It’s no secret that I’m a massive fan of homemade healthy snacks. I used to be such a fiend for store bought protein bars, thinking that just because they had 20g of protein it was tooootally fine to have one nearly every second day…and then a lightbulb moment came over a year ago, just after I had started my blog. Why not just make my own? If I knew I enjoyed having a tasty protein-packed bar as a snack to keep me going in a busy day of work, why not challenge myself to create a recipe or two for just that? And so, it was mission accepted. If you search under the ‘Healthy Snacks’ tab on my blog, you’ll find actually quite a number of protein bar recipes I’ve invented since starting The Irish Balance. I’m proud of all of them, and happily I find the more I make, the better the flavour and texture each time! I’m a big chickpea gal, so recently I decided it was time to change things up a little, by using red kidney beans! If that puts you off, don’t let it! I’ll admit I did wonder would kidney beans work as well as chickpeas and black beans have for me in the past – but I needn’t have been concerned. These bars are soft, chocolate-y, and also pack a cheeky crunch of goodness from added mixed nuts! I’ve used two delicious Kind Snacks Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt nutty bars in place of the 50g of unsalted mixed nuts – simply because a) I love Kind Snacks (and this flavour bar in particular!) and b) Kind Snacks very ‘kindly’ sent me a couple of deliveries of their delicious range, and I thought why not use the opportunity for a little recipe inspiration? So, let’s bake!
Recipe (Makes 10 long brownies!)
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1 tbsp baking powder
- 2 tbsp cacao powder (I use Nua Naturals)
- 2 tbsp cacao butter or coconut oil, melted (I use Cocobrew Cacao Butter)
- 1 banana
- 50g of quick cook oats, blended into flour (I use Flahavan’s)
- 1 scoop of chocolate protein powder (or you can use another 50g of blended oats!)
- 1/3 cup of sliced cooked beetroot
- 1 400g tin of red kidney beans (or you can sub black beans!)
- 100ml of milk of choice (I use Coconut or Almond Alpro!)
- 50g unsalted nuts, chopped – I used 2 Kind Snacks Dark Chocolate & Sea Salt bars which have almonds and peanuts! Hazelnuts or walnuts would also be perfect, take your pick!
- Pre-heat the oven to 200C (fan), and line a square baking tin with greaseproof paper or greased tinfoil.
- Place the kidney beans, banana chunks, milk and beetroot into a blender cup or food processor, and blender until smooth. You should get a smooth thick liquid consistency, dark pink in colour!
- Take a large mixing bowl, and add your dry ingredients – oat flour, cinnamon, baking powder and cacao powder – then stir them all together.
- Pour the wet blended batter into the bowl of dry ingredients, and mix it all up until you have a thick batter. If you feel it’s still a little dry, add a splash extra milk and mix again!
- Fold in the chopped nuts, and you’re good to go!
- Pour the batter into your baking tin, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes. Remove, and stick the prongs of a fork or a toothpick into the bake – if it comes out mostly clean, you’re good to go!
- Allow to cool for 30 minutes in the tin before slicing up and tucking in! You can also freeze a batch of these bars if you want to save them for snacks for work or just on the go!
Enjoy guys! I hope these fuel you up and taste as good as they have for me, I love creating homemade snack bars, especially those that pack a little extra protein and fibre! Tag me if you try them out – @theirishbalance on Instagram/Twitter/Facebook!
Ciara 🙂 x