If you like chocolate, I am 97.6% sure you’ll love these healthy gluten-free, grain-free & vegan cacao balls.
I can’t believe I haven’t shared almost any of my go-to sweet snack recipes here – my sweet delicious power balls. Over the last 4-5 years, I have made so many versions of these, it’s kinda ridiculous I haven’t shared any. Power balls have been among of the first healthy recipes I have made.
Before I started making those – I didn’t eat ANY sweets. It was around the time when I was still a student. I would never touch a chocolate bar. Or drink coffee. My friends would always tell me I was a freak because of that. And they were not wrong.
Because flash forward to 2 years after that – I’m sitting at a desk in an office eating chocolate and drinking coffee as if that combo was the elixir of life. My two favorite sources of “nutrients” back then were snickers and a latte macchiato. Yes, I was the fancy girl with iron deficiency. And I didn’t care. Funny enough I did not gain ANY weight back then.
I guess when you’re a student you have no money, but a lot of self-discipline. And when you get your first job – you got almost no money and absolutely no self-discipline.
Speaking of self-discipline. I gotta be honest with you: it will take some to not eat all these cacao balls in one sitting. But, use this self discipline and you’ll have a little dessert snack for every day of the work week.
These power balls keep in the fridge for 3-5 days and use only whole foods that you can easily find in your store. No protein powder, no fancy “superfoods” – just some nuts, some cacao and dates.
They are creamy, delicious and satisfying. In this recipe I blended the ingredients very well, which makes the texture very smooth. But if you’d like to add some crunch – just add some nut chunks to the batter – I added Brazil nuts, because they’re very crunchy and have lots of Selenium – which you need more of if you have problems with your thyroid like most women in my family.
Protein powder power? No, thanks.
Many of the power ball recipes out there call for protein powder. Now, I don’t use protein powder. In fact I have never tasted protein powder – I am very old fashioned in that matter. I actually think if I use protein powder even once, my kidneys will shut down, I will grow huge muscles on my neck, arms and shoulders and I will basically look like The Hulk with long hair. Aaaah just a little spoon of Tuesday paranoia.
Well, that might not happen, but as we now know for sure – some protein supplements cause acne, especially for women, even if they did not have acne before. And I am already getting wrinkles and gray hair, guys. No place for pimples on that pretty wrinkly face (even though, lately that’s also not perfect, but let’s just shhhhh, moving on).
You know what I used instead of protein powder or grains to thicken things up here? Some ground flax seeds.
I’m not a fan of the taste of flaxseeds. Especially when they’re ground – you just take all that weird taste in. When they’re whole – it’s fine. But ground? Ugh. Then again, who am I to hate on these tiny seeds? That taste is totally tolerable and the benefits of flax seeds countless. Flax seeds are super healthy, rich in omega-3s, reduce inflammation and help balance your hormone levels according to some studies.
But just in case – you won’t actually notice the taste of flax seeds in these cacao power balls that much.
Health and Beauty Benefits
These power balls are rich in omega-3’s, zinc, iron and fiber and are full of antioxidants! So something tasty to enjoy when you do need something sweet. Remember to not overeat on these, because while they might be healthy and don’t contain any refined sugar or sweeteners, they’re still very sweet from the dates. Just something to keep in mind.
- 3/4 cup walnuts (halves)
- 9 dates, soaked for 1h
- a dash vanilla
- 1 tbsp raw cacao powder
- 1/2 Tbsp ground flax
- 2 Brazil nuts
- nut meal to coat
- Using a hand blender* blend dates until smooth. Then add walnuts and process until smooth again.
- Add vanilla, ground flax and cacao and process until you achieve thick smooth consistency like a mousse. Chop Brazil nuts into bigger chunks and add to the mixture.
- Take approx. 2/3 Tbsp of the mixture and roll into balls with your hands. For this you need to wet your hands, because the mixture is sticky. Coat with nut-meal (any kind, I used hazelnut meal only). Refrigerate for 1-2h to firm and then enjoy!
*You can also use a blender, if you have a good one - mine did not work for this recipe since I didn't put enough ingredients and any water. The recipe should also work with a food processor - but the texture will be different with small chunks of dried fruit and nuts. For a smoother version - you can just place all the ingredients in the food processor and if needed add some fluid like water or almond milk or butter.
Hope you enjoy this little recipe and as always, if you do have any questions – don’t hesitate to ask 🙂