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Vegan Carrot Cake Breakfast Bars with quinoa and hemp hearts for added protein!Pin It Button - Simply Quinoa

Who wants a slice of carrot cake for breakfast?  Me, me, me!

When it comes to breakfast, you know by now I’m all about the sweetness. Gimme a slice of cake and I’d be a happy girl, BUT breakfast is also our most important meal of the day, so I know better than to fill my belly with refined sugars and carbohydrates.

Cake for breakfast = recipe for disaster.

Well…unless it’s vegan carrot cake comin’ at ya in the form of quinoa breakfast bars!

Cake for breakfast? You betcha! This vegan carrot cake is so healthy it's totally breakfast worthy!

But like how can cake be healthy enough for breakfast, right? That’s a valid question… because most of the time it can’t.

This time though, when it has ingredients like these bars do, carrot cake definitely becomes an acceptable breakfast option.

Here’s what we’re working with (and why these totally rock):

  • Naturally high in protein
  • No refined sugars
  • Whole fruits + veggies
  • Healthy fats from nuts and seeds

The secret to making this vegan carrot cake healthy? Using quinoa and chickpeas!

Quick secret to share with you about this recipe: it’s actually a spin off my pumpkin chocolate chip bars :)

I make a few tweaks so they were a bit more carrot cake friendly, but they still have the amazingly soft and fluffy texture with a super clean ingredient list. Like is it crazy to put chickpeas in your cake? And what about sweetening it with fruits and low-glycemic coconut sugar? OR what about using NO oil whatsoever?

Thing is, that’s how I want us to roll around here. Simple, clean, healthy and sometimes just a little surprising.

Plus, as you can see from the picture below, just because we have “different” ingredients, it certainly doesn’t affect the texture at all!

Mmmm it’s soft, fluffy and totally cake-like!

This vegan carrot cake has the most amazing texture! And you'll never guess what's inside...clean, healthy and simple! [gluten-free]

Now before I let you go, I have to just mention the frosting…

It’s hard to have carrot cake without frosting, BUT I didn’t want to compromise the integrity of the recipe by topping it with something that’s filled with sugar. So instead, I found an amazing paleo frosting recipe that uses coconut butter! I was shocked at how creamy it was; just the perfect topping for this carrot cake.

Of course, you don’t have to use a frosting, it does make it a bit more decadent. But if you wanted this breakfast bar to serve as either a breakfast OR a dessert, then the frosting is totally worthwhile. I also fully stand behind the addition of the walnuts on top. So delicious!

Your turn…

Are you on the sweet or savory side of things when it comes to breakfast? And what is your go-to? I’m always interested to see what others eat for breakfast since I so easily get stuck in my smoothie bowl rut. Luckily carrot cake has been on the menu lately 😉

xo Alyssa

An absolutely EPIC vegan carrot cake recipe that uses chickpeas and quinoa....AND it's healthy enough for breakfast! {vegan + gluten-free}

5.0 from 2 reviews
Vegan Carrot Cake Quinoa Breakfast Bars
Prep time
10 mins
Cook time
25 mins
Total time
35 mins
Serves: 16 bars
  • 1 flax egg (1½ tablespoons flaxseed meal + 3 tablespoons water)
  • 1 cup cooked chickpeas
  • ½ cup mashed banana (about 1 large banana)
  • ½ cup unsweetened applesauce
  • ¾ cup quinoa flour
  • ½ cup coconut sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • ½ teaspoon ground vanilla bean (or 1 teaspoon vanilla extract)*
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup hemp hearts
  • ½ cup grated carrots
  • ¼ cup chopped walnuts + more for topping (optional)
  • Coconut Buttercream Frosting (optional & I used ¼ cup maple sugar instead of honey)**
  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease and line an 8x8 baking pan with parchment and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the flaxseed meal and water in a small bowl. Set aside for 5 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, blend the chickpeas, banana and applesauce in a food processor until completely smooth.
  4. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients, reserving the hemp hearts, carrot and walnuts. Pour the chickpea puree into the bowl along with the flax egg and mix to combine.
  5. Fold in the hemp hearts, grated carrot and walnuts.
  6. Dump the batter into the prepared pan. Bake on the center rack for 22 - 26 minutes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
  7. Let cool in the pan for 10 - 15 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack and cool completely before frosting and slicing.
  8. Slice into 12 - 16 bars. Store in an airtight container for 2 - 3 days.
*If you can't find vanilla powder, substitute 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract and add the vanilla to the food processor while blending the wet ingredients.
** If you don't want to make that frosting, you could also try the frosting I have in this recipe just substitute white sweet potatoes and no turmeric



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If I could eat cake for breakfast everyday, I TOTALLY would! That's why I'm loving the ingredient list in these VEGAN CARROT CAKE bars...healthy, clean and high-protein!

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Simply Quinoa, Alyssa Rimmer

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I'm Alyssa, the writer and photographer behind the gluten-free website Simply Quinoa. My passion is creating wholesome, nutrient-rich recipes all with a little quinoa twist.