These chickpea cookie dough protein bars come together with just six simple ingredients and no refined sugar for a budget-friendly homemade protein bar you can feel good about. Bursting with sweet chocolate chips in every bite, they’re soft, chewy, and easy to make! Gluten and nut free, too.
If you like to have protein bars on hand for easy breakfasts and quick snacks but don’t love the prices or ingredient lists of store-bought options, these homemade protein bars are just the thing for you! Free from refined sugars and additives, they’re high in protein and loaded with fiber to keep you full. Even better, they come together in minutes and require no baking. That means they’re ready in less time than it takes to run to the store!
Plus, who can resist the sweet taste and chewy texture of the cookie dough flavor? Not me, that’s for sure! I recommend keeping a big batch of these cookie dough protein bars on hand. With all that goodness, they tend to disappear fast.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
- Naturally gluten-free, nut-free, and vegan-friendly
- Uses just 6 pantry staple ingredients
- Requires no baking
- One batch makes 10 bars to feed the whole family
Ingredients & Notes
- Chickpeas - Also known as garbanzo beans, these form the base of the bars, creating a soft texture and adding lots of fiber and plant-based protein.
- SunButter - SunButter's creamy sunflower butter is perfect in this chickpea protein bar recipe. It provides a creamy texture and adds hints of "nutty" flavor without the nuts. This combined with the vanilla is what holds the bars together and gives them a delicious cookie dough taste.
- Maple syrup - This is how we sweeten these homemade protein bars without the need for refined sugar. Substitute honey, if desired.
- Protein powder - I recommend using a vanilla protein powder so as not to overpower the rest of the ingredients. However, unflavored protein powder or collagen works great, too.
- Vanilla extract - Use a high-quality pure vanilla extract to add a touch of natural flavor and enhance the cookie dough taste.
- Mini chocolate chips - I prefer to use mini chocolate chips over full-sized varieties so you get little pockets of chocolatey goodness in every bite. This Enjoy Life brand is my go-to. However, any chocolate chips or chunks will work in this recipe.
Are chickpeas good for protein?
Chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans) are a great source of plant protein. A single cup contains over 14g of protein! Chickpeas are also an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and contain a good amount of fiber.
Is it cheaper to make your own protein bars?
It’s generally much more cost-effective to make protein bars at home instead of buying them at the store. Nowadays, good protein bars can cost $4 each! Meanwhile, these homemade chickpea protein bars come out to under $1 per bar which is huge cost savings in the grand scheme of things.
With no baking required, these homemade protein bars come together in minutes! All you’ll need is a food processor or high-speed blender, a square baking pan, and parchment paper.
Step 1: Blend the chickpeas. Add the whole can of chickpeas to a food processor or blender, and pulse until they’re finely ground.
Step 2: Add the remaining ingredients. Add the SunButter, maple syrup, protein powder, and vanilla to the food processor with the chickpeas, and pulse again until well-mixed. Stop and scrape down the sides as needed.
Once smooth, add the chocolate chips, and pulse just a few more times to distribute them in the chickpea protein bar batter.
Step 3: Form the homemade protein bars. Using your hands, gently press the mixture into a square baking pan lined with parchment paper.
Place the pan in the fridge for at least two hours or until the mixture is firm.
Step 4: Slice, and serve. Use a sharp knife to slice the batter into 10 equal-sized bars, and enjoy!
- Add chopped nuts to the mixture with the chocolate chips for more crunch.
- Sprinkle some seeds on top of the bars before they’re set.
- Add a tablespoon of cocoa powder for a “brownie batter” taste.
- Melt some chocolate, and pour it over top of the cookie dough protein bars for a chocolate-coated look.
- Swap the chocolate chips with sprinkles for a “birthday cake” flavor twist.
- Make sure to drain and rinse the chickpeas before making your homemade protein bars. To do so, run water over them in a colander until there are no bubbles or residue on the chickpeas. This removes any strong brothy flavor.
- Use vanilla-flavored protein powder. This is what gives the bars a rich vanilla flavor. If using an unflavored powder, add another tablespoon of vanilla to the mix.
- Blend the ingredients really well until thick. If the mixture is too runny, add a tablespoon of flour (I’ve tried both oat flour and regular flour) to help thicken it up.
- Only pulse the mixture 2 - 4 times once the chocolate chips are in. You just want to distribute the chocolate, not blend it up.
- Parchment paper is your friend. Make sure to line your pan with it to make the removal process easier.
- To ensure the protein bars are flat and even, place a sheet of parchment paper on top of the bars and run your hand over it to flatten out the mixture underneath.
How to Store
Go ahead and cut your homemade protein bars into 10 rectangles. Use a sharp knife to make clean cuts. Place the bars in an airtight container, stack them on top of each other if needed, and store them in the fridge for up to a week.
Frequently Asked Questions
No, if you use vanilla-flavored protein powder and a little vanilla extract these cookie dough protein bars don't taste like chickpeas.
Depending on the type of protein powder you use, you can get over 10g of protein in each bar!
If you use a vegan protein powder (this pea protein is great), these bars are entirely vegan.
for more homemade snack bars, check out my:
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Chickpea Cookie Dough Protein Bars
- Add the chickpeas to a food processor or high-speed blender, and blend well until finally ground.
- Add the SunButter, maple syrup, protein powder, and vanilla extract to the food processor and blend again until well mixed. You may need to stop the blender and scrape down the sides a time or two. Mix until a large ball forms.
- Add the mini chocolate chips to the food processor and pulse a few times to distribute. Don’t over mix we will pulverize the chocolate.
- Press the mixture into a square pan lined with parchment paper with your hands until flat. I like to place a piece of parchment paper over top to smooth it out. Refrigerate for at least two hours until firm.
- When ready to enjoy, slice into 10 bars with a sharp knife and enjoy! Store the bars in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week.