15-Minute Recipe: No-Bake Energy Balls With Dates
No-bake energy balls are literally one of the easiest and quickest things to make. They are the perfect convenient snack, packed full of nutrients, complex carbs, natural sugars, and protein. An ideal choice to satisfy a sugar craving and a healthy alternative to candy.
To make this snack, just pop your ingredients into a food processor, blitz for a few seconds, and voilà. OK, maybe it's not that simple, as you still need to use your hands a little to make the balls. But this is still a no-bake recipe so it requires absolutely no cooking time. You are essentially producing raw energy balls.
Mix It Up With Different Toppings
This recipe is for plain and simple energy balls, although feel free to experiment with various toppings. Since I always seem to have a never-ending supply of desiccated coconut in the cupboard, I often use this to coat the balls. This also adds a little contrast and definition. If you're a bit nutty, you could also coat with chopped pistachios. These would provide a subtle saltiness to complement the sweetness. They would also add a pop of green colour.
What's great about using dates in this recipe is that they add both nutrition and a natural sweetness. As such, you may, or may not, require any additional sweetness. Since I like things sweet, I do use a drop of honey in this recipe, although this is totally optional and all depends on your preference. If you do wish to add a little extra sweetness other than honey, you may try agave or maple syrup.
Pecans are used in this recipe. Again, if you wish, you may use an alternative nut. Haven't tried it myself, but I have a feeling that walnuts would be awesome, or even almonds, Brazil nuts, or macadamias.
I also add peanut butter to the mixture, mainly to help hold it together, but it also adds a little protein and a great nutty flavour. If you wish, please feel free to substitute this with almond butter or even cashew butter, if this tickles your fancy.
Last but not least, the oats provide much body and texture. They are a healthy source of carbohydrates and also add a little protein to the energy bites. While the natural sugars from the fruit and honey will give you a faster fix of energy, the complex carbohydrates from the oats release energy slowly over time—killing two birds with one stone.
- 14 dates, pitted
- 16 pecans (or walnuts, Brazils, or macadamias)
- 1/2 cup oats
- 2 tablespoons peanut butter (or almond butter or cashew butter)
- 1 tablespoon honey (or agave or maple syrup), (If you don't like it too sweet, then simply substitute with water)
- 2 tablespoons water
- desiccated coconut (optional), to coat
How to Make No-Bake Energy Balls With Dates
Here's how to make your own energy balls with dates at home.
Pit the dates by slicing lengthways across using a sharp knife. Pull open the dates and remove the pit. You certainly don't want to leave these in, unless you're looking for a broken tooth.
Place the pitted dates into a food processor and blend on a high speed until you achieve a coarse meal (see picture below).
To the processed dates, add the oats and pecans (or any nut you feel is suitable). Process on high speed for a few seconds to incorporate. You don't want to over-chop the nuts or they will end up like a powder.
Finally, add the water and honey. If not using honey, then simply substitute with water. Blend on a high speed for a few seconds until all are incorporated. The mixture should pull together and clump. The mixture must clump or the balls may not hold their shape.
Between the palm of your hands, roll a portion of the mixture into a ball shape. If it doesn't hold its shape, then add another tablespoon of water to the mixture and incorporate. If the mixture holds, then roll portions of the mixture into evenly sized balls.
If you fancy a topping, rolling your energy balls in desiccated coconut works extremely well. Feel free to experiment with other toppings and let me know what you think. I have a feeling that pistachios, macadamias, Brazil nuts, or walnuts would work very well. These would also be packed full of nutrients, fiber, and protein.