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Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Protein Bars | Raw | Long Haul Series™

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These homemade protein bars are absolutely packed full of peanutty flavor, protein, and oaty goodness. I designed this recipe as part of what I call my “Long Haul” series that I created for my stepdad, who is a trucker. They are raw (no baking required), gluten-free, vegan, not overly sweet, and have a wholesome chew that makes your taste buds look forward to the next bite.

raw vegan gluten-free sweet and salty peanut butter protein bars

Between the ages of 13-16, I would often go trucking with my dad, especially during the holidays. Somehow, I felt my presence sped things up so he could get home quicker–when in fact, I think I really slowed things down. I enjoyed this time with my dad; the endless highways disappearing under the 18-wheeler allowed us to spend “quality time” together.

He used to have a route in Alaska that departed from our hometown of Wasilla, looped around to Fairbanks, and then back home again.  Throughout his route, we would stop at all the lodges to deliver food. Without fail, every stop led to me dashing to use the restroom. You see, my dad taught me that if you use a public restroom, you should purchase something from them out of courtesy. To keep expenses down, I would always refill my soda pop cup, which only created a full bladder for the next stop.  It was a vicious cycle. After relieving myself and purchasing another refill, I would go help Dad. For hundreds and hundreds of miles, the cycle repeated itself.

raw vegan gluten-free sweet and salty peanut butter protein bars

Well, on this one particular trip, I’d had about all the soda pop that my little body could handle.  We were on a long stretch of highway.  The roads were filled with land mines called frost heaves, which led to a VERY rough ride. Dad would be cruising along in his air-glide-suspension-driver’s-seat.  I, on the other hand, sat on a block of concrete–well, a slightly padded “felt like concrete” seat–that vibrated to the point of giving me double vision.

I had my pop in hand, and I couldn’t bear to drink anymore, so I told Dad that I was going to toss it out the window (not the cup, just the liquid).  Looking straight ahead, hypnotized by the road, Dad told me not to do it, not a good idea.  “But Dad, I don’t want any more, I will just roll the window down, hang out the window and pour it as we drive.  We don’t even need to stop!”  Without looking at me, Dad once again told me not to do it, not a good idea. “But, but, but….”  Again without breaking his forward gaze, he yet again told me not to do it, not a good idea.

Pfft, what do dads know anyway? I would show him that my idea was a good idea. I rolled my window down, leaned out, poured my soda pop out.  I pulled myself back into the cab.  I sat there staring straight ahead with soda dripping down my face, my hair matted in sugary syrup.  I just blinked… silently.  I sat quietly, afraid to look at my dad.  He no longer could contain himself as laughter rolled from deep within his belly. “I told you not to do it, not a good idea.” LOL,  We both busted out in laughter.  If nothing else, I was always a comic relief for him as we passed endless miles under those 18 wheels. So once again, I dedicate this Long Haul bar to my dad, who spends countless hours, days, weeks, and months on the road.  I love you, Dad!

Thanks for giving me the time and space to share that wonderful memory with you. It’s moments like those that I will forever cherish. Before we dive into the recipe, I’d like to go over a few ingredients that are important to point out.

raw vegan gluten-free sweet and salty peanut butter protein bars

Vanilla Protein Powder Options

The Amount of Water

Gluten-Free Rolled Oats

Shapes, Sizes, & Dehydration

Well, it’s time to let you go so you can hop into the kitchen and rattle some pans. Please be sure to leave a comment below. blessings, amie sue

raw vegan gluten-free sweet and salty peanut butter protein barsIngredients:

Yields 8×8 pan = 12 bars




  1. Place the oats, protein powder, ground flax, and salt in the food processor, fitted with the “S” blade, and process till it breaks down to a small crumble. Place in a medium-sized bowl.
    • If you don’t have any protein powder on hand, you can by using either finely ground dried coconut, or inchi seed powder.
  2. Back in the food processor, combine the water, peanut butter, maple syrup, and date paste and process till mixed.
    • Start by adding 2 tablespoons of maple syrup. Once everything is mixed, you may need to add more if you used inchi powder or dried coconut, or if your protein powder is unsweetened.
  3. Add the dry ingredients back into the processor and mix everything.   This batter is very sticky.
    • If the batter feels too dry, add another tablespoon of water (more if needed). This can happen based on the viscosity of the peanut butter and how “wet” the date paste is that you made.
  4. Line an 8 x 8″ pan with plastic wrap and press the batter into the pan, firmly and evenly.  You might need to dampen your fingers with water, so it isn’t so sticky.
  5. Sprinkle the peanuts and sea salt on top and press them into the batter.
  6. Place in the freezer for 1 hour to firm up a bit.
  7. Remove and flip over onto a cutting board.  Cut into 12 bars and place on the mesh screens that come with the dehydrator.
  8. Dry at 145 degrees for 1 hour, then reduce to 115 (F) degrees for 8-10 hours or until desired dryness/moisture is met.
    • Drying time depends on several factors:
      • It will depend on how thick or thin you make the bars.
      • Temperature: The lower the temperature, the longer the drying time.  I recommend dehydrating them at 115 degrees (F) to preserve the enzymes and nutrients.  For bars, I do like to start it at 145 degrees (F) for 1 hour.  Read more about that here.
      • Humidity: The higher the humidity is in the room, the longer the dry time will be.
  9. Optional: Drizzle melted chocolate over the top of each bar. Wait for it to harden before wrapping for storage.
  10. Wrap individually.  Store on the countertop for 1-2 weeks (depending on moisture level left in the bars).  Store in the fridge for 2-4 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.  Be sure that they are well sealed.

The Institute of Culinary Ingredients™

Culinary Explanations:

  • Why do I start the dehydrator at 145 degrees (F)?  Click (here) to learn the reason.
  • When working with fresh ingredients, it is essential to taste test as you build a recipe.  Learn why (here).
  • Don’t own a dehydrator? Learn how to use your oven (here). I do, however honestly believe that it is a worthwhile investment. Click (here) to learn what I use.
raw vegan gluten-free sweet and salty peanut butter protein bars

22 thoughts on “Sweet and Salty Peanut Butter Protein Bars | Raw | Long Haul Series™

  1. Michèle says:

    I have been wanted to make bars…and this looks very tasty. What would be a good substitute for the protein powder?
    Thanks for such a great website. I am a fan :-)

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Michele,

      You can always try a nut flour in its place. I like to get that added protein in so I haven’t adjusted the recipe with any other ingredients. Nice to hear from you. Have a blessed day, amie sue

  2. sharon says:

    Amie Sue… you simply MUST sell your wares at our Peoples Food Co-Op in Rochester, MN !!! :-) <3

  3. elana says:

    This looks amazingly good. I’m wondering if you think I can replace vanilla protein powder with plain powder. I purchased a plain Vega protein powder which I don’t like so much and looking for ways to use it up. Can I add something with the plain powder to make up for the vanilla taste? Thanks! Elana

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Elana,

      I bet you could. Use and taste test the batter, see if you need to elevate any of the other flavors and then proceed as instructed. Let me know how it turns out. Have a wonderful Sunday. amie sue

  4. Rhondy says:

    Hello Amie Sue,

    I am in the process of completing my making my menu and shopping list for the upcoming week. These bars have been on my planning-to-do list, since receiving them in my email last week.

    I have become so protective of your recipes wanting the end result of efforts to meet expectations and honor the “work” you have put into developing a recipe. With that being said, may I ask a few question to help me along?

    1) The recipe calls for soaked and dehydrated oats. In the past, when attempting to do, the oats practically turned to to mush leaving me with a blob of sticky oats to place on the dehydrator tray. I have read your tutoriayl on soaking and dehydrating oats. Not sure what I am doing because you oats in the photo’s retained some of their pre-soaked appearance. Mine did not. I am not sure what I am doing. I used rolled organic oats (not quick oats), followed steps given for an overnight soak, and drain and rinse. Please advise.

    2) The recipe calls for date paste. May I substitute another sweetener. I am not sure if the dates are serving not only, as a sweetener, but as a binder as well. What can I replace it with.

    3) I have on hand Garden of Life’s Raw Meal has a complete protein make-up, but no detectable vanilla flavor. May I use it and add vanilla? If so, how much vanilla should I add? I love the idea of using a protein powder in the bar as I need to increase the protein and overall nutrient content of foods prepared for my family in particular and for especially, a growing teenage son.

    Please let me know what you think and please excuse the lengthy post.

    Please know that I remain grateful for the wonderful “service” you provide to all of us helping us to bring greater health and wellness to our families and friends.

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning dear Rhondy,

      I am so impressed with your organization of preplanning meals and being on top of it. Your an inspiration!

      Let me see if I can help you here…

      Regarding the oats… soaking and drying them will indeed make them mush up and create oat clusters after drying them, no way around it. I usually always have mine presoaked / dried so they are ready to go for recipes. I used soaked and dried ones for this recipe.

      Date paste… the role of the date paste is for sweetness but more for the binding action. Are you open to other dried fruits to make a paste out of? You can use figs, raisins, apricots, etc just know that each one lends a different flavor to the over-all recipe.

      As far as using the Garden of Life’s powder… you will are just fine in using that. I would add maybe a tbsp of vanilla extract or half of a vanilla bean (seeds from the pod only). The flavor isn’t to be strong, just comes together with the other ingredients to create the over-all flavor profile.

      I know what you create will be beautiful Rhondy… just put your heart and passion into and it will shine through. :) hugs, amie sue

      • Rhondy says:

        Hello Amie,

        Thank your for your thoughtful and detailed response.

        I am almost a month behind schedule with plans for making your Long Haul Sweet and Salty Peanut Bar. However, it is on my menu for sure this week.

        With regard to the substitution of the date paste, may I use another non fruit type ingredient that will perform the same function?

        For health reasons, I practice food combining and do not mix fruit with grains. (As I have shared with you before, doing so has helped members of my family to overcome health conditions and improve their overall wellness.)

        Please help me. I do not want to be “locked out” of experiencing any of your wonderful recipes if at all possible. What should I do?

        With thankfulness and much appreciation, I will wait for your guidance.


        • amie-sue says:

          Don’t think of it as being “behind” Rhondy, that might only add stress to your daily “duty list”… take all the recipes with grace and ease. That way you can thoroughly enjoy the process. :) Hmm, a substitute for non fruit…well the dried fruits act as a sweetener and binder. What do you think of using raw coconut butter? It solidifies at 76 degrees (F) so as long as the bars are not subjected to anything higher than that, it might work. I am not sure what sweeteners you use, if any… so you will have to adjust that as you go.

          I hope this helps some and brings you some inspiration. Have a happy day! amie sue

  5. ben says:

    Another great creation. Thanks, Amie-Sue. I didn’t have some of the ingredients, so there were substitutions galore. And I made them in cookie shapes instead of bars. But they are delightful nonetheless.

    • amie-sue says:

      Thank you Ben… I am positive that your version came out wonderful! :) Thank you for sharing. Today, I am going to be creating raw treats for Christmas gifts and a perfect day for it… large snow flakes are covering the ground, creating a majestic view from the kitchen window. Many blessings and happy holidays. amie sue

  6. Veronique says:

    Hello from France Amie-Sue and THANK you sooo much for all those precious treasures on your website, I just LOVE them and enjoy very much trying your recipes.

    Most of the time I succeed to find in France all the ingredients that you use. I just have a problem with the GF oats that I can find in France, any thing GF that I can use instead ?
    Thanks again for your beautiful website and for your answer.
    Have a lovely day !

    • amie-sue says:

      Good morning Veronique,

      Your welcome and Thank You for all the sweet words. I understand the frustration with not being able to get your hands on certain ingredients. I have been in those challenging situations myself. Instead of oats, you can try a combination of buckwheat (soaked, sprouted) and perhaps almond flour.

      Oats do have their own flavor but it’s not a strong one, therefore it allows the other ingredients to shine through a bit more. So whatever you decide to use, just think about the flavor that it will impart.

      I hope this helps some. I wish I were in France to go grocery-store hopping to see what is available to you. :) Blessings, amie sue

      P.S. you can always share a list of similar type foods to me and I can pick from it.

  7. Veronique says:

    Good morning Amie Sue and thank you very much for your fast answer.
    Your suggestion for the buckwheat (that I just LOVE) and the almond flour is great.
    I was wondering if I could maybe use chickpeas flakes or chestnut flakes instead of the oats also ?
    Thank you and have a beautiful day !

    • amie-sue says:

      Hello Veronique,

      Oh, so glad that my suggestion was well received. :) To be honest, I haven’t ever seen or heard of chickpea or chestnut flakes, so I can really comment on those. Might be worth the experiment though. :) Off to enjoy my beautiful day… amie sue

  8. cathy says:

    Hi Amie-Sue.
    Love that I came across your site. We are transitioning into healthier eating, consisting of more raw and vegetarian and less meat. I like the sound of this recipe and will be giving it a go tonight. Question, I have hemp protein powder. Will that work in lieu of the vanilla protein? And, the 2 cups of oats is measured AFTER it’s been soaked and dried, correct?

    Thanks! :)

    • amie-sue says:

      I am so happy that you came across my site as well. :) The answer to both of your questions is YES :) I hope you enjoy the bars. Keep me posted. Blessings, amie sue

  9. Lyn says:

    Howdy Amie Sue, You brought back a memory for me….my dad would always tell me to purchase something from the gas station (or grocery store), if I used their restroom too !!! :] You are a crack up , with the soda pop incident !!! LOL Can’t wait to get over these allergies, so I can get back to making all of your yummy recipes !!
    :] Lyn

    • amie-sue says:

      I love the “common courtesy” lessons that we learned from our fathers. :) I can’t wait for YOUR allergies to subside as well!! Great to hear from you my friend. hugs, amie sue

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