Recently I teamed up with Pulsin to try out some experiments using their wide range of plant based protein powders. Coming from a background of eating dairy, I literally only ever used whey and occasionally casein. Now that I follow a plant based diet, I have been working my way through a wide range of options to see what one suits me best. I was lucky enough to receive this delivery…
The 5 powders I was set to compare were:
(% Protein Content per 100g).
Nutritionally they all differ, both in terms of macros and amino acid profiles. This first test was around the texture and flavour in raw bars to decide which in my opinion worked best.
Part 1: Powerbars
I made a base mixture consisting of 150g Almonds and 150g Cashews ground into a chunky flour then combined with 300g Medjool Dates (soaked in water). This recipe is a fool proof one for easy raw bars and so easy to adapt too.
To test the different powders I simply divided the mixture up into 5 portions of 120g each (so it should be 40g Cashews, 40g Almond and 40g Dates per bar) then added the different powders into a bowl and mixed it up.
Straight away when mixing, the powders they all acted slightly different. The hemp and sunflower even when mixed were a little wet, whereas the soya was a lot drier. I’m not sure if this is to do with the higher protein content, but it definitely made a difference.
The hemp and sunflower were both a really soft texture but I found the sunflower taste a little bitter like some seeds can be. The hemp was earthy but pretty tasty (plus I loved the dark colour). The pea protein one was a nice texture, but I really can’t stand the pea protein flavour – it gets me every time. Brown rice protein has quite a bitter flavour but texture wise was really nice and nutritionally one of the best. Soya – being the highest protein of the lot was actually my favourite. It didn’t have too strong a flavour and if you added other ingredients like cinnamon and vanilla then this would be a perfect protein bar.
Overall I would when making bars, it really comes down to preference, macronutrient and amino acid preference. The texture varies slightly – but not enough to truly effect the overall bar itself.
Part 2: Vitafiber Protein Cookies
The second part of my experiment was to see how well they baked into protein cookies. Now Vitafiber Cookies are something I have been making ever since discovering Vitafiber and so I know the method is pretty fool proof – however that was with using whey protein. My test was to see how the different proteins reacted once baked.
I used the 20g sachet and added 30g vitafiber. The mix felt quite dry and once pushed down in my silicone mould (greased with a little coconut oil) I baked it for 8 minutes. The result was dry, chewy and with a little crunch but overall fairly similar to whey.
Brown Rice Protein
I used 20g brown rice protein and 32g vitafiber for the texture to feel right. After 8 minutes the mix was still super soft so I baked it for another 2 minutes then took it out to cool. As I tried to pick it up it fell apart – It tasted bad too so brown rice protein for vitafiber cookies is a no go.
I used the 20g sachet of hemp protein with 30g vitafiber. The mix was very wet and hard to form into a cookie so realistically there was probably too much vitafiber. I baked it for 10 minutes and let it cool for a few minutes. Once cool I went to pick it up and the cookie base (although greased) stuck to the mould and broke in half. The flavour and texture was soft and cakey with a little chewiness and if it hadn’t stuck I think this would have been really enjoyable!
I used the 20g sachet and 34g vitafiber as at 30g it wouldn’t bind together. As with the bars I feel this may be due to the higher protein content. I baked it for 8 minutes and the texture came out really nice – crunchy, a little soft and a little chewy… My only downside is the pea protein flavour however if you are ok with this, then nutritionally it is one of the best and texture was also one of the best too.
The sachet for some reason only had 18g protein so I ended up using just 25g vitafiber. The mix was still very wet and sticky so very hard to form, however once baked for 8 minutes it came out perfect. Really soft and chewy, easy to pick up and the cooler it got, the more crunch it had so easily one of the best textures. Once again the bitter seed aftertaste was there but not enough to spoil the enjoyment.
Overall I would say texture wise the best were the sunflower, pea and soya protein – with my personal favourite being the soya. Nutritionally the soya is the highest protein however I would say for the perfect cookie (and with an even better amino profile) mixing the soya and sunflower together along with some cinnamon would be amazing.
Once again I just want to say a big thank you to Pulsin for sending me these products and allowing me to experiment. It was really interesting to find out how different powders acted and essentially what was discovered is the higher the protein content, the drier the mixture will be. Ideally combining powders will be your best option for both texture and amino profiles for the best nutrition and this is actually what pulsin do with their amazing protein bars (mixing both pea and brown rice together). If you are only planning on buying one then my preference would be to go for the soya protein.
I hope you enjoyed this article and let me know whats your favourite non-dairy protein over on twitter @MacroMitch