Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Copycat Pumpkin Perfect Bar (with Chocolate Chips!)
Perfect Bars are so tasty. But, far from "perfect" for an individual who struggles with dairy. *Most* varieties of perfect bars contain nonfat milk powder which is particularly high in the milk protein casein, as well as lactose (a milk sugar) and small amounts of whey (another milk protein).
I wanted to create a similar bar that was dairy-free, gluten-free, and high-protein. The soft-chewy texture of perfect bars comes largely from the nut butter base. Any nut butter will work, but I prefer cashew butter in recipes like this!
SIDE NOTE: When considering protein powders, I prefer a non-denatured, pasture-raised Whey Protein Isolate. This dairy protein contains a complete profile of essential and non-essential amino acids, and boasts a higher concentration of cysteine (which boosts glutathione levels). Whey Protein Isolate has the beneficial lactoferrin and immunoglobulins (thought to be the antiobesogenic and anti-inflammatory compounds of milk); with extra precaution to remove lactose and casein. An isolated whey tends to be less allergenic than other compounds in dairy (read: casein and lactose). It's worth a try even for a "dairy-sensitive" individual.
The beauty of these bars is the simplicity. NO BAKING REQUIRED! Simply mix up the dry ingredients, mix up the wet ingredients, put it all together and freeze for a bit before slicing. This is the kinda thing I like to put together on a Sunday evening so I'm stocked with snacks all through the week.
I found most of my ingredients from Thrive Market. If you don't know about Thrive Market, it’s an online market where you can shop for thousands of your favorite organic foods and natural products at 25-50% below traditional retail prices! They make it very easy to shop since you can filter their catalog of products by your own values and dietary preferences (even AIP!). Whether you are paleo, keto, or gluten-free --They've got it all. Click here to save 25% on your first order.
I'm a pumpkin-all-year-round kinda girl (I have to limit myself) BUT these can easily be adjusted seasonally. Replace pumpkin puree with mashed banana or sweet potato. Try replacing the Pumpkin Spice with Cinnamon and Cayenne for a spicy kick.
Other substitutions for the flours could be coconut flour, cassava flour, or tiger nut flour.
CopyCat Pumpkin + Chocolate Chip Perfect Bars
Soft-Texture + High-Protein + Fall Inspired
1/2 Cup Almond Flour
1/2 Cup Oat Flour
1/2 Cup Whey Protein Isolate (Vanilla)
1/4 Cup Collagen Peptides
2 tsp Pumpkin Pie Spice
1 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 Cup Cashew Butter (or nut butter of choice)
1/4 Cup Pumpkin Puree
1/4 Cup Raw Honey
1 tsp Vanilla
Lots of Dark Chocolate Chips + Extra Flaky Sea Salt (for topping)
1. In a large bowl, mix flours + protein powders with spices and salt
2. Separately combine Nut Butter, Pumpkin, Honey, and Vanilla
3. Add wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until smooth
4. Spread mixture into a lined 8x8 dish (easier cleanup). Depending on desired thickness, it may not fill the dish.
5. Sprinkle and press chocolate chips on top, finish with flaky sea salt
6. Freeze for 30 mins before slicing into bars
7. These are best stored in the refrigerator or freezer as they tend to melt into a gloopy mess quickly!
Eating healthy doesn't have to be a chore. Find food that WORKS for you, and find enjoyment in it! Often, ingredients can be substituted to fit your dietary needs. Not sure where to start? Reach out to Kate, let's get your gut sorted!
Shop this recipe: