These vegan chocolate energy balls with dates can be a healthy snack or dessert. Find all you need to know about the ingredients and how to make them resemble truffles.
I truly love these no bake energy balls with dates, mostly because they’re so versatile. First of all you can use your favorite nut butter to make them. This means that sometimes you can have energy balls with peanut butter and other times energy balls with almond butter or tahini. And you can totally offer them to your vegan friends or those who don’t eat gluten because they’re 100% plant based and gluten free.
They’re also very easy to make, they’re healthy, without sugar (only the natural sugars from the dates), and they taste DELICIOUS. There are a lot of types of energy balls. Some are without cocoa, like the no-bake energy bites from gimme some oven but these ones are almost like gooey chocolate truffles (but healthier!). And because they taste delicious they’re ideal if you want to serve them as a healthy dessert after dinner. For those who are not big fans of chocolate I would suggest yogurt parfaits with granola and fruits for dessert.
These no-bake chocolate energy balls are a lot like protein balls but instead of protein powder they contain only plant based protein from nuts (peanut butter, tahini, almonds and walnuts are all excellent sources of protein and healthy fats).
I still don’t know how to categorize these little guys, because they’re not exactly chocolate truffles but at the same time they’re so much better than what I expected them to be. Because they’re made with dates they are satisfyingly sweet and gooey with subtle caramel notes which complement perfectly the deep chocolate flavor of the cocoa powder.
I first made them because I wanted a healthy pick-me-up for my afternoons, but I could easily serve them as a healthy vegan dessert because their texture, taste and aroma resembles that of a chocolate truffle.
What are energy balls made of?
The ingredients for these no bake energy balls are plant based so it’s a great vegan option for chocolate truffles.
The basics are:
- Peanut butter or tahini or almond butter
- Cocoa powder
But wait. Do you want to make your energy balls taste even better? Do you want to serve them as a dessert and be proud of yourself? Do you want to be able to call them vegan chocolate truffles without hesitation? Then all you have to do is add some extra things which will give depth of flavor and an extra dimension, just to make things more interesting. To achieve this you have to find ingredients with similar or complementary flavor profile. Cinnamon, vanilla, coffee, Kahlua and brandy or rum are all excellent choices for this purpose. Note that Kahlua is not vegan friendly but you can substitute it with brandy or rum and a pinch of instant coffee powder.
How to make energy balls that resemble chocolate truffles
After you gather all the necessary ingredients your work is fairly easy:
- Add everything to a food processor and process until you get a sticky mass. If you want the mixture to be extra smooth you’ll have to process it for some more for the walnuts to be completely ground.
- Transfer the mixture to a bowl and scoop out tablespoon-sized portions.
- Form into balls with slightly wet hands.
- Roll onto cocoa powder, desiccated coconut or ground nuts.
Instead of walnuts you can use other kind of nuts like cashews or pecans. I find almonds to be tougher so I don’t use them if I want a very smooth mixture. If you like almonds and also want a smooth mixture, it’s better to use almond butter.
Are energy balls fattening?
One of these energy balls with dates has 97 calories which is about the same calories as one medium-sized apple. Additionally, they are rich in healthy fats and fiber which means that one or two of them can keep you satiated and suppress your sugar cravings (especially if you drink a glass of water afterwards). If you’re watching your weight, more than two every day can lead to weight gain.
Are energy balls good for you?
Energy balls are a great alternative to any kind of store bought candy and processed snacks. They have a satiating combination of healthy fats, protein and carbs, with zero processed sugars and zero cholesterol. They also contain enough fiber to help you with your cravings. In general, they’re a great way to help you maintain a healthy lifestyle.
When to eat these chocolate truffle energy balls.
Okay, I’m not the one to tell you when you can eat these little guys, but if you want my opinion then I can tell you that they’re best enjoyed before or after a work out, in the afternoon with a cup of coffee or tea, and as a healthy dessert after dinner. Additionally, they’re perfect every time you need a little pick-me-up. A shot of espresso and one (or two) of these vegan truffles is all I need to feel content and happy!
- You can replace some of the dates with prunes something that can help with constipation (though flavor-wise I much better prefer the taste with dates only).
- Substitute hazelnuts, cashews, or pecans for the walnuts.
- They’re even better the next day!
- The amount of alcohol in each truffle is very small. However, you can omit it and if the mixture is too thick just add a splash of water.
These vegan chocolate energy balls with dates can be a healthy snack or dessert. Find all you need to know about the ingredients and how to make them resemble truffles
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (100 grams) peanut butter or tahini (or hazelnut or almond butter)
- 1 cup (100 grams) chopped walnuts
- 180 grams dates, pitted (see notes)
- 1/4 cup (30 grams) Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon cognac or brandy or Kahlua (optional. Also Kahlua is not vegan friendly)
- Pinch of fine salt
- 1-2 tablespoons water (if the mixture is too thick)
- Ground nuts or cocoa powder or desiccated coconut
Transfer all the ingredients for the energy balls, except the water, to a food processor and blend until smooth. If the mixture is too thick add 1-2 tablespoons water.
Transfer the mixture to a bowl and refrigerate for 1-2 hours or until firm.
(I have also formed the balls without chilling the mixture, but this step makes the process easier).
Using a tablespoon, scoop some of the mixture and with lightly wet hands form a ball the size of a small walnut. Roll the ball into some cocoa powder or the ground nuts mixture and continue with the rest of the energy balls.
Refrigerate until serving. Eat!
- Stored in the fridge they last more than 5 days
- Please remember that Kahlua is not vegan friendly. For vegan energy balls use cognac or brandy.
- Natural peanut butter is runnier than your average peanut butter because it doesn’t contain any additives. If your peanut butter is thick you can warm it in the microwaves for a few seconds.
- 180 grams dates are about 12 large medjool dates or 24 small regular dates. Also, depending on the moisture content of the dates you may or may not need to add the water.
- Coating: For the ground nuts mixture, mix well 1/4 cup ground walnuts, 2 tablespoons ground roasted sesame seeds, and 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon.
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