Until recently, I often found myself in a quandary. I'd crave sweets, but the options readily available to fulfill the craving weren't winning any nutritional awards. As a believer in (and general abider by) a clean, healthy diet, I'd either grumpily abstain or give in and endure the subsequent guilt and (all too often) havoc wreaked on my system.
But then I discovered No-Bake Energy Balls, and All Was Well With The World! (And this is only a minor exaggeration - I promise!)
So what are NBEBs, you may ask? Basically, they are bite-sized morsels of deliciousness made of healthy ingredients which provide energy and other nutritional benefits. And, duh, they don't require baking. Nor cooking in any other way, for that matter. You just need a bunch of pantry staples and a means of mashing them up together (generally a food processor). A full batch takes only minutes to prepare, and the lack of heat and chopping means little hands can get in on the action too. Perfect for young, busy families!
A quick search turns up approximately a jillion NBEB variants, however I have arrived at what I humbly believe is the awesomest of them all. They're ridiculously tasty (and I'm not alone here; almost everyone I've shared them with has requested the recipe), chock-full of key nutrients such as iron, fibre and omega 3 fatty acids, and ridiculously tasty. Wait - did I say that already? :)
No-Bake Coconut Almond Date Energy Balls
Prep Time: 8-10 minutes
Yield: 24 balls (approx)
- 10 pitted dates
- 4 pitted prunes
- 1/2 cup sliced almonds
- 1/2 cup shredded coconut + 1/2 cup for rolling
- 1/2 cup one minute oats
- 2 tbsp coconut oil
- 1/2 tbsp flax seeds
- 1/2 tbsp chia seeds
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1/3 to 1/2 cup water (Depending on how moist you prefer them. I use 1/2 cup myself.)
- Put everything except water and 1/2 cup shredded coconut into a food processor.
- Pulse for 20-30 seconds until items are incorporated.
- Slowly add water and continue to pulse until "batter" is moist but not runny.
- Form into balls about one inch in diameter
- Roll each ball in extra shredded coconut
- Refrigerate and enjoy!
A couple notes:
- Up until now, I've thrown in the almonds as-is. The next time I make the recipe, I might try soaking them for 24 hours to improve nutrient absorption and reduce the beating endured by my food processor. Other recipes also suggest soaking the dates and prunes for up to an hour, as this helps them incorporate more readily. Another thing to try out.
- As fabulous as this exact recipe is, the beauty of the NBEB is that it's so flexible. So feel free to add, remove or swap ingredients based on your own preferences, availability, etc. (Though note that you may need to adjust the amount of water accordingly.) I'll probably try some variants in the future myself - e.g., pecans or nut butters instead of almonds, cocoa powder instead of cinnamon, etc.
Do you like to make energy balls or any other types of healthy no-bake desserts? What are your favourite recipes?