If you’re looking for a go-to energy ball recipe healthy enough to eat every day, this Carrot Cake Energy Balls recipe checks all the boxes!
1) it uses super-nutritious ingredients that taste delicious and work wonders for physical health (even mental clarity!), 2) it’s vegan and WFPBNO (whole-foods, plant-based, no oil) compliant, meaning it’s one of the healthiest ways you can procure that energy boost to push you through the 3pm slump or mid-morning munchies, 3) it’s budget friendly, so you don’t have to break the bank to eat healing food and stay alert between meals, 4) and with several variations, you can easily change up the sweetness level by simply increasing the dried fruit – raisins and dates.
Let’s break it down:
1. Super Nutritious Ingredients. If you’re familiar with Dr. Michael Greger’s (author of the best-selling book, “How Not to Die“) ‘daily dozen’ eating recommendations, you know that ingredients like flax, walnuts and turmeric are particularly healthy. These carrot cake energy balls can help us get your daily servings.
2. WFPBNO Compliant. These carrot cake bites are not only completely vegan, they’re also WFPBNO compliant—oil free, flour free and gluten free, with no added sugars. Talk about a health win!
3. Budget0Friendly. Since I plan to make this recipe a lot (and hope you will too!) I wanted it to be easy on the budget. For example, Medjool dates are on the expensive side, so I use a combination of dates and raisins to keep the cost lower.
4. Interesting Variations. These are healthy enough to eat every day. Of course I realize on occasion you might want to you want to indulge yourself a bit, so I include a ‘donut hole’ variation that amps up the sweetness with a bit of coconut sugar and cinnamon to create a sweeter, syrupy bite.
These delectable, portable, no-bake carrot cake energy balls are super nutritious and easy to make. Keep a batch on hand for an instant breakfast, healthy snack–or in case of a hunger emergency! We’ve all been there.
- 2 large carrots grated (about 1 1/2 cups/12 ounces)
- 1/4 cup roughly chopped Medjool dates softened (about 3 large dates/2 ounces)
- 1/4 cup coarsely ground flax seed (or more-see notes) (2 ounces)
- 1 cup rolled oats (8 ounces)
- 1/4 cup plain unsweetened natural style almond butter (2 ounces)
- 1/2 cup raisins (4 ounces)
- 1/2 cup walnut pieces (4 ounces)
- 1 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice or make your own - see notes
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Optional: 1 teaspoon fresh ginger finely grated
- Optional: 1 teaspoon turmeric powder (or more)
- 1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut to roll the bites in (4 ounces)
- Variations: For a sweeter, donut-hole type bite, roll in a mixture of coconut sugar and cinnamon, then dredge in shredded coconut or ground walnuts. For extra crunch, roll the bites in ground walnuts.
- Grate the carrots using the grating/shredding blade of your food processor or a box grater. If using ginger, grate it by hand with the fine section of a box grater or a micro-planer.
- Soften the chopped dates by placing them in a small dish with a tablespoon of water and microwaving on high for 30 seconds.
- Add all ingredients (except the shredded coconut) to a food processor and pulse until well blended stopping occasionally to scrape down the sides. Add water (or you could use applesauce) a tablespoon at a time to thin the mixture. Continue to process until well blended and just slightly chunky.
- Place in a bowl (or just leave in the food processor bowl) and cover. Allow to rest for 15-30 minutes in the refrigerator, or until the mixture is slightly firm.
- To make the balls, scoop out a bit of mixture at time using a tablespoon or cookie scoop and roll into approximately 1-inch balls. (See notes for an alternative method.)
- Dredge each ball in shredded coconut--or variation of your choice.
ecipe Notes To make this recipe easier on the budget and get more flax into your diet, you can increase the flax to 1/2 cup and decrease the walnuts to 1/4 cup. I intentionally kept these bites not too sweet so they're healthy to eat every day. You can always add more dates if you want a sweeter bite--or roll in coconut sugar and cinnamon before dredging. If you don't have pumpkin pie spice, sub 1 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 tsp allspice and 1/4 tsp nutmeg. METHOD 2: Line an 8 x 8 pan with parchment paper longer than the pan (for easy removal). Spoon mixture into the pan, spread evenly with the back of a wooden spoon. Cover with parchment paper and press down gently to even out the mixture. Allow to rest for 15 minutes in the refrigerator. Using the ends of the parchment paper, lift the chilled mixture out in one piece. Place on a cutting board and slice into 16 or 20 pieces. Either top with coconut and enjoy as bars, or roll each piece into a round ball. METHOD 2 is a bit of extra work, but I prefer it because pressing the mixture helps firm in up and it's easy to cut into even-sized bites. (Plus, I don't own a cookie scooper, and seem to have a mental block when it comes to making even-sized balls!)
This recipe was republished with permission from Elizabeth Shah, Healthy Midwestern Girl.
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