Based in Sydney, Australia, Foundry is a blog by Rebecca Thao. Her posts explore modern architecture through photos and quotes by influential architects, engineers, and artists.

Need more protein in your diet? Try these nut and sugar-free coconut chocolate chip soft chew cookies.

Need more protein in your diet? Try these nut and sugar-free coconut chocolate chip soft chew cookies.

I’ve never been very good at including enough protein in my diet. 

I’m not sure why this is the case. Maybe it’s because, so often, I hear the word ‘protein’ associated with vanity-related things like improving muscle tone, building leaner bodies or staying full for longer periods of time, as opposed to health or nutrition. 

But protein is so much more than just these things; it is essential to good health. I mean, our entire body is controlled by it - from our organs, to every function of our cells. We need protein to make blood, connective tissue, hair, enzymes, antibodies and so much more. And although proteins are technically made from molecules within our bodies, these molecules ultimately come from food the we eat.

One thing I know for sure, consuming less than the recommended daily amount of protein has nothing to do with a plant-based diet because there is no shortage of options when it comes to plant-based protein. I just need to do a much better job of consuming more of it!

One of my favorite ways to do this is to explore new ingredients and play with different recipes at home. Not only is it more cost-effective, but with homemade versions of anything, there is always the opportunity to make it cleaner or tailor it to your specific needs.

This Coconut Chocolate Chip Soft Chew recipe combines popped amaranth, chocolate protein powder, hemp seeds and sunflower seed butter, make it a protein powerhouse - and it’s made with absolutely no nuts or sugar. They’re perfect for in-between meals, when you’re on-the-go, or in need of a guilt-free late night nibble.

Full disclosure: I used popped amaranth, which, in all honesty, was not my favorite method.  It took several attempts to pop the amaranth without burning it, and my stove and kitchen floor was covered in the tiny seeds by the time I was finished. For the next batch of soft chews, I’m going to try a version using boiled, then cooled, amaranth instead - so you may want to do this too!

Coconut Chocolate Chip Soft Chews

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Yields: 8-10 servings (1 soft chew = 1 serving)


  • 1/2 cup amaranth, popped
  • 1.5 cups puffed millet
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 2 tbsp ground flaxseeds
  • 3 tbsp filtered water
  • 3 tbsp hemp seeds
  • 2 (heaping) tbsp sunflower seed butter
  • 1 tbsp maca root powder
  • 3 tbsp monk fruit liquid sweetener
  • handful of unsweetened shredded coconut
  • 1/4 cup lily's stevia sweetened chocolate chips


  • Place chia seeds and water in a bowl and set aside for 10-15 minutes to form a gel.
  • To pop the amaranth, place a sauce pan or deep soup-style pot on medium heat. Before starting, add a drop of water to the pot - if it evaporates immediately, it is warm enough.
  • Add amaranth to the pot, 1-2 tablespoons add a time. Give the pot a quick shake so that the seeds are spread evenly. Popping should start within 5-10 seconds and last for another 10 or so seconds. Once you hear 2-3 seconds between popping noises, remove the p0t and add the popped amaranth to a separate bowl. Repeat the entire process again, until the entire 1/2 cup has been popped. Note amaranth when popped can burn easily, and it may take a few tries to get the right batch. 
  • Add amaranth, puffed millet, gelled chia seeds, ground flaxseeds, hemp seeds, sunflower seed butter, maca root powder, monk fruit sweetener and coconut shreds to a food processor. Pulse for 3-5 seconds on and off until blended. Scrape down the sides of processor between pulsing if needed.
  • Remove mixture from processor and place in a large bowl, mix in chocolate chips using your hands.
  • Take a heaping spoonful from the bowl and use your hands to form a small to medium sized, densely packed ball. The chocolate chips may fall out or not stick well to the balls, so use your hands and press the chips into the ball. The entire mixture should make 8-10 dense balls.
  • Place one ball between two pieces of parchment paper and gently press down with your hands to flatten - about 0.25 inches thick. Remove top parchment paper, and use your fingers to tap around the edges/press inward to avoid breakage. Repeat this step for each ball.
  • Place soft chews in an air tight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 hours to firm up before eating.

Store in the refrigerator. Good for up to one week. 

Tip: popping amaranth is quite messy; to limit the mess from seeds popping out and all over the place, I used a deep stock pot.

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