Energy balls. Energy bites. They are everywhere you look on Pinterest, blogs, Instagram, etc. I've tried a few recipes here and there and like the general idea of a nutrient-dense snack. However, like with most cooking and baking I am still trying to find an easy, versatile recipe that I can make over and over again in a tiny space. In the fall, I had been making my own granola bars to take with me to my rotations. After buying a mini food processor (I can't fit a large one in my kitchen, nor do I need one too big) I have been looking for new recipes to try. It started with energy balls which I adapted into granola bars. I also realized that you can use raisins as a substitute for dates as long as you soak them for a bit to make them easier to grind up. I generally follow the method outlined by Laura Fuentes, but just soaked and drained the raisins without saving any of the water. After a few months, my granola bar recipe needed a makeover. Something simple. Something versatile. Something nutrient-dense and delicious.
I had a general idea of what is needed for an energy ball recipe. You need a binder like dates or raisins in my case. You need something sticky with protein and healthy fat - choose any nut butter you like. I also think nut butter should be in any snack recipe for the added nutrition! And you need a fine grain to pull it all together so that it's not overly sticky.
Any recipe that I come up with usually is inspired from another recipe, which I then adapt. The recipe that inspired these energy balls is from Well Plated. Follow the hyperlink to her recipe for Fig Almond Energy Bites.
My version of energy balls are "date-less" because... well I can't be the only single girl out there that thinks it's a funny pun.
"Date-less" Coconut Walnut Energy Balls
- 1 1/4 cup nuts - I used walnuts (or about 1/3 cup nut butter)
- 1 cup raisins
- 3/4 to 1 cup wheat bran (depends on the stickiness)
- 1/4 cup coconut (extra for rolling)
- Measure the raisins into a measuring cup. Pour water over the raisins and let sit while you grind the nuts.
- Measure the nuts and add to your food processor and grind until creamy. If you do not have a food processor use nut butter instead.
- Drain the water from the raisins. Add the raisins to the food processor and grind (I find it easier to grind the binding ingredients before adding the dry ingredients).
- Pulse in 1/4 cup wheat bran at a time until the mixture comes together easily and does not leave much oil on your hands (very scientific, I know).
- Pulse in 1/4 cup unsweetened coconut.
- Using a 1-tablespoon measure, roll into a ball and cover with more unsweetened coconut.
- Place energy balls on a small plate/cookie sheet lined with aluminum foil.
- Put in the freezer until hard and store in a freezer safe ziploc bag until ready to eat.
- Pull out two and bring with you for an easy, on-the-go snack.
These energy balls are perfect for an afternoon snack, a quick bite before a morning workout or just whenever you find you stomach asking for a little something. There's healthy fat and protein from the walnuts, whole grains from the wheat bran, and the raisins provide carbohydrates and vitamins and minerals which our bodies need. Athletes especially need carbohydrates since your body uses carbohydrates primarily for fuel.
References (in the order they are seen):
Fuentes L. Raisin paste: An awesome substitute for dates. Laura Fuentes: Fresh Living. http://www.laurafuentes.com/raisins-substitute-for-dates/. Accessed January 2017.
Erin. Fig Almond No Bake Energy Bites. Well Plated. http://www.wellplated.com/fig-almond-no-bake-energy-bites/. Posted January 26, 2015. Accessed January 2017.