I am all about the matcha craze. I love the earthy taste and could eat it in anything and everything. From lattes, to muffins, to cakes, and even bagels, matcha is absolutely everywhere While some people may be regularly drinking and eating matcha, you still might not know exactly what even matcha is!
Matcha literally means "powdered tea". This tea comes from the very same plant as every other tea - Camellia sinensis. Matcha is made from the entire tea leaf, which imparts it with a higher caffeine content than regular tea; about 70-80 mg per cup. Using the whole tea leaf also leads matcha to being packed with antioxidants! Unlike coffee, the caffeine in matcha is slowly absorbed into our body over a 6-8 hour time, so you don't get the same jittery rush you might get from consuming coffee.
So what are the health benefits of matcha? Matcha is super high in antioxidants, which provide cancer-fighting properties. It also is very soothing and calming and can increase your focus and concentration. Finally, matcha can help you lose weight and help your athletic performance.
As matcha can be found in everything lately, I decided to try my hand at making matcha protein granola bars. These bars are sweet, gooey, and give you that much needed pick me up to fight the afternoon slump (you need protein to get through the rest of your day!).
As always, I used Vega Sport vanilla protein powder, but any brand will work. Some brands are even making matcha flavored protein now! Matcha can be found at most supermarkets now, but I actually picked up a package at a discount at Homegoods!
Alright, time for the recipe!
Gooey Matcha Protein Granola Bars
1/8 cup matcha powder (more if you want a bolder flavor)
2 cups granola
1/2 cup agave syrup
1/4 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup cacao nibs
1/4 cup unsweetened vanilla plant-milk
1/2 scoop (20g) plant-based protein powder
1/8-1/4 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes
Combine all the ingredients in a medium pan. Cook over medium heat for about 8 minutes, stirring frequently. You want to make sure all the ingredients melt together but do not start to burn. After about 8 minutes, removed the mix from heat. Pour the mix into a small pan or glass tupperware dish (8 x 6 in). Sprinkle the shredded coconut on top. Once cooled (about ten minutes), place in freezer. Let the bars chill for about 30 minutes before eating.
Cut the bars into 12 rectangles. Each rectangle is about 150 calories.