TV Tuesday #16 – 5 Minute 4 Ingredient Raw Power Bars (DF, GF, Sugar Free, Vegan)

What’s the number 1 reason most people give for not eating healthy?

Not enough time.

What’s the second reason?

It’s expensive.

What if you had one recipe that took 5 minutes to make (seriously, no hyperbole here), had super cost effective ingredients, and was nutritionally dense? What if that recipe was so flexible that the ingredients could be subbed in and out to accommodate available ingredients, allergies and budgets?

Well that sounds like magic. Let me show you how to make it in under 5 minutes…

While this recipe isn’t one you can eat at every meal nor will it solve all healthy eating problems, it does solve the snack problem in a pinch. Sure they’ll be some people who don’t like chocolate (what’s wrong with you?), sure some will be allergic to nuts, but, for the most part, this recipe should satisfy at least 90% of you. I hope you’ll try it and in turn I hope to put sugary store bought snack bars/granola bars out of business.

Ok, that would be an exaggeration and I don’t want to put anyone out of business, but if it keeps one person from buying them, I’m happy.

Are you new to whole foods? Eat lots of sugar? Transitioning to natural sweeteners? Add a little honey, maple syrup, stevia extract or coconut/palm sugar to sweeten things up to your liking. It will be sweet but still better than all the other junk found in store bought bars.

5 Minute 4 Ingredient Raw Power Bars

  • 10 dates, pitted
  • 1 1/2 cups nuts (I used walnuts)
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder (raw cacao is best nutritionally, but expensive)
  • 1/4 cup coconut oil

Put the nuts in a food processor and blend until crumbly like fresh bread crumbs. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until it begins to clump together. Scrape down the sides if necessary and repeat. Line a loaf pan with plastic wrap, parchment paper or wax paper. Press the mixture firmly into the pan, either with a wet hand or your hand wrapped in plastic wrap or a plastic baggie works best. Allow to cool in refrigerator to set.

In a hurry? Use the freezer. In a bigger hurry? Roll 2 Tbsp worth of mixture into a ball and eat. Repeat.

Now for substitutions, allergies, and budget friendly stuff.

Sub in 1 cup dried apricots, raisins or prunes for the dates. You’ll need to add a little honey since these are not as sweet as dates.

Allergy to nuts? Add seeds. Allergy to seeds and nuts? Use shredded coconut?

Don’t like chocolate? Use half a banana to add flavor.

Coconut oil too expensive? Use 2-3 Tbsp of nut butter like peanut butter or almond butter. Allergic to nuts? Use seed butter such as sunflower seed butter.

Bulk these babies up with dark chocolate chips, cranberries or seeds. Experiment and come up with a new flavor every time!

What are your favorite protein bar ingredients? Let me know in the comments!

I’m sharing this with Mangia Monday, Monday Mania, My Meatless Monday, Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays, Tasty Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, This Chick Cooks, Cast Party Wednesday, Allergy Free Wednesday, The Tasty Alternative, What’s Cooking Wednesday, Real Food Wednesday, Simple Lives Thursday, Full Plate Thursday, Freaky Friday, Fight Back Friday, and Foodie Friday.

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77 Responses to TV Tuesday #16 – 5 Minute 4 Ingredient Raw Power Bars (DF, GF, Sugar Free, Vegan)

  1. Shan July 24, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    I make the power bars from the book Primal Body Primal Mind, but I’m interested in trying your recipe.  Thanks for sharing!

    • beyondthepeel July 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

       Shan, I haven’t tried anything from that book, but thanks for the recommendation!

  2. Sabrina July 24, 2012 at 5:07 pm #

    I frowned once I saw that there were dates,nuts and cocoa powder in the recipe {some family members have sensitivities}. BUT I was elated that you provided us with some WONDERFUL alternatives. Thanks for doing the work for me….do you want to come and make a couple of batches for us. LOL!

    • France Morissette July 24, 2012 at 8:19 pm #

      Hi Sabrina, I’ll be delighted to hear back from you on the substitutions you decided to go with.

    • beyondthepeel July 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

       Haha. No prob :)

  3. Aubrey July 24, 2012 at 7:34 pm #

    We have no sensitivites and I have a family that will eat anything but I LOVE the flexibility of this recipe…it’ll help when the pantry is low and substitutions are needed. I tried a similiar recipe to this earlier and it came out great but ill be passing this post around for my friends

    • beyondthepeel July 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

       Aubrey, we don’t have any sensitivities either, but we like to provide options for our readers that do. Glad you like it and thank you for sharing it!

  4. Rxshauna July 24, 2012 at 9:36 pm #

    I just pulled the first batch out of the fridge. These are as easy as you said but even more delicious than expected. Thanks so much!! WOW Yummy!!

    • beyondthepeel July 25, 2012 at 4:03 pm #

       Thumbs up! Glad you liked them!

  5. Janice McCarthy July 25, 2012 at 3:31 am #

    Oh ya, another great recipe,  thank you.  What type/brand of food processor do you use. It looks easy to clean and efficient.  
    Cheers    Janice

    • beyondthepeel July 25, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

       Janice, it’s just a cheapo one we’ve had for years. Doesn’t even have a brand name on it. If I were to get a new one though, I’d get a Cuisinart one. They make great stuff.

  6. Gluten Free A-Z Blog July 25, 2012 at 11:35 am #

    What a versatile recipe. I love all of the suggestions for substitutions- I can eat all of them; the variations could make it like a variety of different snacks.

  7. Koko July 25, 2012 at 3:52 pm #

    Perfect! Now NO ONE has an excuse!! Thanks France :-)

    • beyondthepeel July 25, 2012 at 4:04 pm #

       That was my evil plan all along, Koko :) muhahahahahaha!

  8. The Café Sucré Farine July 25, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    Very cool, my kids will love these and I bet they keep you satisfied for a long time! Thanks France~

  9. Shelley Alexander July 26, 2012 at 1:57 am #

    Hi France, what a easy, tasty, and healthy protein bar! No one should say they can’t make this.  Thanks for sharing.  :)

  10. GlutenFreeHappyTummy July 26, 2012 at 3:19 am #

    that looks so delicious!

  11. Laureen @ Fox in the Kitchen July 26, 2012 at 5:06 am #

    Perfect recipe, quick, simple with only a few ingredients and loads of options! Thanks France! This will definitely make an appearance on my next Must Make List!


  12. Vellenw July 26, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    Thanks France – I’m making these for my 3 day hike in the White Mts. next week – Mts. Jackson, Pierce, Eisenhower, Monroe and the biggie Mt. Washington.  I”ll get back to you with the results. Subbing peanut butter for the Coconut oil – and adding some trail mix.

    • beyondthepeel July 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

       Sounds like an awesome trip Ellen! Can’t wait to hear about it and how the substitutions worked. Have fun!

  13. Jeanne G. July 26, 2012 at 2:32 pm #

    I made some of these with half almonds and half walnuts because I didn’t have enough walnuts. They are delicious! I am using up a container of refined coconut oil. The next time I bet they’ll be even better with the tasty virgin coconut oil! Or maybe, I’ll use peanut butter…mmm!

    • beyondthepeel July 27, 2012 at 4:52 pm #

       The virgin coconut oil is so good in these. I highly recommend grabbing some!

  14. Sarah July 26, 2012 at 7:57 pm #

    Oh my goodness. These taste like candy! I added a little peanut butter and some coconut flakes.

    • beyondthepeel July 27, 2012 at 4:53 pm #

       Yummy! Sounds like some great additions!

  15. Myrna July 27, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    Can you bake this?

    • France Morissette July 31, 2012 at 4:33 pm #

      Hi Myrna, I wouldn’t bake these unless you change the recipe.

  16. Dlavertyfamily July 27, 2012 at 3:39 pm #

    Thank you!  I am making dinner to take down to my mil, who has cancer and i was looking for just such a recipe!  I am going to add hemp seed to it….and maybe a few dried cranberries.

  17. Eve July 31, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Since I first tried this recipe about a week ago, I’ve made this recipe three times – doubled!!! I love it. Such a great snack. Thank you!

  18. Pat Yarbrough July 31, 2012 at 3:10 pm #

    I can hardly wait to try these — 5 minutes, 4 ingredients (some of my favorites, too — dates, pecans, cocoa powder).  I may use a different oil so my husband will eat them…and then, I may not 😀

  19. Teambuckles90 July 31, 2012 at 6:49 pm #

    These are a must!! And all the option u have given sound amazing!! An endless list of ways to change it up!!

  20. Chiot's Run July 31, 2012 at 7:55 pm #

    MMM, definitely making these.  Might try to make a variety with maca powder too and maybe some other kinds of dried fruit.  

  21. Christine July 31, 2012 at 10:28 pm #

    These sound delicious and I know I would love them. However, I don’t think I would refer to them as a protein bar. In my mind, protein bars should be high in protein (20g or more) and low in fat (5g or less) and carbs (5g or so) also. I’m curious as to the breakdown of fat, carbs, and protein in a serving.

  22. shannone320 August 1, 2012 at 12:05 am #

    These look delish. I love all of the options you offered.

  23. Guest August 1, 2012 at 5:33 am #

    I agree with another commenter, these sound delicious but are not protein bars. By my rough calculation using the USDA nutrient database, the recipe above totals 16 grams protein (adjusted for bioavailability per Barry Sears formula of 75% of total available from vegetable protein) and a huge 170 gr carbohydrates (adjusted down from raw total by subtracting fiber, again per Barry Sears formula). I didn’t look at the fat, but a more generous interpretation of the  breakdown in order to consider this a protein bar would be roughly 30%protein, 30% fat, and 40% carb, up to the more extreme profile quoted by the other commenter, i.e. 20 gr protein to 5 gr carb would be predominantly protein.

    • beyondthepeel August 1, 2012 at 3:17 pm #

      Thanks for the detailed insight. I’ve changed the name to Power Bars so there’s no confusion.

  24. Danyette August 1, 2012 at 5:10 pm #

    Thank you for sharing these! They look yummy, versatile, and easy! I cant’ wait to try them out and then try some substitutions:) Thanks again for taking the time!

  25. Myrna August 2, 2012 at 12:07 am #

    I add protein powder, some cinnamon and a little vanilla extract to mine but I cook them in the oven.

    • Usagreengirl August 13, 2012 at 9:47 pm #

      How long do you cook them for and at what temp?

      • France Morissette August 13, 2012 at 10:44 pm #

        Hi Usagreengirl,
        These bars are raw, no baking necessary. Refrigerate or freeze them until they set, about 30 minutes in the freezer or an hour or 2 in the fridge. Cut and serve.

  26. Cadugdale August 2, 2012 at 2:18 pm #

    I used to make something very similar to this for my daughter to take to school in her lunch box – we called them ‘sweet treats’ – we all ate them, actually, cos they tasted so good:)

  27. Karen August 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm #

    I made these last week and they were so great that I immediately started searching for the recipe again! Now that I have found it, it is bookmarked. I don’t especially like chocolate, but these are great – especially after a run.

  28. Judy August 10, 2012 at 8:38 pm #

    I buy something like these at the health food store to calm my sweet tooth down.  I think I pay about $6 a pound.  looking forward to trying this asap…

  29. Jennifer Nervo August 10, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    That.was.hilarious. Love the video! We’ll be trying 2 version: soaked nuts & cocoa / coconut flakes and carob powder to accommodate the allergies in my house. Thanks for sharing. Quick and easy real food snacks are always appreciated!

    Jennifer @ 20 something allergies and counting…down

    • beyondthepeel August 11, 2012 at 7:00 pm #

      Glad you liked it Jennifer! Let me know how they turn out with your modifications. Sounds delish!

  30. Dean Neuls August 10, 2012 at 9:52 pm #

    If time and price are less of an object, the following recipe only takes about 20 minutes and has more healthy goodness

    1.5 cups pitted dates
    2 cups almonds
    1/2 cup ground flax meal
    1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut
    1/4 cup raw cocoa powder
    Teaspoon celtic sea salt
    1/2 cup almond butter
    3 scoops all greens or meta greens powder
    1/2 cup coconut oil
    1 tablespoon agave nectar
    5 drops of stevia
    1 teaspoon vanilla

    Follow the above instructions for the first 8 ingredients – mix until it makes a coarse meal
    Melt coconut oil over low heat, add agave, stevia and vanilla – then add to first mixture and blend well
    Put into a 8×8 pan lined with wax paper or plastic wrap and set in fridge

    This is a tried tested and true recipe I put together over, many months

  31. Kay August 21, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

    How well do they hold up out of refrigerator?

    • France Morissette August 23, 2012 at 12:13 am #

      Hi Kay,
      They’re fine in the refrigerator. Great actually.

  32. Krys September 10, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Oh boy.. in my silly state I used dried dates.. I’ll remake these soon lol, til then i’ve got some delicious chocolate bar in my freezer. Hee hee

    • France Morissette September 10, 2012 at 9:44 pm #

      Hi Krys,
      You weren’t being silly. You are supposed to use dried dates. I know it might seem like these can’t possibly work, but trust me. Press them into a pan and let them cool so the coconut oil hardens up. And then slice into bars and enjoy.

  33. deb September 12, 2012 at 7:56 pm #

    I made this last nighy, I rolled into a log, today I chopped additional walnuts very and rolled them on the outside of the log. better then any Yule log……..yum

    • France Morissette September 14, 2012 at 6:17 pm #

      Deb, I love this idea. I’m going to try that.

  34. Kellie April 24, 2013 at 12:19 am #

    this may have been mentioned already but in your video it says 1 1/2 cup nuts and your recipe lists just 1 cup… I just made it and wondered why it was so liquidy.

    • beyondthepeel April 24, 2013 at 5:16 pm #

      Thanks for picking up on that. I made the change. However, they shouldn’t be watery since the only ingredient on the list that “liquifies” is coconut oil. The coconut oil firms up and hardens once refrigerated. If you made it with one cup of nuts, it should still work. My husband uses this recipe all the time and it seems to work great. I hope yours sets once cooled. Let me know how it goes.

      • vero September 22, 2014 at 4:12 am #

        Mine was definitely not watery. In fact I had to add water. Maybe because I use a blender??? I don’t know but I have them in my freezer, hope I don’t mess up lol.

  35. Aaron June 7, 2013 at 3:26 am #

    Where’s the protein?

    • beyondthepeel June 7, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      In the nuts.

      • Aaron June 7, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

        Yes.. but nuts are loaded with oil (70% calories from oil). At most these bars would have a 6-8 grams of protein per unit. I suggest switching out at least half the nuts for veggie protein powder. These may be delicious, but I think calling them protein bars is incorrect.

        • beyondthepeel June 9, 2013 at 11:16 pm #

          We switched the name to Power Bars since it was mentioned earlier in the comments. Because we are a whole food website, we do not use protein powders, veggies powders ect. Only foods with an ingredient list of 1 are used in most of the recipes. As a result, up-ing the protein content to what you see in store bought bars and bars that use protein powders is not possible. You are welcome to add protein powder to the recipe to fulfill your dietary needs, if extra protein is required and not being achieved through a regular whole food diet. The recipe is very flexible and there’s lots of room to play with it. This is the most basic of the versions we make on a regular basis.

  36. Barbara Downer June 21, 2013 at 3:36 pm #

    I tried your making your power bar recipe but it was too soft even though I followed your instructions. How can I make them firmer? Also, do you have a recipe that includes protein powder?

    • beyondthepeel June 21, 2013 at 4:49 pm #

      Hi Barbara. Thanks for your question. The bars will be soft if they are not refrigerated or kept in the freezer. Any bar or raw cookie recipe that is being held together by coconut oil will be like this. Coconut oil has a melting point of 76 F. For recipes that stay firm at any temperature, look for baked recipes. There are a few on this site. As for protein powder, we don’t use it on this site, since it’s not a whole food. I hope that’s helpful.

    • Barbara Downer June 22, 2013 at 10:32 am #

      Thanks for responding. I do have another question, do you have the nutrition breakdown on these bars – calories, fat, and carbs etc. content?

      • Barbara Downer June 22, 2013 at 10:36 am #

        Oh, yes I would like to know how much PROTEIN are in these bars. This is important for satisfying one’s hunger when one doesn’t want to skip meals, especially in controlling blood sugar levels. Your research on this would be very helpful to us.

      • beyondthepeel June 23, 2013 at 2:16 pm #

        I recommend that my readers use the website Livestrong or Fitness Pal for this information. You can enter any recipe you like, with the portions you choose and it gives you all the information you’re looking for. It also saves them so you can refer back to them at any time. Really handy if you’re calorie counting.

  37. Florita July 19, 2013 at 4:16 am #

    Chia seeds! Adds energy!

  38. Kristina December 14, 2015 at 5:22 am #

    Hi! We have made them for the second time and we adore these energy bars! We just add some goji berries for the taste and colour. It is a perfect substitution for chocolate cravings 😉


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