'Energy/protein balls' are a fairly new concept but are gaining a lot of hype in the blogging and vegan community so I’m sure if you’re a fan of healthy food and vegan recipes you may have come across these or something similar before but I love how versatile, quick and easy these energy balls are to make!
You can throw any store cupboard ingredient you want in there any nuts, seeds, protein/nutrient powder, dried fruit, coconut, nut butter – anything goes! They’re perfect for breakfast, in lunch boxes or to snack on anytime of the day.
I usually start with a base of a cup of rolled porridge oats and dates are also a good base ingredient as they add sweetness and stickiness with no added overwhelming taste. Here I soaked some dried figs and dates in recently boiled, but not scorching hot water (just enough to cover them) and kept the water aside to add some moisture to the mixture later on. If you prefer a dense and richer taste, I’d recommend a nut butter or coconut oil as your main liquid instead of water.
For these chocolate-ginger kick energy bites I have used:
1 cup porridge oats
1/2 cup crystallised ginger
1/2 cup raw cacao nibs (you could use plain chocolate drops instead)
+ I would recommend a food processor to blend together unless you want to work on your biceps you could hand mix everything in a large bowl!
… and throw it all in the blender with the drained, soaked dates and figs (around 3 of each) - save the liquid they were soaking in to add later.
...Add 1 tbsp of chia seeds
...And 1 tbsp ground mixed spice.
Start to slowly whizz together in a food processor and then slowly pour in the liquid the dates and figs were soaking in, until a sticky, dough-like mixture forms…
Until it resembles something similar to this (I didn’t have to add all the liquid to reach this stage). You can then scoop spoonfuls whatever size you like of the mixture and roll into balls between the palms of your hands. If you feel the mixture is too dry add more of the liquid, if too sticky add more oats until you feel it’s the right consistency to roll between your hands. Measurements and techniques don’t have to be exact with these energy balls, they’re quite easy to play around with and wing it as you go along!
Pop them in the fridge for around 20 minutes before eating, or these also freeze really well - just take them out to defrost a few hours before you plan on eating them.
They taste so delicious and are the perfect mid-afternoon snack when you crave biscuits or chocolate as a healthier option as even though dates are very sweet as they are high in fructose, therefore contain zero refined sugars. The best thing about them is you can adapt them to your own taste, for example if you hate ginger but love dried cranberries then switch it up! One of my favourites is using grated carrots, raisins and walnuts and it tastes just like carrot cake, or you could try blending hazelnuts and cocoa powder together creating a healthy version of nutella!
Let me know if you’d like to see more posts like this, as there are so many possibilities!
My name is Helen Davison and I'm a NIMH registered practising Medical Herbalist based in Ramsbottom, Lancashire. I've had a keen interest in herbal remedies since my early teens and would experiment creating my own balms and bath bombs using natural ingredients, which prompted me in discovering and pursuing a career in Western Herbal Medicine.