At least if it’s a bona fide baked good that kids would still identify as being one. Raw and unsweetened concoctions don’t count.
Premade plant-based cookie recipes aren’t always healthy either, but they are healthier.
Many have less sugar. They’re all cholesterol free since no eggs, butter, or dairy is used. Best of all, a good chunk of the carbs have been substituted with protein. Brimming with vitamins and minerals they are not, but these aren’t intended to replace your daily salad.
Not perfect, but few foods are. When you want to satisfy that sweet tooth, it’s healthier to indulge in one of these versus Chips Ahoy, Oreos… or worse!
Here’s a review of the vegan protein cookie companies you can find for sale nationwide. A place like Walmart won’t have all these brands, but your local Whole Foods or similar grocer likely stocks at least a couple. All can be easily purchased online.
They make two flavors; cookie dough and double dark chocolate.
Among the plant-based cookies, Bhu Fit is the only brand that can legitimately be called healthy. That’s because they’re sugar-free cookies that are sweetened with a blend of monk fruit and stevia.
20% of the calories are in the form of protein. There’s 10g per 200 calorie cookie (protein is 4 calories per gram). This is a higher ratio than the brands NuGo and Lenny & Larry’s.
Almost all of the remaining calories are in the form of fat from cashews, red palm oil, and cocoa butter. All of those are organic. This high fat is good for ketogenic diets. It can work for weight loss, so long as you understand and respect the caloric density.
They’re called dark chocolate but the base is only moderately chocolatey. Not strong and bitter. These cookies taste like fudge or a brownie, minus the gooeyness. They’re not soft and crumbly like Lenny & Larry’s. If you’ve had Bhu Fit protein bars, these taste very similar.
Throughout the base, you will encounter a couple large chunks of chocolate. These don’t taste that dark, either. More like a 55% versus 85% cocoa. We would liken them more to milk chocolate but then again, we are accustomed to eating the low sugar dark chocolate bars which are 85-92%.
- 0g of sugar
- 10g of protein
- 9g of fiber
- 200 calories per cookie
- Gluten free
- 210 mg of sodium is reasonable
- Contains baobab, an African superfood loaded with soluble fiber and antioxidants
- Monk fruit is our favorite non-glycemic sweetener
- There are concerns about stevia but at least this recipe doesn’t leave the typical aftertaste.
- Cashew allergy sufferers are screwed, as both the chocolate chip and cookie dough use them.
- The size is small but then again, it’s probably a more appropriate serving size even if you want bigger.
- Even here in LA, they’re hard to find in brick and mortar stores.
If you’re looking for vegan white chocolate in any form, this might be the only way to get it! For some odd reason, finding dairy-free white chocolate is nearly impossible in the US and Canada. It doesn’t seem to exist whatsoever in the UK and France.
Something else that’s hard to find is a plant-based gluten free cookie that is not plain ol’ chocolate chip. Not that there’s anything wrong with that popular classic but you may want variety.
The nutrition facts for Munk Pack are kind of a scam. They list 2 servings per bag but honestly, who really eats a single cookie as 2 different servings?!
Eating the whole thing clocks in at 360 calories and 18g of protein.
Sugar content is moderately high at 16g but that’s still about 25-50% less than your average wheat and dairy-based version of comparable size. This is because Munk Pack supplements the turbinado sugar content with monk fruit extract.
Munk Pack cookies are very-dense, closer in consistency to a protein bar. That’s due to the peanut butter base. Not to be boring, a lot of other textures are in the mix; coconut flakes, macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts, and of course the vegan white chocolate chips.
It’s only a medium sweetness overall but we still felt a little guilty after eating. Fortunately, at least some of that guilt was a trick on the tongue from monk fruit. The added protein is from brown rice.
- 18g of protein
- 190 mg of sodium is reasonable
- 360 calories isn’t bad considering size
- 6g of fiber
- Certified gluten free
- Soy free
- 84 mg of calcium (8% of daily value)
- 280 mg of potassium (8% of DV)
- 16g is too much sugar to be guilt-free
- None of the ingredients are organic but they are non-GMO
- Those with a peanut allergy can’t eat this flavor or any other Munk Pack protein cookie
3. NuGo oatmeal raisin
NuGo is best known for their protein bars. Aside from Lenny and Larry’s, this Pittsburgh-based brand will be the easiest to find. Even at airports, we see them sold at those convenience shops all the time.
One benefit they have going for them is that they insist on using natural cocoa butter, rather than the cheaper chocolate-flavored palm kernel oil. You will find that in many bars.
When it comes to their cookies, they make dark chocolate chip, double chocolate, peanut butter, and oatmeal raisin. The latter is hard to find as a vegan and gluten free cookie, so it would be negligent to not include it on this list.
The NuGo protein cookie tastes like a normal oatmeal raisin, unlike their chocolate and peanut butter flavors, which have a protein powder aftertaste.
The reason the oatmeal raisin recipe works is because the flour base for those is traditionally oats.
They use that same oat base on the other flavors, but the texture is out of place. Though it’s understandable why they do that, because the gluten free oats are lower glycemic than white or brown rice flour (which would create a consistency closer to wheat flour).
When you bite into it, the higher density is appropriate for a classic oatmeal raisin. The raisins, cinnamon, and sugar all overpower any aftertaste of amino acids.
- Tastes like a normal oatmeal raisin
- 380 calories isn’t bad for the big size
- 16g of protein
- Gluten free
- Uses coconut oil, which is high in lauric acid
- 16% of daily value for iron
- 12g of fiber
- Too much sugar at 24g per cookie
- High in sodium at 440mg
- Most of the fiber is in form of chicory root, which gives some people stomach aches in high amounts like this.
- No organic ingredients but all NuGo cookies are non-GMO
4. NuGo chocolate chip
Just because we’re including this brand twice, that doesn’t mean it’s our favorite. However since they’re so widely sold, we feel obligated to include a couple Nugo protein cookie reviews. Since you even encounter them at gas stations in the middle of nowhere, we feel obligated to tell you which taste best.
Oatmeal raisin is our crowned favorite, but it’s not as readily stocked. The omnipresent chocolate chip is a bit quirky tasting, yet it still works.
Since oat flour is the base, this cookie is dense. It’s moist, not crunchy like a Chip Ahoy.
There is a slight pea protein taste, so the recipe could use some improvement for sure. For an impulse purchase when your options are limited, it gets the job done for a plant-based and protein-enriched baked good. NuGo calls them dark chocolate chips but they’re so sugary, it’s more along the lines of milk chocolate (dairy free, of course).
- 380 calories is good for the big size
- 16g of protein
- Gluten free
- Uses coconut oil
- 12g of fiber
- Too much sugar with 26g per cookie, equal to 6.5 teaspoons
- High sodium with 440 mg
- Amount of chicory root fiber is a bit much
- Non-organic ingredients
5. Lenny and Larry’s Complete Cookie
The Complete Cookie by Lenny and Larry’s is the most widely sold. Where to buy? Walmart, Rite Aid, Walgreens, Target, Kroger, and even 7-Eleven sell them, in addition to specialty stores like Whole Foods and The Vitamin Shoppe.
The brand has been around since 1993 and their Muscle Muffins (not vegan) you will see for sale at many gyms. They’re popular with bodybuilders.
As with Munk Pack and NuGo, Lenny & Larry’s nutrition facts claims that only a ½ cookie is eaten per serving… yeah right. That makes the sugar content sound less naughty on the label. It’s 24g when you eat the whole thing. Calories will be 400 total.
The website for Lenny and Larry’s complete cookie says it “actually tastes like a homemade cookie” but we beg to differ. They have a more artificial and processed flavor, comparable to Keebler Soft Batch. Health and nutrition aside, admittedly that’s an enjoyable flavor, but it is a far cry from a batch your grandma might bake.
Unlike NuGo oatmeal raisin and Munk Pack cookies, the flavor profile of Lenny and Larry’s is more monotone. Because it’s made with wheat flour, the baked cookie dough base is comparable to a regular chocolate chip. Even without eggs, it still airy.
There are 12 flavors of the Complete Cookie. Chocolate Chip and Peanut Butter seem to be most popular. The Birthday Cake sounds intriguing but most agree it’s flavor doesn’t live up to expectations. Lemon Poppy Seed is a better choice for non-chocolate.
Some flavors of Lenny and Larry’s cookies are sold in small and large size; 2 and 4 oz. Nutrition facts are identical, it’s just the amount of food is doubled.
Above are the ingredients nutrition for the smaller – and harder to find – 2 oz Complete Cookie. That’s also the size in the photo at the top of this review. It’s still pretty big!
- 400 calories is big enough for small meal replacement
- 16g of protein per cookie
- 10g of fiber
- Soy free
- Kosher certified
- 24g of sugar is high
- Most fiber comes from added chicory root
- More processed ingredients vs. other cookies with lots of protein
- Not gluten free
- No organic ingredients but is non-GMO