Recipe: Gluten Free Protein Bars

Gluten Free Protein Bars

When I was told that my food sensitivities had returned with a vengeance, I was a bit perturbed.

When I was told that in addition to the usual suspects of dairy, nightshades, alcohol, cinnamon and MSG, that I would have to avoid gluten, fruit, and all refined sugars and artificial sweeteners…I almost passed out.

Mixture for Gluten Free Protein Bars

And then I realized that I give this kind of news to people every week, and somehow manage to find suitable meals to suggest for their weekly menus.

Now it was my turn to get creative.

And creative I got, with these gluten-free protein bars.

Chocolate glaze for Gluten Free Protein Bars

I even used coconut oil for the first time (for the chocolate topping)! Much to the surprise of the entire Twitterverse, Instagram community, and healthy food world.

Such is life.

Gluten Free Protein Bars

They are reminiscent of Cliff Bars, though a bazillion times better. And without all that added sugar.

They make my food intolerant self happy.

They also make my health coaching self happy, with all of those good grains and fats.

Now go make yourself happy and whip up a batch of these today.

Gluten Free Protein Bars

5.0 from 1 reviews
Gluten Free Protein Bars
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12
For the bars:
  • 1 cup quinoa, uncooked
  • 2 cups rolled oats*
  • ¼ cup sunflower seeds
  • ¾ cup maple syrup
  • ¾ cup sunflower seed butter (or peanut/almond butter)
  • ½ cup ground flaxmeal
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp salt
For the chocolate topping:
  • 3 tbs coconut oil
  • ¼ cup cocoa powder
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tbs agave nectar
  1. Placed uncooked quinoa and rolled oats in food processor and blend until they form a flour. About 5-6 minutes.
  2. Add sunflower seeds and blend for another 1-2 minutes.
  3. Transfer to a large bowl and add maple syrup, sunflower seed butter, flaxmeal, nutmeg, and salt.
  4. Mix with a wooden spoon until all ingredients are incorporated evenly.
  5. Press into a square baking dish lined with parchment or wax paper, making sure it's even.
  6. Set aside.
  7. In a skillet over medium heat, melt coconut oil.
  8. Stir in cocoa powder, vanilla extract and agave nectar.
  9. Remove from heat and pour over bars to form a thin layer of chocolate.
  10. Transfer to refrigerator and chill for at least 1 hour, or until chocolate layer hardens.
  11. Remove from pan and cut into bars (or squares, whatever you fancy).
  12. Store bars in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks, in the freezer for a few months.
Allergen Information:
Nightshade Free, Dairy Free, Wheat Free*, Gluten Free*, Soy Free, Corn Free, and Egg Free. *If you are avoiding wheat or gluten, make sure to use Certified Gluten Free Oats.

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  • Reply
    Stacy Spensley CHHC
    October 25, 2012 at 11:44 am

    I finally bought some coconut oil a while back and have recently started embracing it more. Sometimes I resist the weirdest things. I was going to make a 2nd batch of my chocolate ones, but maybe I’ll rotate! Looking forward to seeing what other creative solutions you come up with.

  • Reply
    Liz M.
    January 23, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    I just made these! These are amazing!! I don’t have a special diet or anything, I’m just trying to eat healthier and more natural. I’m so happy I found your blog! You rock!

    • Reply
      Emily Levenson
      January 25, 2013 at 10:54 am

      that’s awesome! so glad you enjoyed the bars. and congrats on moving towards healthier, more natural recipes. YOU ROCK. <3

  • Reply
    January 26, 2013 at 2:38 pm

    I would really like to make these, but I’m worried about all the calories. Any advice on making them a little lighter?

  • Reply
    February 9, 2013 at 9:42 am

    I made these but the quinoa was still too crunchy even after 7 minutes in processor. Do you recommend a certain brand?

    • Reply
      Emily Levenson
      February 11, 2013 at 8:41 pm

      I think I used quinoa from the bulk bin in our local grocery store.

      Maybe try a quinoa flour instead if you can’t get it to the right consistency?

  • Reply
    February 24, 2013 at 8:22 pm

    These bars sound fantastic — but is the calorie and nutritional info available?

    • Reply
      Emily Levenson
      February 24, 2013 at 8:37 pm

      Sorry, no.

      You are welcome to plug the ingredients into a calculator, if you would like to find out. :)

      • Reply
        February 25, 2013 at 2:24 pm

        Can you recommend a good calculator? I haven’t found one that will let me do what I want…

        • Reply
          Emily Levenson
          February 25, 2013 at 2:45 pm

          Someone on Twitter suggested CalorieCount . I’ve never used it myself…

          There is also one from SparkPeoplewhere you can add in the ingredients from any recipe to get the nutrition info.

          Hope that helps!

          • Julie713
            February 26, 2013 at 3:42 pm

            Thank you, Emily! I’ll report back if either works well for me.

          • Emily Levenson
            February 26, 2013 at 3:49 pm

            Good luck!!

          • Julie713
            March 4, 2013 at 10:56 am

            Emily, the Spark People calculator is top notch! Exactly what I was looking for. You can enter the ingredients for any recipe, divide by the number of servings, and get a calories and nutrition readout. Can’t thank you enough.

          • Emily Levenson
            March 4, 2013 at 11:25 am

            Glad it worked!

          • Kelly
            March 1, 2014 at 8:28 pm

            Can you share the break down?

  • Reply
    Brittany Nunley
    May 27, 2013 at 4:52 pm

    I just tried your recipe and the flavor is amazing! (Can’t stop eating out of the bowl!) Mine is turning out really crumbly. I’ve tried adding more maple syrup and nut butter with no luck. Do you have any suggestions for fixing this?

    • Reply
      Emily Levenson
      May 27, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      So glad you are enjoying them! I haven’t made them in a while, but my guess is they are a little too dry. I do wonder if your nut butter is a bit dryer than mine was. It may help to add oil to the mix (I’d try a tablespoon at a time). Let me know if that helps!

  • Reply
    June 11, 2013 at 8:01 pm

    I added vanilla almond milk instead of maple syrup and added cup of raisins and a half a cup of ground hemp instead of Flax….only because that was all I had, it was fabulous!!

    • Reply
      Emily Levenson
      June 11, 2013 at 8:11 pm

      Oooh, nice! Glad they are flexible and can accommodate varying ingredients. :)

  • Reply
    Angeli Yuson
    September 29, 2013 at 9:18 pm

    What a great recipe! This looks amazing, can’t wait to try it! Definately a rating of 5 stars!

  • Reply
    February 6, 2014 at 3:01 am

    I’ve been very sick the last 11months. Drs still don’t know what it is, so I have been doing gluten, dairy, meat, low sugar and low fructose diet for three weeks. Its very hard to find anything to eat. I came across this recipe and am so excited! I’m going to try almond milk as a sub for syrup, like a previous posted did. I’m sorry you too are having similar issues. Thank you so much fir sharing your story. it feels good not to be the only one frustrsted. Did you get better?

    • Reply
      Emily Levenson
      September 9, 2014 at 7:01 pm

      Teresa—I did get better! Food sensitivities have pretty much resolved (I still avoid dairy, doesn’t feel great). I, too, hope that you are feeling better. If not, let me know. I’d be happy to talk to you more.

  • Reply
    March 28, 2014 at 7:03 pm

    Can honey be substituted for the agave nectar? And if so would the same amount be suitable?

    • Reply
      Emily Levenson
      September 9, 2014 at 7:03 pm

      Dana—you *should* be able to sub it exactly. The only thing I would say is that your cooking time will likely be different. Just keep an eye on the bars and make sure they don’t burn!

  • Reply
    July 17, 2014 at 2:59 pm

    Has anyone done the calculations on the nutritional data for the bars? I would be curious to see if someone has the same information as I have.

    I made 18 bars from the recipe – the nutritional information for each bar (+ or – a fraction because each bar was not identical):

    Calories: 206
    Fat: 9.7g
    Saturated: 3.7g
    Carb: 23.2g
    Fiber: 4.2g
    Protein: 7.05g

  • Reply
    February 6, 2015 at 3:42 pm

    Love this recipe ! SO easy and tasty, even though my food processor did not grind the raw quinoa down. My family loves the crunchiness.

    Just FYI, I substituted apple sauce for 1/2 cup of the maple syrup, used toasted pumpkin seeds (instead of sunflower) and used only half the chocolate topping. Trying to reduce sugar in the diet (for reasons of inflammation, cognitive health and weight control).

    Next experiment will feature unsweetened flaked coconut, perhaps instead of peanut butter or the seeds. Will likely need a little coconut oil or apple sauce to make it more moist. Might even try pumpkin instead of peanut butter.

    Thanks very much for sharing this recipe.

    • Reply
      Emily Levenson
      February 8, 2015 at 8:46 am

      Hanusia—Those sounds like great additions. I haven’t made these in a while, but will definitely try it again with some of the additions you made!

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