When it comes to these No-Bake Carrot Cake Protein Bars, you can have your cake and eat it, too! High in protein, and low in calories and carbs, these chewy protein bars are made with collagen peptides protein powder, shredded carrots, maple syrup, cream cheese, coconut flour and cinnamon. They're a wonderful healthy twist on the fall dessert--and a lifesaver if you have a carrot cake craving and no time to whip something up.
**For a vegan option, go to the variation section, HERE
Ingredients used to make these No-Bake Carrot Cake Protein Bars
**I've linked some of these ingredients to amazon.com to give you an idea of what they are, but you should also be able to find them in your local grocery store (usually, the natural & organic food section). They are also affiliate links, which means that I earn a commission as an Amazon Associate if you decide to purchase the items. The price will be the same for you, link or no link 🙂
- Collagen Peptides - I used Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder for this recipe. You can use other brands of collagen peptides and get the same result.
- Note that most commercial forms of collagen peptides are not suitable for vegan diets, as collagen is most abundant in skin, nails, bones and ligaments and is thus sourced from animals. The Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides Powder I used in this recipe was sourced from the hides of grass-fed, pasture-raised cows. To make this vegan, try using a plant based protein powder like Orgain.
- Note on using other Protein Powders in this recipe: I haven't tried using other types of protein powders (i.e. whey, casein, pea, hemp, brown rice, egg protein, etc) in this recipe, but just from experience I know that collagen recipes require less liquid to hold the protein dough together. My suggestion for substituting collagen peptides is to add additional almond milk or water. 1-2 Tablespoons should be enough (just my guess, so I could be wrong!), but DO add half tablespoons of liquid at a time just in case, so you don't overhydrate the dough.
- Coconut Flour - Packed with fiber and nutrients, coconut flour is a great low carb flour that is gluten-free, wheat free, and grain-free. Coconut flour is also nut-free (even though it's called coco-nut) because it's made from coconut flesh (which is a fruit, not a nut) that’s been dried and then grind into small flour particles. Coconut flour has a mild, somewhat tropical flavor. Here is a brand of coconut flour I like to use.
- Cinnamon powder - like this one
- Carrot – Known for their high beta carotene, vitamin K1, and potassium, carrots are full of fiber and antioxidants and make great crunchy midday snacks! I used thinly shredded carrots for this recipe so that they’re well incorporated with the other ingredients. I used a box shredder/ grater like this one.
- Maple Syrup - I used maple syrup for this recipe but you can use other liquid sweeteners of choice like honey, agave syrup, or liquid stevia
- Cream Cheese - I’ve tried using both dairy and vegan cream cheese made from almond milk, and both turn out delicious.
- Almond Milk - I used unsweetened almond milk, but any milk (dairy or dairy free) works in this recipe. You can even use water.
Step by Step Guide
How to Make No-Bake Carrot Cake Protein Bars
Stir the shredded carrots and maple syrup together and cook in a microwave safe glass bowl for 60-90 seconds until the carrots are hot and appear cooked. Wait until cool enough to handle.
In another clean bowl, mix the dry ingredients: collagen peptides powder, coconut flour, and cinnamon powder.
Next, mix in the cooked carrots (along with the maple syrup in the bowl), as well as the cream cheese --and use your hands to knead and get the dough to combine together.
Add more coconut flour if the dough is too soft, add a teaspoon or more of water, maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice if the dough is too thick
Shape dough into a rectangular mound, then wrap in plastic wrap or an airtight container, and let the dough set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Slice into bars.
Recipe Variations and Optional Add Ins:
- Feel free to experiment with natural flavoring / extracts. Add a teaspoon of vanilla extract (I didn't feel like it was essential so I left it out in this recipe), or other flavorings or extracts, such as lemon extract or raspberry extract
Just keep in mind that some extracts contain alcohol, and since this is a no-bake recipe, the alcohol won't have a chance to fully evaporate. If serving this to kids, or if you're sensitive to alcohol, be sure to use non-alcoholic extracts or flavorings. Here are some non-alcoholic brands, here: Non-alcoholic peppermint extract, non-alcoholic vanilla extract
Variation 1: Vegan Protein Bars
Instead of collagen powder, use a plant based protein powder like Orgain. Also, instead of dairy cream cheese you can use a vegan cream cheese alternative, like Kite Hill Cream Cheese or Tofutti. Keep in mind that plant based protein powders need additional liquid to hold the protein dough together, so add almond milk or other dairy milk of choice to the dough 1-2 Tbsp at a time until the dough combines together without falling apart.
Variation 2: turn them into protein balls
Instead of making protein bars, you can also roll the dough into balls for bite sized snacks
How to Make this Healthier
- Make this even healthier by adding a handful of nuts, seeds and old-fashioned oats to add texture and nutrition. Even better, add a tablespoon of ground flaxseed, hemp seeds, or chia seeds.
Delicious Add-In Ideas for Protein Balls (and Protein Bars, too!)
Adding color, texture and variety to your grab-and-go snacks is one way to keep protein balls / protein bars fun and interesting. From dried fruits to confetti sprinkles, the options are pretty much endless. For more delicious add ins and flavoring ideas for your protein snacks, check out this post for 10+ Amazing Add Ins & Flavor Variations for Protein Balls
How to Store
- Store these protein bars covered in the fridge for up to 3-5 days.
- These protein bars also freeze very well! Seal them inside a airtight container or ziploc bag and freeze them in a single layer so that they don't stick together. I recommend double-bagging if you want to keep out the fridge smell.
- Coconut flour behaves differently sometimes depending on brands, so if you find that the dough is too soft, add more coconut flour; if the dough is too thick, add a teaspoon or more of water, honey or liquid sweetener of choice.
- I haven't used other protein powders to make this particular recipe, so substitute at your own risk!
No-Bake Carrot Cake Collagen Protein Bars (Low Carb, Low Calorie Treats!)
For the greek yogurt frosting (optional)
- ½ recipe almond flour frosting recipe , click link to go to recipe
- Stir the shredded carrots and maple syrup together and cook in a microwave safe glass bowl for 60-90 seconds until the carrots are hot and appear cooked. Wait until cool enough to handle.
- In another clean bowl, mix the dry ingredients: collagen peptides powder, coconut flour, and cinnamon powder.
- Next, mix in the cooked carrots (along with the maple syrup in the bowl), as well as the cream cheese --and use your hands to knead and get the dough to combine together.Add more coconut flour if the dough is too soft, add a teaspoon or more of water, maple syrup or liquid sweetener of choice if the dough is too thick
- Add some chopped nuts or raisins into the dough for additional texture, if desired.
- Shape dough into a rectangular mound, then wrap in plastic wrap or an airtight container, and let the dough set in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
- Slice into bars.
- Top with frosting if desired. The protein bars can be enjoyed with or without additional frosting, which I added for decoration purposes.