It’s fall, ya’ll. And like the suburban gal I am, I’m eager to start cooking pumpkin and squash everything.
People around here kind of flip out about fall — and for good reason. It’s delicious. It’s also a bunch of other things that are cool. Nature is transforming into a warm watercolor painting, the temperatures are cooling off to pleasant degrees and we are all reminded to practice gratitude.
But also — pumpkin.
I picked up a can of pureed pumpkin at Whole Foods the other day, not knowing what I would use it for but excited to bring it home with me.
I ended up creating these pumpkin protein bars that taste legit — like, no-way-these-are-good-for-me good. But they’re good for you. They're also vegan and gluten-free for those of you who are into those things.
Pumpkin Protein Bars (with Chocolate!)
Pumpkin Protein Bar Ingredients
1 can pureed pumpkin
1/2 c. peanut butter
1 1/2 c. almond milk
8 scoops protein powder (I used Sunwarrior Warrior Blend Vanilla)
1 c. coconut flour
6 packets of stevia (could use sugar)
4 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp pure maple syrup
"Chocolate" Frosting Ingredients
1 1/2 tbsp carob powder
4 tbsp coconut oil
Splash of almond milk
To make the protein bars, mix all pumpkin protein bar ingredients together using a stand mixer or hand mixer. If it needs more moisture, you can add more almond milk until you the right consistency. It should be thick but well combined, like cookie dough. Mmmm, cookies.
Next, dump the mixture into a casserole dish and flatten with the back of a spatula until it's about even. If you have a fancy pants rolling pin, you can use that to make it flatter than mine.
To make the "chocolate" frosting, mix carob powder with coconut oil. If your coconut oil is solid like mine, warm it up by mixing it well. I added a splash of almond milk just to help it mix a little better.
Pour the frosting over the protein bars and smooth evenly with a spatula into a thin layer. You don't need a lot — the cacao has a more bitter taste than traditional chocolate so a thin layer adds a lot of flavor.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours. Cut into 12 pretty large-sized bars. If you wanted to use these more as energy bars before a workout, you could cut them into smaller portions — 24 square bars. I went for the big guys.
Keep them in small plastic bags or wrapped in plastic wrap in the refrigerator until devoured.
P.S. If you like pumpkin, check out my favorite healthy pumpkin breakfast recipes.