Healthy Home Made Protein Bars

Home-Made Black Bean Chocolate Protein Bars

Keeping my energy up during big shoots is important. Sometimes I’m too busy to take the time to sit down and eat something. Other times I forget about eating entirely. When we have a craft services table set up for big shoots, I can sometimes grab a bite in between things, but on the smaller shoots, sometimes it is helpful to have something quick and healthy that I can munch on. This week’s healthy food from the studio is a little strange, but bear with me: protein bars made out of black beans.

I came across a recipe for Fudge Brownie Chocolate Protein Bars which sounded … well, it sounded weird. But I had all the ingredients on hand, so I gave it a shot. Black beans in something sweet versus something savory? Sure, why the hell not.

I made a few changes from the original recipe, in that I added some rolled oats (might use brown rice flour next time), some chopped almonds, and topped them off with flax seeds for a little crunch and to boost the health benefits a little bit more. I also emitted some of the sugar, since my protein powder is pretty sweet (contains stevia) to begin with. The verdict? These home made protein bars are tasty and because of the good-for-you ingredients they are pretty healthy. They are incredibly rich though, so I found that a portion size about half of what is called for in the original recipe works better for me. The original recipe suggested cutting them into 10 bars. I went with five large bars and ten smaller ones. I wrapped mine individually in plastic wrap and keep them in the fridge for a quick snack or to fulfill a craving for something sweet.

Here are a few variations that I’m thinking of trying: chocolate and cayenne pepper; coconut, dried pineapple and macadamia nuts; white chocolate chips; dried fruit or berries instead of the chocolate chips … I feel like the options are endless.

Healthy Home Made Protein Bars

Photograph by St. Louis Food Photographer Jonathan Gayman.

Recipe: Home-Made Black Bean Chocolate Protein Bars


  • 1 15-oz can of black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 3 tablespoon dutch or regular cocoa powder
  • 7 tablespoon chocolate protein powder
  • 1/2 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup agave (or honey)
  • 3 1/2 tablespoon coconut or vegetable oil
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/3 cup chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup raw almonds, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons flax seeds (optional)


  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Add the beans, cocoa powder, protein powder, salt, agave, vegetable oil, vanilla and baking powder to a food processor and pulse until very smooth.
  3. Stir in the chocolate chips and almonds (I find it easiest to do this in a separate bowl, but you can also just mix them right in the food processor).
  4. Using a spatula, transfer the mixture into an 8”x8” baking dish, pressing it flat so that it fills all the corners and bottom evenly.
  5. Sprinkle the flax seeds evenly over the top of the mixture.
  6. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from the oven too cool. Note, the mixture will not look “done” and will still look fairly moist … this is ok. It will firm up as it cools. Let dish sit until cooled to room temperature, then refrigerate for at least two hours.
  7. Carefully cut the protein bars into whatever size you like. I cut mine into 10 large bars, then cut five of those into 1/2 bars for quick snacks. I also wrapped mine individually in plastic grab for a quick grab and go option. Keep in the fridge for a week or so.

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  • Hiba April 12, 2015  

    where are the comments

  • Hiba April 12, 2015  

    Oh nvm

  • Hiba April 12, 2015  

    How do they taste doe?

  • Jonathan April 13, 2015  

    They are really tasty, more like a brownie, but they don’t taste like beans, thats for sure. Enjoy!

  • AC August 10, 2016  

    Do you nutrition info for these? Just wondering based on 10 bars per batch how much protein, sugar and calories etc would be in each bar. Let me know if you do! Thanks.

  • Jonathan August 10, 2016  

    Sorry, I don’t have the nutrition info. I think there are calculators out there that you could use. Thanks for reading!

  • Annie January 6, 2019  

    Just baked these and have to say these bars are Wonderful!!! Very tasty!!

  • jk August 8, 2019  

    Agreed, you need to put up the nutritional values… for those of us that are looking long and hard for high protein, low sugar, no dairy, etc. bars, it takes too much time. Sorry!… too busy, can’t do it! And it’s your website!

    Would have loved to share this had it been provided and delicious, (which I suspect it is) but doesn’t feel too good doing your work for you.

    Not being nasty – just being a realist.

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