As someone who lives with chronic fatigue, protein powder is a pretty big part of my life. Bigger than I’d like it to be, at least–but it’s a product that fits a lot of lifestyles. Whether you need a quick fix because you’re tired, busy, or just finishing a workout, I think a lot of us out there could use a little extra help every now and then.
My protein powder of choice has always been Vega, because of their wide range of offerings and zero added sugar. (The blends are sweetened instead with all-natural stevia. I’m not crazy about the aftertaste of stevia, but I definitely prefer it to high fructose corn syrup). So far, I’ve tried their French Vanilla, Vanilla Chai, and now Chocolate flavours. I’d have to say that the Vega One Vanilla Chai is my favourite, but I like the flexibility of the chocolate. It mixes well into any recipe calling for a blend of cocoa powder and sugar, so you can turn any treat into a high-protein snack!
Vega Sport Performance
Vega Sport Performance is Vega’s workout blend, with 30 grams of protein, 3 grams of dietary fibre, and 1 billion CFU probiotics in each scoop of powder. It’s enriched with tart cherry and turmeric (I’m not a big believer in antioxidants, but turmeric is one healthy-eating trend that I can really get behind), and each scoop of powder contains only 3 grams of fat and 3 grams of sugar.
There are a lot of different Vega powders, but Sport Performance is made specifically for those who take their workout routines really seriously. (In other words, I’m not really the target demographic for this product, but I’ll be darned if that’s going to stop me from turning it into protein-packed desserts.) The Vega Sport Performance blend contains more protein and BCAAs than any other Vega drink mix to “help build and repair muscles,” and is slightly more calorie-dense than the Vega Clean Protein line.
Unlike Vega’s active lifestyle protein powders, Vega Sport Performance doesn’t contain greens. It’s made mostly from pea protein and cocoa powder, with natural flavouring and xanthan gum for texture.
Brownie Batter Freezer Fudge
When I think of the perfect post-workout drink, my mind always goes directly to chocolate milk. But I’m a big ‘ol fan of “backpack snacks,” AKA anything that can be tossed into a bag without having to worry about spilling, leaking, refrigeration, or utensils, so I decided to make the next best thing to chocolate milk: brownies.
Vega’s Brownie Batter Freezer Fudge recipe stuck out to me because you still get that post-workout hit of chocolate, protein, and nutrients, but you get it in a solid format. I may be alone on this, but I like chewing things. It makes me feel like I’ve worked out hard enough to deserve a snack–unlike drinking thick liquids, which mostly just makes me feel like I’ve just gotten my tonsils out again.
Or like I’m a baby. The two situations are the same, really.
Brownie Batter Freezer Fudge recipe
- 1 (15oz) can black beans
- 1/2 cup coconut oil
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 3/4 cup cocoa powder
- 1/2 scoop Chocolate Vega® Sport
Vega’s recipe for Brownie Batter Freezer Fudge couldn’t be easier. I rinsed and drained a can of black beans and simply tossed them into a blender with the coconut oil, maple syrup, salt, and vanilla extract called for in this recipe. Then, I pulsed the blender for a few minutes until the ingredients were mostly mixed.
I then blended the cocoa powder and Chocolate Vega Sport powder in a bowl and added them to the bean paste. This is the toughest part of the recipe, and it’s really not tough at all: you just need to give the powders a quick mix by hand into the paste so that they won’t just puff around on top when you turn the blender on.
To get the bean skins blended really finely and the coconut oil thoroughly mixed with the other ingredients, I let the mixture run on high for 2 minutes. For my fudge batter, the time is necessary because the blender heats the coconut oil to a liquid, allowing it to mix more thoroughly into the cocoa powder, but you might only need a minute or so if you don’t heat your home like you’re the neighbourhood’s current reigning Frost Queen.
Your finished result should look a lot like edible play-doh, thick and homogeneous.
From there, just press your “freezer fudge” batter into a square cake pan lined with waxed paper. Gently press sprinkles or your desired topping onto the surface with a spatula (if desired) and freeze for 1 1/2 hours. Remove from the freezer, slice, and
store snack away!
I like these fudge bars as tasty meal replacements, but they’re perfect as a post-workout snack, too. They’re full of good fats thanks to the coconut oil, and one 9×9 tray of nine squares contains around 15 grams of protein, so you can definitely snack on two or three at a time.
How you could tweak this recipe
Vega protein powders are all quite versatile, and none more so than the chocolate flavour. Depending on your dietary needs, there are a number of easy ways in which you could tweak this recipe to better fit your lifestyle!
For starters, your Vega powder of choice doesn’t have to be Sport Performance. Vega Protein & Greens will offer a very similar flavour with the addition of a serving of greens (two servings per scoop), and Vega One will deliver similar results with less of an emphasis on protein; more of an emphasis on fibre.
If you’re looking for a more complex fudge flavour, add a 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and a pinch of nutmeg to your base mix. Or, for a maple syrup alternative, add your sweetener of choice instead–I know agave nectar is popular right now, especially for those with allergies, and it can be subbed in in equal amounts. Vega recommends using 1/4 to 1/2 cups of sweetener for this recipe, and I tried 1/4 cups initially. The resulting squares taste a lot more like dark, cocoa-rich chocolate, and the bitter edge is quite nice!
For a softer treat, store your finished product in the fridge instead of the freezer, and remember: it’s never to late to give your post-workout snacks a protein-filled upgrade.