Banana & Cacao Nib Squares (Vegan – obvs – and Gluten Free)
I couldn’t let Vegan Month go by without attempting some baking. I used to bake “protein” things all the time: bars, cookies, muffins etc. But over the past few years of bodybuilding prep, I’ve got out of the habit (bored of it, I think!)
So my recipe-creating skills were a little rusty for inventing a vegan baking recipe!
Add to that the twin challenges of 1) no eggs allowed and 2) only the scrapings out of the bottom of the coconut oil tub remaining… and things were about to get interesting. (For “interesting”, read “probably dry and crumbly”).
However, I forged ahead with my zero eggs and probably-10g-if-that oil.
- I knew I wanted to make a banana bread type creation
- I knew I didn’t want it to be too sweet (just not my thing)
- And I knew I wanted to use Protein Pow’s Pea Protein Cooking Mix as the base (because it’s awesome, and vegan, and does half the work for me!)
The Protein Pow “Pea Protein Pow Mix” is gluten free, vegan, and contains just five ingredients: pea protein powder, GF oats, coconut flour, coconut sugar, and vanilla beans. I’ve been using it during Vegan Month to make mug cakes, and as an addition to breakfast oats. But I was keen to bake with it, since that’s really its forte.
Here’s what I made: Vegan Pea Protein Banana & Cacao Nib Squares
- 2 large bananas (240g, FYI) – mashed
- 25g ground flax mixed with water to make a “flax egg” (apparently that’s a thing)
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 300g Protein Pow Pea Protein Cooking/Baking Mix
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 40g cacao nibs
- 300ml almond milk (that much because the batter was really dry… !)
- 10g coconut oil (the batter reeeeally needed more, but I had the end of a tub so I microwaved that and used what I could pour out) (then gave the empty tub to the dog)
- Make the flax “egg” by mixing the flax with water and leaving it aside
- Mash the bananas in a bowl
- Combine the Protein Pow mix, cinnamon, and baking powder in a big bowl
- Mix the cacao nibs through the dry mix
- Mix the flax egg into the mashed banana
- Add the banana/flax to the dry mix and form a batter (add the milk as you go)
I used a silicone baking tray but you could use muffin cases or whatever you want. Pour the batter into whatever you’re using and bake for about 30 mins at 180*C. Let it cool in the tray then cut into 9 squares.
It looked a bit dry but kind of firmed up as it cooled. The squares held their shape just fine once I cut it into 9 portions.
The verdict? Tasty, actually surprisingly moist and un-crumbly, not too sweet, perfect for a snack with a coffee. The fibre is pretty high (oats, coconut flour, cacao nibs…) so I probably wouldn’t have one before training, but they’d be good for after. I made nine squares out of this recipe but they are pretty big (espresso-cup saucer below for scale… what do you mean you don’t have espresso cup saucers?) – you could definitely cut them into 12 (for fewer cals per bar) or leave out the cacao nibs (?) if you wanted.
Nutrition per 1/9 recipe:
Have you baked or cooked anything with the Protein Pow Pea Mix? Let me know – I’ve got more here and am keen to experiment.
Nicola Joyce – the Fit Writer – is a freelance copywriter and journalist with 13 years experience in writing content and direct response copy for the fitness industry. Get in touch via Facebook, by sending a message here.