As I recently mentioned, I’m in a carb-craving season, and I’m trying my best to keep my diet at least relatively healthy. If I were eating absentmindedly, I would end up stuffing myself with milk-chocolate, white pasta, and lots of cheese. It would not end well. So, even if I’m indulging in sweets and carbs, I’m trying to add some healthy fats, fiber, and fruits into the mix. And that intention led to these nut-free energy balls.
I always feel better when I know my snacks and treats are at least semi-healthy. In the past, I shared these 4-ingredient truffles or this chocolate zucchini bread, my attempts to sneak healthy ingredients into desserts. It’s not that everything we make, bake, and eat is healthy, not at all. But we try to go by 80/20 rule. Eighty percent of the time we try to choose healthier options, and in those remaining twenty percent, we have a free pass on anything. It’s pretty easy and manageable rule, one that we can keep long term.
We made these beauties just last weekend. They are sweet, dense, and filling. For the past few days, they served as our morning and afternoon snack at work.
I had an idea for these in my mind for a few weeks, and I finally bought all ingredients over the weekend. It was the first time we bought sunflower seeds butter, and it works really well in this recipe. I used chickpeas for an extra protein boost, oats for fiber, dates and date syrup to add sweetness and cinnamon because we love cinnamon.
Nut-Free Energy Balls
Servings: 20 energy balls
- 1 cup rolled oats
- 1 cup cooked chickpeas
- 1 cup dried dates (about 12 dates)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 3 tablespoons date syrup
- 3 tablespoons sunflower seeds butter
- a handful of tiny chocolate chips (optional)
- In a food processor process oats to flour, then transfer to a bowl, mix in the cinnamon powder and set aside.
- Add the chickpeas to the food processor and process until they have a sand-like consistency. You might need to scrape the sides once or twice. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
- Add pitted dates to the food processor and process until date paste forms.
- Return the oat flour and chickpeas to the food processor, add date syrup and sunflower seeds butter and process until all ingredients combine. At this point, the mixture is quite dense and sticky, so in case your food processor has a problem to mix it well, continue mixing it with a spoon.
- If using, fold a handful of chocolate chips into the mixture.
- Take a tablespoon of the mixture and form a ball in between the palms of your hands. Store the energy balls in the fridge.