These nut-free, gluten-free, vegan chocolate tahini energy bars are made with just a handful of simple, whole food ingredients and they don’t require any baking. You’ll need tahini, dates, cacao powder, hemp seeds and plant-based protein powder. These wholesome ingredients combine into the most delicious homemade energy bars that are a breeze to make and will have you looking forward to snack time day after day. With such a rich, fudge-like texture, it’s hard to believe these bars made with just a few healthy ingredients!
Why I love Tahini
If you’ve been following Running on Real Food for a while, you know what tahini is one of my favourite ingredients. I love it in both sweet and savoury recipes and I’m never without it my kitchen. If you’ve never had tahini before, it’s simple a paste made from sesame seeds, much like peanut butter or almond butter. I love it because it’s high in iron and calcium and has the most amazing, creamy consistency and delicious flavour.
Best Tahini To Buy
Tahini varies brand to brand but a good tahini should be smooth, drippy and should slightly sweet without a bitter aftertaste. I like Arz Fine Foods, Soom Tahini and Alkanater. I don’t love the Nuts To You Organic Tahini, I find it to be too dry with a bitter taste. There are plenty of other brands but these are the most often available here in Canada. I’m sure in the US there is a larger selection so if you have a favourite, leave a comment below as a heads up to other readers.
Make Your Own Tahini
You can also easily make tahini at home with sesame seeds and a good blender. You’ll also need a bit of olive oil to get the right consistency. To make it, simply blend 1-2 cups of hulled sesame seeds in a high-powered blender until starting to get creamy, then slowly blend in 2-4 tablespoons of olive oil until you reach a thick but creamy consistency. Store it in the fridge for up to 2 months.
Health Benefits of Tahini
Yes, tahini tastes amazing but what I really love about it is it’s iron and calcium content, making it a wonderful food for plant-based eaters. It’s also a good source of vitamin E, potassium and magnesium and has a higher protein content than most nuts. I love my nut butters, don’t get my wrong but tahini makes a regular appearance both on toast and in recipes and of course, my favourite, lemon tahini sauce.
Vegan Chocolate Tahini Energy Bars
These bars are definitely closer to dessert than energy bar. The texture is very rich and fudge-like so they tastes much more decadent than they are.
They’re easy to make in a food processor. You’ll need:
- Tahini for flavour, nutrition and holding it all together.
- Soft, fresh dates for natural sweetness, fibre and the base of the recipe.
- Cacao powder for chocolate flavour and nutrition (you can use processed cocoa powder if needed).
- Plant-based protein powder for the added protein. I used Vega Performance Protein.
- Hemp seeds for healthy fats, vitamins, minerals and protein.
- Sea salt for that perfect sweet and salty flavour.
I also added a little cinnamon and pure vanilla extract but they’re both optional.
About the “Dough”
Once you’ve made the dough, things are going to get a little messy. I apologize but I promise it will be worth it! The dough is sticky and you may need to use wetted hands to press it into the pan. Use slightly wetted hands to spread and press the dough into the pan until you have a smooth surface. Once they set in the freezer they’ll firm up and won’t be messy or sticky when ready to eat.
Storing These Bars
These bars need to be stored in the freezer as they’ll melt at room temperature. They should be okay in the fridge but I always keep them in the freezer. They don’t freeze solid and they’re amazing straight from the freezer. So. dang. fudgy.Print
- 2 cups lightly packed, soft pitted dates (350 g, see notes)
- 1/2 cup tahini (120 g)
- 1/2 cup Vega Performance Protein in Mocha, Chocolate or Vanilla (50 g)
- 1/4 cup cacao powder (24 g)
- 1 cup hemp seeds (160 g)
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 1/2 tbsp almond milk or water
- Add everything to a food processor and mix until it forms a thick dough. It will take a little bit but it should form into one big dough ball, once it’s does, it’s ready to go.
- Press the dough (you may need to use wet hands, it can be sticky) into a parchment paper, wax paper or saran wrap-lined square baking pan. Take a few moments to press it down into the corners and work it all together. It will be a little sticky and messy.
- Place in the freezer for 4 hours up to overnight to set.
- Lift the bars out of the pan and cut into 14 bars.
- Store the bars in the freezer for up to 3 months. I love them straight from the freezer for the best fudgy consistency. They won’t freeze solid and they’re so good this way!
It’s important to use soft dates in no-bake recipes like this. I would recommend medjool, sayer, honey or deglect noor but as long as they’re moist and fresh, any kind should work. Medjool dates have the best flavour rand texture in my opinion but I often use sayer dates. If you only have hard, dry dates, soak them in hot water for 15 minutes and thoroughly drain before using.
For best results, use a kitchen scale and weigh your ingredients according to my measurements.
- Serving Size: 1 bar
- Calories: 231
- Fat: 10 g
- Carbohydrates: 24 g
- Fiber: 4 g
- Protein: 11 g