These easy no-bake energy balls are loaded with protein for a mid-day boost or healthy-ish alternative to desserts.
These no-bake energy balls are reminiscent of chocolate chip cookie dough and come together in under 30-minutes (it really takes only 10 minutes). I like keeping a batch around the house at all times. This versatile treat is made with healthy-ish ingredients and loaded with protein to curb dessert cravings, satisfy a sweet tooth, or quick healthy snacking for energy on the go. With a base blend of oats, walnuts, dates and shredded coconut, and sweetened with maple syrup, they are held together with coconut oil as a binder and studded with dark chocolate chips for texture.
To get the protein balls to the right consistency I recommend using a food processor. Since they don’t need to be baked, you can simply blend and shape the dough balls. I prefer to let them chill thoroughly before eating them as a snack so the ingredients have time to set. They can also easily be frozen.
Key Ingredients in This Recipe
Oats – I first blend the old fashioned oats in the food processor so they blend more seamlessly with the other ingredients for the best texture.
Walnuts – Walnuts are high in protein and add a rich and nutty flavor.
Dates – Medjool dates are thumb-sized stone fruits with a caramel-flavor and natural sweetness. Known as nature’s candy, they are a popular export from California’s Coachella Valley. Look for them in the produce section of the grocery store, not the baking aisle. Many are sold with the pit still inside so remove it before roughly chopping them, which helps them to thoroughly blend with the other ingredients.
Maple syrup – Maple syrup is a natural sweetener used to add a bit of sugar to these no-bake balls. Honey can be used in place of maple syrup.
Coconut oil – Coconut oil is used as a binder to hold together the other ingredients. It will be solid at room temperature and melts slightly as the mixture is combined. As the oat balls chill the coconut oil will solidify.
Shredded coconut – The grated bits of dried coconut meat are left unsweetened for a mild coconut flavor without any additional sugar needed.
Vanilla extract – Vanilla extract helps to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients in this recipe.
Brewers yeast – The addition of brewers yeast is optional. I add it to these no-bake chocolate chip oat balls because it is good for lactation and can help increase breastmilk production which is important to my one month old son!
Chocolate chips – I use dark chocolate chips (chocolate bars chopped up into pieces can be substituted) made from three simple ingredients and no additives: cocoa solids, cocoa butter and sugar.
How to Make No-Bake Chocolate Chip Oat Energy Balls Recipe
Step 1: Blend the oats.
Add the oats to the base of a food processor fitted with a blade attachment. Process until the oats are fine.
Step 2: Add remaining ingredients and blend.
Add the walnuts, dates, maple syrup, coconut oil, coconut, vanilla, yeast, and salt to the oats. Process until the ingredients have been completely combined and a dough forms.
Step 3: Mix in chocolate chips.
Remove from the food processor to a large mixing bowl and stir in the chocolate chips.
Step 4: Roll energy balls.
Roll the dough into 1-ounce (28g) balls.
Step 5: Chill.
Place on a parchment-lined baking sheet and refrigerate until thoroughly chilled. Transfer to an airtight container and store refrigerated for up to a week.
Tips and Tricks for This Recipe
Swaps and Substitutions
Easily omit the brewers yeast in these energy balls.
The brewers yeast can be swapped for maca powder, a malty powder used for its natural energy building.
The chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips can be swapped with mini chocolate chips or carob chips for a dairy-free version.
Add 2 tablespoons of your favorite protein powder if desired.
They can be made in a blender though I prefer the texture a food processor provides.
How to Freeze
Rather than chilling the balls in the refrigerator, move the parchment-paper lined baking sheet to the freezer until the balls are solid, then transfer them to a resealable plastic bag. Store in the freezer for up to 3 months. To eat, simply transfer them to the fridge and let them thaw overnight or let them sit at room temperature.
Other Recipes to Try
If you enjoy this no bake energy bites recipe, give these a try:
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