freezing tips
You can make these homemade protein bars ahead of time for on-the-go healthy snacks. Here are the best ways to store them:
- Unrefrigerated in a tightly sealed container for up to 48 hours
- In the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for up to 5 days
- In the freezer in a tightly sealed container (and already cut into squares!) for up to 6 months
If you like this homemade protein bar recipe, try these next:Print
- 1/2 cup unsalted creamy almond butter
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 pasture-raised egg (can sub a flax egg)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- zest of one orange
- 1 cup almond flour
- 1/4 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/2 cup hulled hemp hearts
- 2/3 cup chopped walnuts
- 2/3 chocolate chips or chopped dark chocolate
- Preheat the oven to 325F and line an 8×8″ pan with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, stir together the almond butter, maple syrup, egg, vanilla, orange zest, almond flour, salt, baking powder and cardamom until smooth. Then, stir in all of the hemp hearts and most of the walnuts and chocolate, leaving some out to press on top.
- Plop the batter (it’ll be thick!) into the pan and press down until it’s even and spreads to the edges. Press the remaining chocolate and walnuts on top.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until the edges begin to brown, then let it cool in the pan before cutting it into squares.