smoothie on plate - 7 ways to hack your protein powder

The beauty of protein powder is in its simplicity. It’s a meal. It’s a snack. It’s a post work-out pick-me-up. It’s the only thing you can drink instead of lunch and not have people question your life choices. It’s healthy and filling and only ever requires two dishes: blender and spoon.

That said, you can also use protein powder as a base and really jazz it up. It can be a simple way to add protein to your existing recipes or a prime ingredient for a whole new creation. If you go through a lot of protein powder, having an extended set of recipes will keep your relationship with it fresh, making it a treat you look forward to having every day.

Here are 7 of our favourite recipes involving protein powder, from classic shakes to breakfast options to healthy desserts. You can use your protein powder of choice for these. We always recommend reading the labels before you buy and making sure you’re using a high-quality protein that doesn’t contain anything you’d rather not consume.

1. Chai Protein Smoothie

½ – 1 tsp cinnamon
½ tsp cardamom
½ inch – 1 inch fresh ginger, sliced
Pinch of fennel seeds
Pinch of cloves
5 peppercorns, crushed (optional)
1 serving protein powder
4 oz milk (dairy or non-dairy. We love cashew milk in this)
4 oz strong black tea, hot or cooled

Instructions: if making this beverage cold, mix all ingredients together until smooth. If making it hot, bring the spices and the tea to a boil in a small saucepan. Steep for at least 10 minutes. Add milk and bring back up to a simmer. Remove from heat, add protein powder, mix well and enjoy.

2. Creamsicle Protein Shake

1 serving protein powder
4 oz orange juice
4 oz milk (dairy or non-dairy)
Handful of crushed ice
Whipped cream (dairy or non-dairy)

Instructions: put all the ingredients except whipped cream into a blender and blend until smooth. Top with a dollop of whipped cream. So simple. So decadent.

3. Oatmeal Breakfast Bars

(adapted from The Buttercream’s delicious Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies)
3 bananas
2 cups oats
¼ cup almond butter
1 serving protein powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey, maple syrup or agave
1 cup fresh or frozen berries
¼ cup hemp seeds

Instructions: line an 8 x 8 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Mix bananas and almond butter in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add the oats, protein powder, cinnamon and liquid sweetener and mix well, adjusting the sweetness to taste.

Fold mixture into baking pan. Top with berries and hemp seeds. Bake at 350 F for 10-12 minutes or until the edges appear dry and the centre is firm. Cut into bars once cooled.

4. High-Protein Banana Bread

loaf of banana bread - 7 ways to hack your protein powder

3 ripe bananas
½ tsp vanilla
1 egg (or flax egg for a vegan recipe)
3 tbsp melted coconut oil
½ cup liquid sweetener
3 ½ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
½ tsp cinnamon
¾ cup milk (dairy or non-dairy)
1 serving protein powder
1 ¼ cup each: almond meal, oats, flour

Instructions: mix wet ingredients and dry ingredients in separate bowls. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and stir together to combine. Line a loaf pan with parchment paper. Fold mixture into loaf pan.
Bake at 350F for 60 – 75 minutes or until edges are golden and centre is firm.

5. Extra-Protein Vanilla Chia Pudding

¼ cup chia seeds
1 ½ cups milk (dairy or non-dairy)
2 tbsp almond butter
1 serving protein powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg (freshly grated is the gold standard)
1 tbsp liquid sweeter of choice

Instructions: mix all ingredients in a large jar until the almond butter is well-combined. Test and adjust for sweetness. Seal the jar and shake well. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy in the morning.

6. High-Protein Chocolate Pudding

1 serving protein powder
1 tbsp cocoa powder
2-3 ripe, soft avocados
1-2 tbsp liquid sweetener of choice

Instructions: Mix all the ingredients in a blender or food processor until smooth. Adjust sweetness and cocoa level to taste. More cocoa might be necessary if your avocados have a strong flavour. If the pudding is too thick, add a little water or coconut water to get the desired consistency. If it’s too thin, add another avocado.

7. Fancy Protein Truffles

(The base for these is The Minimalist Baker’s incredible 5-Ingredient Protein Balls)

1 cup almond butter
5 dates, softened with water if using dried instead of fresh
2/3 cup hemp seeds
¼ cup ground chia seeds
1 serving protein powder

Fillings (optional):
Whole roasted almonds or hazelnuts, unsweetened dried cherries or crystallized ginger

Toppings (optional):
100g melted dark chocolate
Crushed hazelnuts or almonds
Unsweetened shredded coconut
Crystallized ginger, finely chopped
Unsweetened cocoa powder

Instructions: blend all the ingredients for the base in a food processor until well combined and slightly sticky. Add more seeds if the mixture is too soft to hold together. Add a little water if mixture is dry. Adjust sweetness for taste.

Roll into balls, using a tablespoon to measure. If desired, press an almond, hazelnut, cherry or piece of ginger into the centre of the ball and reform it. Keep the balls on waxed or parchment paper while you prepare the toppings.

If desired, drop the balls into the melted chocolate and gently roll until coated, placing them back on the waxed paper to dry. You can also place the other toppings into separate bowls and roll the balls directly in the other toppings, sifting until each ball is evenly coated. If you want to be very fancy, you can coat the balls in chocolate and sprinkle them with one of the other toppings before the chocolate dries. The sky’s the limit on creating a variety of beautiful and delicious truffles!

Hope these recipes give you some inspiration for taking your protein powder to the next level.

featured image: Alexander Mils; image 1: Airin Party