I’ll preface this post by saying that it is very, very long overdue.
It’s always a surprise to see what recipes end up being most popular on the blog, and to look at the terms people have searched to land here. These typically involve the words ‘eat spin run repeat’ in varying combinations, or questions about running, spinning, spinach allergies, anemia, journal prompts, watermelon cakes and DIY fruit bouquets. There have also been plenty of entertaining queries like “will spin give me man thighs”, “most bizarre cycling outfits ever”, and “spinning chandelier pose”. Is that a thing? If so, this is clearly not a very good place to learn about it.
On the Pinterest front, one of my all-time most popular pins is from years ago when I wrote about these circa-2013 Lemon Poppyseed Protein Squares. That doesn’t feel like that long ago, but 1 year is like a dog year in blog land (at least for me) when it comes to photo quality.
Back in 2013 I was really into baking with whey protein powders and Greek yogurt, and that’s what those protein squares were made with. Since then, I’ve removed dairy from my diet (due to acne and sinus reasons) and a whole bunch of you have asked how to make the recipe vegan-friendly. If you’re one of those readers, you will be very happy to know that this feat has been accomplished!
The older recipe had a fairly dense cakey texture, and this new one does too. Rather than egg whites I’ve used a chia egg, and to do this, all you need to do is leave 1 tbsp of chia seeds in 3 tbsp of water. Fifteen minutes is plenty of time for it to gel, and at that point you can mix a chia egg into recipes just like you would a regular egg.
Another swap I made was taking out the yogurt and applesauce in favour of coconut oil. I have nothing against apple sauce but at the time there was none to be found in my kitchen. Coconut oil is one of my favourite pantry staples, and I use it for cooking, moisturizing my skin, and making DIY body scrubs. The coconut taste isn’t really detectible in these squares, so not to worry if you’re not a fan. This swap may be the reason for the most noticeable difference between the two recipes, which is that when the vegan version comes out of the oven, it’s much darker in colour.
Colour aside, the new and improved Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Squares are super moist and full of zesty lemon flavour. They’ve also received a great big stamp of approval from my co-workers, so I think you’ll probably enjoy them too! ?
Vegan Lemon Poppy Seed Protein Squares
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 35 mins
Ingredients (6-8 squares)
- 1 chia egg (1 tbsp ground chia mixed with 3 tbsp water, left to sit for 15 mins)
- 1 1/2 cups gluten free rolled oats, ground into a flour
- 1 scoop Vanilla Vega Performance Protein
- 3 tbsp stevia baking blend
- 2 tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp poppy seeds
- 3/4 cup almond milk or other non-dairy milk
- 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
- 2 tbsp lemon zest
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 6 tbsp coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 350. Line a baking dish (about 4×8″) with a piece of parchment paper and set aside.
In a small bowl, make your chia egg by whisking the chia seeds and water together. Set aside and allow it to gel.
In a large mixing bowl, stir together the dry ingredients (oats through poppy seeds).
Add the almond milk, lemon juice and zest, vanilla and coconut oil to the smaller bowl containing the chia egg. Stir well, then pour them into the dry bowl and mix until evenly incorporated.
Pour the batter into the lined baking dish and bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove the dish from the oven and allow it to cool completely before lifting the parchment out and slicing the loaf into bars.
So tell me…
- Do you have any recipes you wish were vegan, gluten-free, or in general, just healthier? I’m always up for a challenge so feel free to send them my way!
- Any baking pros want to validate my assumption about coconut oil? Does it make baked goods darker?