Blog #75: Chocolate Chia Cranberry Energy Balls (Vegan + Gluten-Free)

 

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Finished beautiful energy balls!  Photo by: Christina Hale

 

Doughnuts may be good for your taste buds, but not for your health (or waistline) 😵.  Yes, they may be quick to eat and cheap to buy, but it will cost you more in the long run.

This energy ball recipe is vegan, gluten-free and yummy.  It also saves you money by making your own healthy snacks at home and taking them on the road.

These will fill you up when your energy is low and you’re super busy (until you can get to eat an actual meal).

Let’s get started!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sunflower seed butter (or any nut/seed butter of your choice)
  • 1/2 cup soaked dates (mashed with fork or pureed)
  • 1 Tbsp cacao powder
  • 1 cup gluten-free rolled oats (lightly milled in your blender)
  • 2 Tbsp ground chia
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp dried cranberries
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • Pinch of salt

 

Ingredients To Prep:

 

The Rolled Oats:

*Please note*: I used a Vitamix blender on my rolled oats.  It’s ridiculously powerful and is equipped to legitimately mill your own flour.  So, be aware of how powerful your blender is, you’re not trying to make oat flour — you just need to make the oat consistency a bit finer (unless you’re going to use a food processor to mix all your ingredients).

Pour your oats into your blender. Pulse 2 or 3 times for only a few seconds each time. Ensure you watch the consistency of your rolled oats! Please see the photo example I included below showing the gluten-free rolled oats looking normal vs slightly milled, so that you can see what I’m talking about. Once your oats are milled slightly. Pour it into your mixing bowl.

 

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This is the difference between the two rolled oat consistencies.

 

The Beet:

Take out your small beet. Ensure it is washed and peeled. Cut it in half. Keep half and put the other half in the fridge.

Take a piece of foil (enough to cover the piece of beet with a bit of extra room). Take a small baking dish big enough to fit the 1/2 piece of beet. Put the beet in the foil, add 3 drops of oil on the beet just to lightly coat it. Wrap it up in the foil. Put it in the baking dish and put it to bake for 20 mins at 350°F.

When the beet is cooked, allow to cool for 10 – 15 mins. Then finely grate your 1/2 piece of beet (see picture below).

 

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My grated beet looking happy! 😃

 

The Dates:

Soak your dates in hot water for 15 minutes to soften them (some dates are more on the hard side).  Then drain off the hot water and set them aside.  If you have fresh soft Medjool dates on hand, then those are perfect and don’t need to be soaked.

Note: If you don’t have a food processor, you’ll need to blend your dates to a puree (or mash them with a fork or mortar & pestle).  You can do this in your magic bullet or your blender.  You will need to add a little bit of water to the dates to have it blend.  I suggest using some of the hot water the dates were initially soaking in.

Method:

Method #1: By Hand (or With the Help of a Blender)

The dates will need to either be mashed with a fork, or pureed in a blender with just enough water to make a thick paste (avoid making it watery).  Once your dates are good to go, proceed with the rest of your ingredients.

Now, put your sunflower seed butter and mashed/pureed dates in a bowl.  Add all of the remaining ingredients to the dates and sunflower seed butter.  Mix well (you want to have a ‘cookie dough’ type texture going on).  Once the ingredients are well combined, use a teaspoon to spoon out the appropriate portion size(s) to roll in your hands, then place finished energy ball(s) on a plate.

Repeat the teaspoon method until all your energy balls are made.

 

Method #2: With Food Processor

Put all ingredients in your food processor. Mix until all ingredients are well combined and the mixture is like a ‘cookie dough’ type of consistency. Once your mixture is ready, use a tsp to spoon out the appropriate portion size to roll in your hands, then place finished ball on a plate. Repeat the teaspoon method until all your energy balls are made.

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These are all the ingredients right before being mixed together! 😁

 

Ingredient Health Benefits:

  • Cacao is full of magnesium (good for brain and heart), high in antioxidants as well as iron
  • Chia is full of protein, fiber, antioxidants, calcium, maganese, phosphorus, and omega 3 fatty acids. You also gain the health benefits of chia helping your digestive system, stabilize your blood sugar and lower your cholesterol
  • Beets are full of nitrates (natural chemical), which turns into nitric oxide in the body.  Nitric oxide is good for your heart health because it helps with keeping your blood vessels healthy and improving your circulation.  Beets are also good for kidney health and contain antioxidants
  • Cinnamon helps with stimulating blood flow and therefore is good for your heart’s health. It’s also high in antioxidants, anti-inflammatory, anti-microbial and helps boost your immunity
  • Rolled Oats (Gluten-Free) are full of soluble fiber and helps to lower your blood pressure as well as control your blood sugar levels.  Oats keep you fuller longer due to the fiber content (hence why it helps control your blood sugar levels) and is excellent for your digestive health!
  • Sunflower seeds are a good source of selenium, magnesium and vitamin E.  These seeds also help keep bad cholesterol low in your body, therefore helping you to maintain a healthy heart
  • Dates are a natural source of sweetness and soluble fiber.  It helps to keep your bowel movements regular and your digestive system happy! 🙂  This fruit is also high in iron, therefore helping you with better energy levels (especially if you struggle with anemia like I do)

 

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I hope you all enjoyed this recipe and try it for yourselves!  Let me know how your energy balls turned out by leaving a comment below and post your pictures of your results on the Simply Chrissy Blog Facebook Page

–>> Remember to follow Simply Chrissy Blog on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest!

Happy Snacking 😃🌿✌🏽,

-Chrissy

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2 Comments Add yours

  1. These look amazingly delicious and healthy! Thanks for the recipe!

    Like

    1. Chrissy says:

      Thank you! The beets throw in an unexpected twist! 😉 👍

      Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment. Have a great day!

      😃✌🏽

      Like

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