As you may be able to gather from my recipes as of late, I’ve become a bit obsessed with sneaking protein into treats.
Not only is it an additional way to ensure your daily protein needs are met (approximately 100g per day for a woman in her reproductive years) but it also works to get keep blood sugar balanced, which is key for optimal hormone health.
And while I love myself a good savory, protein-rich meal, I need a little something sweet at the end of the day, which is where these pumpkin protein cookie dough bars come in.
They’re insanely delicious, with the perfect soft, cookie dough texture and flavorful pumpkin/dark chocolate combo, and also super satisfying, thanks to the protein powder, creamy peanut butter (healthy fats) and fiber (pumpkin and almond flour). Plus they’re naturally gluten-free and vegan.
BONUS — they’re super easy to make (just mix everything in a bowl and chill) and hold up well in the freezer, making them a great option to keep on hand whenever you’re in need of a snack or sweet treat.
Snag the recipe and details below!
This cookie dough ingredient helps thicken up the texture (so it isn’t too sticky) and also boosts the protein factor (depending on the brand about 40g) as well as influences the taste (I like using a vanilla flavor).
The almond flour in this recipe works to thicken the batter to a dough like consistency, while adding an additional 24g of protein. The key is to make sure you use blanched almond flour, which keeps the texture from becoming gritty or mealy.
The peanut butter compliments the dark chocolate and pumpkin flavors in this cookie dough while adding in a dose of satiating, hormone healthy fats. Just make sure you’re using a brand without any added inflammatory oils like this one.
Pure maple syrup adds a touch of sweetness without any refined sugar.
Pure vanilla extract is key for any cookie or cookie dough recipe, as it adds that sweet, vanilla-like flavor.
Dark chocolate chips are a must for this pumpkin protein cookie dough recipe. This is by far my fave clean, refined sugar-free brand (use code LAUREN to save 15% off your order).
This recipe gets its high protein factor due to the protein powder (30-60g protein, depending on brand/serving size) and almond flour (24g protein per cup). When breaking it down into a serving size (one bar) it equates to about 10-15g of protein per serving, an ideal amount for a protein-rich treat or snack.
Protein is an essential structural component of ALL hormones, which means you have to consume sufficient protein to make enough hormones. Studies have shown most women need a bare minimum of 90g of protein per day, or at least 30g per meal.
Making these pumpkin protein cookie dough bars is about as simple as it gets. You just mix together all of the ingredients (except for the dark chocolate topping) together in a large mixing bowl with a spoon or spatula until well combined, then press evenly into a parchment lined loaf pan. Set aside while you melt the dark chocolate chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until melted, then whisk together and pour evenly over the bar mixture. Sprinkle with flaky sea salt, freeze for one hour then slice into bars!
You can swap the maple syrup for honey to obtain the same level of sweetness without any refined sugar.
I literally add sea salt to everything, as it adds a nice little dose of hormone healthy minerals and flavor. 1/4 – 1/2 tsp works well for this recipe, plus more flaky sea salt on top if you prefer.
If you’re not a fan of almond flour, you can try substituting for another nutrient-dense, grain-free flour like coconut or cassava, just note this will slightly affect the taste, texture and protein amount.
Feel free to swap the protein powder for collagen powder, or leave out altogether! Just note this will change the total protein amount as well.
If you want to keep this recipe completely vegan, make sure you’re using a plant-based protein powder. This is my preferred plant based protein, and you can use the code SOFRESH10 to save.
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These healthy pumpkin protein cookie dough bars are SO delicious, naturally gluten-free + vegan & incredibly easy to make (no-bake + 1 bowl).
Author: Lauren Chambers
Recipe Type: dessert, breakfast, snack
For the pumpkin protein cookie dough:
For the chocolate topping:
*This recipe would also be great as cookie dough balls if you prefer those to bars, just use an ice cream scooper to place balls onto a parchment lined pan, then drizzle with dark chocolate and sea salt.
I’m honored to support you on your journey to optimal hormone health + happiness. Thanks for being here babe.